Stride Stories: Recording Artist Ruby Woo shares the importance of staying self-motivated

We were lucky enough to sit down with recording artist Ruby Woo to hear more about her experiences as an independent artist. Learn more about her music at her website here.

Hi, Ruby Woo! Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Ruby Woo: I grew up in the Bay Area in Pittsburg, California and then attended Alabama State University. I then moved to Atlanta for five years before finding my way back to California.

Music has always been a huge part of my life; I actually started singing in the youth choir at First Baptist Church growing up. While in high school I became the lead vocalist of a local music group. However, it wasn’t until I left for college that I started to form my identity as an independent artist. When I was in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to go on some tours and sing and dance with some major artists, too.

That's fantastic. Which artists have you been able to work with?

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Ruby Woo: While I was in LA, I had the pleasure of working with major artists like Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and Travis Porter. I was a background dancer for Robin Thicke for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) and I've sang background for Demetria McKinney, who's worked closely with Tyler Perry. I worked with her on the Pepsi Funkfest and R. Kelly tour!

You have so many amazing accomplishments. What have been some of your most memorable performances?

Ruby Woo: I think one of the most memorable performances that I've done was headlining South by Southwest, which is one of the biggest independent music festivals in the world. I would say the VMA's is also a big deal just because it's the VMA's—I mean, it's a once in a lifetime type of performance!

It seems like you've been a self-starter for a long time. What is your best advice for someone who's looking to become self-employed?

Ruby Woo: My biggest piece of advice is to be self-motivated. Besides that, I would also say don't give up. It  can be really tough at times, especially in the music industry since it’s so unpredictable. Have a plan and always write down both short and long-term goals.

What is your favorite part about being self-employed?

Ruby Woo: I would say my favorite part about being self-employed is the freedom of making your own schedule. It’s also amazing to know that you're doing something for yourself that actually makes you happy. I think that's so much more important than working just to work or working for financial gain. It’s important for your personal health to really love what you do. Once you start doing what you really love, you’ll start to dive in and feel better about your work.

What challenges do you face being self-employed?

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Ruby Woo: Initially, the main challenge was letting go of benefits that you get at a full-time job, such as health insurance. The process of finding benefits on your own can definitely be overwhelming, but I was lucky to have Stride to help me through that process.

Another challenge is staying self motivated. I think it's very easy to get comfortable when you're self-employed because you don't necessarily have anyone to keep you accountable. That can be an obstacle if you allow it to be, which is why it’s so important to discover what makes you stay motivated.

Do you plan on being self-employed for the long-term?

Ruby Woo: Yes, I do plan to continue to be self employed indefinitely. One of my long term goals musically is just to tour consistently—that’s what I really want to be doing. That's why I'm working really hard on my project now to be able to do that, but I think touring is where the longevity is music-wise.