Starting a new school can be a daunting experience for any young person, especially when that transition comes during a global pandemic.
or teenage Ruby Moss, there was the added factor of her veganism, a lifestyle she’s practiced for six years and which sets her apart from many of her new classmates.
Ruby, now 14, struggled with loneliness as she tried to integrate into Dundalk Grammar School, which she attends as a boarder and where she begins an organ scholarship.
Having trouble expressing her feelings in words, the musical schoolgirl wrote lyrics and melodies, before composing music and guitar chords.
But neither Ruby nor Mum Louisa expected what happened next. His song Invisible topped the iTunes singer-songwriter charts in Ireland and reached # 11 on the iTunes charts for Ireland.
Dublin-born Ruby, whose father and paternal grandparents are from Dromore, County Down, explained how Invisible was born.
“I’ve always written short stories, poems and jingles, but during the lockdown I started writing full songs,” she said.
“I wrote Invisible in September, during that first year of high school.
“I had a hard time fitting in and felt quite depressed. I didn’t know how to talk about it and explain how I felt.
“I found myself alone a day after class and the words came to mind. Starting a new school is tough, but because I’m a vegan, it makes me different. I am the only one in my school.
“It was also difficult because I had been away for so long due to Covid-19 and felt like I forgot how to talk to people. Then I realized that everyone was the same.
Ruby’s musical career began at St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir School at the age of eight. She enjoyed learning to play the piano and then took up flute, guitar and button accordion.
After writing Invisible, Ruby heard about an under-16 program at Crookedwood Studios in Slane and recorded Invisible in one take. The song was released the week of Ruby’s 14th birthday, becoming number one on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts.
For a birthday present, Ruby received additional sessions at the studio, where she recorded other songs, including Shades of Gray. It deals with the topic of frustrating conversations with people who see things in black and white and don’t like change.
“It started out as frustrating conversations you might have about musical genres, but then it turned into climate change and how hard it can be to have those conversations,” says Ruby.
“Greta Thunberg is someone I really admire. She is also vegan and I find her really inspiring.
Shades of Gray is part of a trilogy on climate change, a topic that interests Ruby. The second part is called Stranded and was inspired by a bike trip taken by Ruby and her mother on a particularly hot and tiring day. He arrived at number 1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. The third song has been recorded but has no name yet. It will be released in November.
As of press time, all three songs released by Ruby were in the top three of the iTunes Songwriter / Performer Chart in Ireland.
Ruby also recorded a number of other songs, including a Christmas single and one in memory of her late great-grandmother.
Mom Lousia says, “All of Ruby’s songs have messages that she’s trying to get across. These are all metaphors for what’s going on in the world.
“Ruby has strong opinions on things and her songs help her get her messages across.
“Putting her feelings down on paper helps her understand them and then she was able to focus on the positive aspects rather than her sadness.
“A friend of mine told me that his son was sitting in his room listening to his songs and he felt he could relate to them. She had a lot of feedback from other young people.
“And when her teacher told the class that Ruby was number one on the iTunes singer / songwriter charts, they all clapped, which was lovely.”
Over the past few months, Ruby’s songs have been aired on radio stations in Ireland, England, Scotland and Australia. Invisible and Shades of Gray are sold to benefit GoVeganWorld and Jigsaw for Mental Health.
Ruby, whose favorite bands include ELO and The Beatles, adds, “Things have gotten better for me now and I made new friends at school.
“I want to get the message across that no matter how badly you feel, things always get better. You just have to have hope. “