Irish singer-songwriter RuthAnne Cunningham has opened up about why she couldn't give her new material to Britney Spears and insists her upcoming debut album isn't about "everyone seeing my face".
The Dubliner left her hometown of Donaghmede for the bright lights of LA when she was just 17 and went on to pen tracks for Britney, JoJo, Estelle, One Direction and Westlife, along with featuring on the soundtrack for the latest Fifty Shades movie.
The songstress, who most recently penned Niall Horan's chart-topper, Slow Hands, which won a BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) award in May, admits her upcoming album, Matters of the Heart, is her most personal work to date.
Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, she said: "Everyone's like, 'you’re coming out from behind the scenes’ but it’s not so much about everyone seeing my face.
"I just wrote this collection of songs that were really my stories and was the soulfulness that I grew up loving like Alicia Keys, John Legend and Carole King.
"For me, it was more that no one was really doing that lane, especially from an Irish female. I just put these out myself because these are my stories. I don’t think I could give them to Britney Spears to sing," she laughed.
34-year-old Cunningham opened up about working "in a very ageist industry" but admits it isn't something that bothers her as she is staying true to herself.
"Obviously, we are in a very ageist industry! I'm sure some people are like 'she’s in her thirties, it’s too late' but I could name you a million artists who only became massive after 30 like JLo, Sheryl Crow and The Script.
"There’s no timeline on great music, you could be 60. This is me, and this is what I want to say at this point," she added.
Cunningham's hit single, The Vow, increased in popularity after it was used on this year's Love Island, but unlike the show, and the pressure to be perfect that comes with most gigs in the public eye, she says that it was her musically-gifted parents who encouraged her to stay focused on her passion.
"My parents never made me feel like I needed to put my looks first. They were always about me singing and writing the best songs that I could and letting that be the thing that propels you forward.
"In Hollywood it's like you don’t look like JLo or Rihanna but you also aren’t quirky enough to look like Beth Ditto, so you’re just like cute in the middle somewhere.
"You get told these things and that you don’t look like a pop star, and I’m like 'well, I don’t want to be any of those people, I just want to be me!’"
Opening up about her time in the US and writing for A-list musicians, Cunningham admits that some of the artists she crossed paths with weren't as down-to-earth or talented as they may seem.
"I’ve been in rooms with people that I’m like 'wow, I don’t know how you’ve got here but fair play to you because you don’t have any talent at all!'
"They can’t sing a note and they can’t write a song. I don’t even know how that is possible! But then I see how they are with people and how they work the room and I get it.
"It teaches you a lot about the type of person you want to be because you can meet celebrities that are horrifying and you can meet ones who are amazing and you want to be the type of person everyone wants to talk to and be around."
When asked what her most important life lesson is to date, she said, "Just be a nice person - no matter if you’re famous or not - it doesn’t matter."
I am so excited to announce that my debut album will be released 4th of October!!!!! This has been a long time coming & im pinching myself that it is FINALLY happening!! Aaaahhh click the link to PRE-SAVE https://t.co/sruClhghyU #mattersoftheheart pic.twitter.com/l0USrxgNik— RuthAnne (@thisisruthanne) September 11, 2019
RuthAnne Cunningham's debut album, Matters of the Heart, is out on Friday, October 4.