Edmonton pop singer Ruth B — short for Berhe — is quick to admit she owes a lot of her career to Vine. And though the short-length social video app has withered away, Berhe's career has just fully blossomed.
The 21-year-old got her big break posting six-second song snippets she shot in her bedroom to Vine. The snippets took off and helped her form her breakthrough hit single Lost Boy, which now has more than 52 million views on YouTube.
Columbia Records signed her in 2015 and Friday marked the release of her debut album, Safe Haven.
All the accomplishments were feted in her breakthrough artist of the year win at this year's Junos in April.
"Growing up that was always my biggest fear ... that I wouldn't be able to break through all the noise," she told CBC News.
"I'm from Edmonton. How was anybody ever going to hear about me? So those words are really important to, like, break through everything and get a chance. It's been amazing."
Edmonton her 'safe haven'
Though a whole lot has changed professionally for Behre over the two years, she still plans on keeping the life she had before her fame. She graduated from high school in 2013 and was studying at MacEwan University when her career took off — so she put her schooling on a pause.
When she's not on the road, Behre continues to live in Edmonton with her parents, both immigrants from Ethiopia.
"All my friends are like 'what, you haven't left yet?' I'm like, 'no, I don't want to.' Why? I don't want to learn how to cook," she jokes.
"I loved the life I lived before this. I loved going to school and seeing my friends and family every day so I really don't have the intention of changing that and living some glamorous life."
She says her home with her "little" bedroom and her family and friends are her "safe haven" — a nod to the name of her album.
"The place I feel most normal and most safe is at my piano when I'm singing or writing these songs."
'It's a very surreal thing'
It's a bit of an unconventional approach to handling fame but Behre says it works. Besides, she's been doing things differently all her life — and she's glad she "didn't always stick to the rules."
"I loved playing piano but I hated sitting there for two hours and just doing theory," she admits. "I remember the teachers would get so mad at me because I would never actually play what they wanted me to play. I'd just be making my own stuff up. But hey, it helps now."
Went for a long drive this morning and blasted my album with the windows all down. Top 5 moments of my life.— @itsruthb
She's still trying to let a lot of her success sink in — and that's evident by taking a quick scroll through her Twitter account, where her excitement about the new album and what's to come is undeniable.
She heads to the U.S. this summer for a handful of performance dates and also has her first "real" festival shows, including a spot at the CBC Music Festival in Toronto at the end of the month.
"I think the most amazing moment so far has just been any time that I sing my songs, and I see people sing them back to me — it's very surreal thing," she said.
"A song you wrote in your basement for yourself is now living in someone else's home and in their ears."