Twelve Questions: Ruby Frost

Pop poppet Ruby Frost, 25, is the sole New Zealand-based judge of TV3's X-Factor, which begins this month. She talks about her creative influences and reveals just who is paying for that hair ...

 X-Factor  judge Ruby Frost says the pink hair happened by accident. Photo / Supplied
X-Factor judge Ruby Frost says the pink hair happened by accident. Photo / Supplied

1.Jane de Jong sounds like a great pop star name - why did you change it to Ruby Frost?

I always thought it sounded like a really nerdy name and when I was at school I had to come up with a pseudonym to enter a Katherine Mansfield short story competition. I thought of Ruby Frost on the spot and it's been my name for creative endeavours ever since. About 10 years now.

2.What's with the pink hair?

Actually I've had my hair sponsored by Redken for a couple of years but the pink happened by accident. I was recording my album in New York and a crazy hairdresser dyed it fluoro pink. I wanted more of a peach colour.

3.Who is your pop idol?

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. Still mainstream commercial and accessible but out of this world.

4.Were you jaded at 22 (as your lyric suggests?)

Yes, I was. When I wrote that lyric (for the song Young) I was depressed after going through a really bad breakup. I was really burned from it. I'm terrible at forgiving people but I'm happier now.

5.What's the best lyric you've penned so far?

It's hard to have perspective on my own songs, but the lyric "O that I had the wings of a dove to rest on me, to fly back with a branch in its beak and rescue me" (from O That I Had) has seemed to resonate with some people. Someone in the States just got it tattooed on their back!

6.Whose lyrics would you most like to steal?

I think (Swedish pop group) Miike Snow have great, simple lyrics that still carry weight and meaning. I like: "I change shapes just to hide in this place but I'm still an animal."

7.Your parents set up the Parachute Christian music festival. How would you describe your own faith?

It's been an interesting journey. I grew up in this very intense bubble, travelling around the world seeing many different mega churches. They are not the most natural environ-ment and you get to the point where you start to question if that culture is necessary to have a healthy spiritual life. I left the church I grew up in and have found my own community church that I like going to.

8.God and rock 'n' roll never seemed an easy match: how is God and synth-pop?

I frame everything through that spiritual lens in a way because I've had it so instilled in me and I think it's kept me grounded. Working with record labels and people you get a lot of opinions and it's hard to maintain your own identity but going to church can help you have the space to do that. It's pretty personal and I don't go on about it a lot.

9. Which international TV talent quest judge are you most likely to resemble when you take the chair on X Factor?

I couldn't be Simon Cowell if I tried. But I liked Demi Lovato. She was straight up and honest and pokes fun at Simon.

10.You've opened for lots of great bands (Garbage, Kimbra, Evermore etc): what's your best star-struck story?

I opened for Garbage in Auckland and Wellington after (lead singer) Shirley Manson tweeted me asking me to do it. She's got a long history of supporting up and coming bands so that was really special and she gave me great encouragement.

11.With just the one album released, is it difficult to judge other aspiring musicians?

When I was coming into this I thought that was the main thing I would be criticised for but compared to the other judges I'm the one who has been around a lot in New Zealand and gigged a lot here. I know how hard it is to break into the scene here. I think I know a bit about what the New Zealand recording industry is looking for now. The industry is changing so fast, you really have to have a strong brand that will stand out in it.

12.Where will you be in 10 years?

I have heaps of different dream scenarios for me at 35. I'd love to be recording and songwriting in LA.

- NZ Herald

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