Imani Ruz Finds strength Through Hard-Earned Introspection on Debut Record "Realizing A Woman"

On "Realizing A Woman," Imani Ruz's debut Extended Play, she prompts listeners to examine their spiritual growth, mental health, and self-love, through an absolute tear-jerking experience that operates under the transparency of her honest narratives.

The Philly-based singer-songwriter has given the past years of her life to music, exploring the intersection of R&B and Contemporary. Her music often feels like an invitation to think, heal, and strive for honest reflection, and analytic growth through sincere self-examination. With Realizing A Woman, Imani molds her songs from personal sentiments into a fluid dialogue surrounding lessons she's learned through the struggles of love and self-identity: utilizing her voice as a guide through the growing pains of individuality.

Alternating her silky acoustic guitar parts that exist between captivating monologs and tuneful vocal upswells, Imani layers her harmonies to produce the sensation of flurrying emotions that feel like goosebumps when her sopranos inevitably crescendo. She and her productions—minimalistic for a reason—are periodically joined by highlighting flashes of pianos, soft-hearted electric guitars, elegist stanzas, and a gospel-like after-glow that drifts in and out of our centers like a natural breath.

The sequence of tracks and their dissolving nature turns "Realizing A Woman" into a resplendent melancholic reverie that's constantly dissolving over its own infatuating borders. Raised above it all is our poet though, crooning, and speaking with complete confidence through her powerful voice, and marking her complete transformation into the woman, mother, and lover she is today.

With our first look, titles like "I'm Not Okay" and "By Myself" insinuate the kind of introspective and hard-earned self-awareness found on tear-stained diary entries. But while Imani's overall broadcasting message is encouraging and positive, her deliberately open-winded sonnets and poetic lyrics allow her to chronicle her own journey that grapples with biased-love, internal growth, and grief—amid other topics—through the richness of her cantor, the vehemence in her spoken word, and the music itself. After opening with a monologue that describes self-restoration, where she drops bombshells like, "I realize I'm looking at me through the eyes of other people, so you can have your eyes back, thank you, next."

On "By Myself," our songstress faces the consequences of getting into a toxic-relationship that she divulges is part of her own guilty conscience, and in her introspectional ballad-like cantor, she progresses through her hard-earned change, and on to self-aware growth that we can feel through her buzzing emotion. She opts for self-made change, of course, and it's clear that she's the woman standing before us today because of those experiences and struggles. It isn't slow or laborious, and each song recounts stumbling through the conjectures of life with a short and swift cohesiveness, yet Imani broadcasts it with deep motivation on "Investment": "You are exactly what God designed you to be, so I created peace."

In the early 2000s, the definition of R&B took on a multitude of distinct textures and narratives. Artists began to advance the genre as an innovative form of expression, with lyrics pushing introspection boundaries, and ballad swaying love-songs taking on traditional instrumentation. Imani Ruz does the same on her latest E.P., and her profound sentiments and acoustic panoramas are consistently outstanding while remaining quietly devastating.

In "I'm Not Okay," she dots her hooks with echoing harmonic notes that buzz over their scintillating R&B stylistic tendencies, with tinged electric guitars that simmer on hooking riffs that make an otherwise straight-forward track feel like the gateway to an alternate trance-like state of mind: where we're absorbed in the meditative nature of Imani's infatuating melodies.

Flashes of brilliance like these are interlaced throughout "Realizing A Woman," without misusing the short space she gives herself, and without adding flair for the sake of capturing attention. This might only be her first record thus far, but Imani Ruz's self-awareness, introspective indulgence, and commitment to her listeners' collective growth are unmistakably a stand-out.

Discover "Realizing A Woman" here.

Hello Imani, thank you for joining us at BuzzMusic. Can you walk us through the process of curating this emotional experience? How did you go about finding the most cohesive order of sentiments to present to your audience during this E.P.'s playback? 

Realizing A Woman EP project took 3 years to complete. Each song and poem is a reflection of some of the most important times in my life. Writing always starts off with me just brainstorming about words I can use based on the way I felt. Once I had an idea of what I wanted to talk about, or what message I wanted to relay I began to write. The writing was super emotional especially having to be so transparent. I had to share my life experiences hoping that they would resonate with the listener. I wanted to create a project that would inspire and uplift while it is not easy to be vulnerable. With each selection, my goal was to make sure the listener could find themselves in what I was saying. 

When you write music, what usually comes first for you, the instrumentation behind your acoustic guitar, or the profound narrative behind your lyrics?

When writing my pieces the instrumentation comes first. I often let the melodies in the music guide my lyrics.  Based on what I feel from the music is how I’ll know what to write. My lyrics come from my experiences and the things I want to manifest in life. While creating music that would provoke different feelings and will create different vibes while writing. 

Did you encounter any challenges with showing complete transparency and vulnerability through your lyrics and song narratives for the record?

Absolutely. There were so many times while writing I second-guessed if I should be so open and transparent. Reliving those moments that this project discusses was in fact painful. Although I’ve gone through so much writing this made me realize how important being honest is. Nobody wants to put their “business” on the forefront but I just knew I had to. The project took 3 years because of how many times I battled with what I should release about my life. I can honestly say I am glad I did because it touched somebody. 

What's something you tap into for creative innovation with regards to your musical style, and the minimalist nature of your Contemporary R&B ballads?

For creative innovation, I consistently watch and study other creators.  I get a lot of inspiration by watching others share their gifts. Some of my favorite creators are Jazmine Sullivan, Carvena Jones, Avery Wilson, and Samoht. They all play such a big part when finding inspiration and my musical style.  

Has there been anything as of recent that has sat with you as being a crucial milestone in your self-development and growth as a musical artist?

Although this year has been a rough year for so many of us it has sparked a zeal for me musically. I found myself digging deeper into social problems and being a lot better with self-development. Although I had the idea 3 years ago to release this project. It was not until things around me shut down that I was able to really lock in and get so much finished. I was able to take the time that I needed to develop as an artist and as a businesswoman. Being forced to shut down also forced me to focus on my self-development.