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Colin Tan
Digital Life, The Straits Times
Sunday, May 18, 2014

News, Science And Tech

What's in... Ruth Ling's studio

Digital Life, The Straits Times | Colin Tan | Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ruth Ling, local composer and musician, in her home studio.

Ruth Ling was four years old when she discovered the piano.

Now 33, she has composed music for Singapore's National Day Parade, toured with singers such as A-mei and Stephanie Sun and worked on many musicals including Fried Rice Paradise.

When Ling was four, her parents encouraged her to dabble in ballet, swimming, art and music, among other activities. She did not take to ballet and swimming, but quickly discovered her aptitude for music.

As a piano student at the Yamaha Music School, she was chosen to join its Junior Special Advanced Course for just a dozen students.

Her parents had never taken music lessons themselves but gave Ling their wholehearted support.

Her mother would sit with her while she practised. Meanwhile, her father encouraged her by buying equipment for her, helping to set up a computer and some sound modules.

While studying at Raffles Girls' Secondary and Raffles Junior College, Ling won several songwriting competitions.

After completing her A levels, she continued her studies at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston in the United States. This was where she truly came into her own.

"It opened me up to the world of American and Latin music and formed the roots of my musicality," she said.

There, she absorbed jazz, funk and Latin American music. No surprise then that she loves visiting Brazil, Colombia and Spain.

She said of Berklee: "The competition is truly friendly, and every musician I meet is like family. I still keep in touch with many of them."

She graduated summa cum laude, the highest honour achievable. After graduating, she paid the bills by doing pop music arrangements, building her reputation with each job.

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