The Rua band: ‘Aunt Dana backs us - but we won’t be making Christian music’

Dana’s nieces and nephew on making country-pop that’s popular in US, and on their Harry Potter roles

The Rua are, from left,  Jonathan, Roseanna and Alanna Brown. Their debut album, Essence, is out now.

The Rua are, from left, Jonathan, Roseanna and Alanna Brown. Their debut album, Essence, is out now.

 

New band The Rua say it’s handy having Aunt Rosemary (former Eurovision winner, Dana) around for inspiration and advice.

“She has always been very supportive and if we have any questions we go to her,” says Alanna Brown, the eldest of the three Brown siblings that make up the band.

While all three have a strong Catholic faith – they go to Mass every Sunday – they say they have no intention of following Dana down the Christian music route.

“I think she’s the one in the family that’s taken that, so we’d never be able to follow in her footsteps that way,” says Roseanna.

Country-pop

Instead, they make country-pop that has made them popular in the US, where their first single was a hit and their latest, Without You, is currently at number 41 in the charts.

Both songs are off their debut album, Essence, which features some impressive collaborations.

Blondie bassist Nigel Harrison contributes to the record and co-wrote one of their songs, while Radiohead drummer Clive Deamer also performs on the album.

The Brown siblings, who grew up in England, have no problem with comparisons to The Corrs.

They started out playing covers of the Dundalk four-piece – as well as of Fleetwood Mac and The Cardigans – but it wasn’t until they sent some of their own recordings to Bob Rose at FOD Records that they finally got some attention.

“We had done a lot of co-writes to begin with and he was given those and we didn’t get any response. Then they were sent just our songs and he thought we were a completely different band. He said, these songs, I like,” says Alanna.

Surrounded by music

The Rua grew up surrounded by music, so their parents weren’t surprised when they decided to form a band. They were encouraged to play together, and as children there were late night sing-songs at their granny’s house in Derry.

“I remember when we were younger being in Derry and if you were going to play music you could stay up later,” recalls Alanna.

All classically trained musicians, Roseanna is on vocals and guitar, Alanna plays piano and sings backing vocals, while Jonathan plays violin and guitar. He says a career in music was inevitable: “It has always been a passion of ours and something we wanted to pursue.”

The band say working together can sometimes lead to sibling friction, but it never gets out of hand. “I think it’s good! Everyone’s always like, ‘Do you guys fight?’ We’re like, do you have brothers and sisters? Yes we fight, but we forget about it in two seconds,” says Roseanna.

The Rua also have a background in film: Each of them has appeared as continuity extras in the Harry Potter movies, an experience they describe as “amazing”.

Perhaps some of them spent a little too much time enjoying movie sets though, as, according to Roseanna, “we were in it quite a lot. I didn’t really go to my first year of university…”

Listen to The Rua in conversation with Róisín Ingle on the Róisín Meets podcast.

Their debut album, Essence, is out now.

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