From Real Estate To The Recording Studio: ‘There’s No Better Time than the Present To Start Fol...

“Hard work and believing in yourself are cornerstones to accomplishing your dreams. There’s no age limit to starting your life and pursuing the dreams you’ve always had for yourself. Life is short, use the time you have here to do what will make you happy,” – Renée Ruth. 

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Renee Ruth Singer Songwriter

Do you feel like you’ve put your life goals on the back burner? That the pursuit of an honest living has seemingly created roadblocks to the dreams you’ve always had for your life? 

To quote one of Renee Ruth’s songs “Chasing Butterflies,” “life gets in the way” when bills, family, responsibilities settle in and we feel obligated to pursue a career where we feel secure and financially stable. So many of us don’t know how to take the leap from day to day and pursue our dreams, even when we know it’s exactly what we’ve always wanted to do. 

Renee Ruth’s story is one from obligation to dream chasing and what it took her to scale her life from ordinary to extraordinary. This is the story of a former University professor turned successful real estate agent and musician who has become an inspiration for anyone looking for a way to break out of their everyday lives and make their dreams a reality. 

Yet, her confidence and drive to pursue her dream didn’t just happen overnight, in fact, it took going through a series of hurdles in her life to learn how to carve her path to success and achieving her lifelong goals. 

Born and raised in Canada, Renee Ruth’s passion for singing began as a toddler. “I grew up in a family of musicians on both sides. My mother was the organist in the church and my Opa (her father) could turn any inanimate object into a musical instrument. One of my favorites was a sea shell he’d found in Florida that he made into a flute of sorts. My father’s entire family was musical as well and were part of a Christian touring singing group in Canada.” 

That spirit was brought into her nuclear family of four growing up in Markham, Ontario. Performing on stage was not only encouraged, it was expected. “There almost wasn’t a chance to develop stage fright as we were simply told we would be joining our parents Sunday to sing and rehearsed together for those performances. I distinctly remember one Christmas service as a kid being on stage with a tambourine and singing with my family while my dad played guitar. Might be some of my fondest memories as time with my mom here on earth was short.” It may have been that exposure to the stage at such a young age, the musical environment that she was engulfed in, or just the innate drive she was born with, but Renee knew one of her goals in life was to perform. Her childhood friends would spend afternoons passing time away rotary dialing numbers from the phone book and singing a little Frankie Lymon remix they’d made up to “prank” the caller that answered. It usually ended with all the girls giggling and hanging up. “A I’ll always love you, B I’ll be right there for you, C come come closer and I’ll tell you about this thing called love.” Click. 

Pragmatism was the foundation of her family dynamic. Her mother was born in war-torn Germany and came with the clothes on their backs to Canada via boat in the 50s. Her father was raised in rural Ontario by hard working parents too, so strong value was placed on work. She had her first job at 11 years of age doing the dishes at the Christian Blind Mission across from her childhood church. 

Her mom, a self-taught organist and pianist, wanted to do more for her daughters and provided piano lessons at an early age. Later in life, these piano lessons would serve her well as she was able to accompany herself when she started performing and it aided in music composition, but she really wanted voice lessons. Those were deemed frivolous by her parents. So she continued to sing in the church, auditioning for their ensembles, plays and anything else she could get involved in. You would think after all this exposure, confidence was something she didn’t lack, yet the idea of singing solo was something she adamantly avoided and spent her early years harnessing the ability to harmonize. 

Both of her parents were teachers who valued higher education, and were very keen to see her pursue a career that would provide her financial security. This was born out of genuine love and concern to have her thrive in life and that was the path that she set out on. Her passion for music continued to linger as she moved towards graduating high school, but her life was about to change dramatically and take her on a completely different course. 

The day the music died for Renee Ruth was on July 20th 1996. That day her mom lost her 2 year battle with cancer and Renee sang her first solo. 

This moment showed Renee first hand that life was short. Life IS short. Music had always been a part of her life and writing and singing became therapy for her as she navigated a world that no longer included a mom. 

Graduating high school, Renee was accepted to Liberty University in Virginia and moved to the United States to pursue higher education. Initially, Renee was in school for psychology with a music minor, and quickly saw that an undergraduate degree wouldn’t get very far in the future. Enrolling for a Masters, she pursued tha job security she was hoping to find in post-graduate degrees. From there she started a career as a university professor teaching for over a decade before becoming a nationally recognized real estate agent. Throughout this entire time, however, music was always the thing that made her happiest. 

“It’s important for us to remember that even though something may not seem like the right fit for us at the time, there’s still room to learn and grow and gain skills that can help you pursue your actual dreams, and maybe even be better at them.” 

After Renee lost her mom, she found herself in a place where she couldn’t create the space for music in her life anymore. She stopped writing her own songs, and although her passion for music never left her, the emotional heaviness of losing her mom overtook her motivation to continue to pursue it any further. In time though, that longing to sing and perform would resurface once again. 

“When I turned 30 years old I paid off all my student loans, was a full time professor, and I called up my dad and told him it was time that I give my music career a serious try. Shortly after I completed my first EP, ‘What I Need.’”

Like any new pursuit in life, Renee wanted to confirm to herself that this dream was truly worth going for, so she worked hard and performed wherever she could. She joined a major church choir in Virginia that consisted of about 300 people. The goal was to make it to the “front lines” of the choir, which referred to the first row of singers who would be given more solos and focused vocal work. Initially, the director of the choir told her it takes about a year to move up to the front lines, and Renee was ready to put in the work to get there. 

“Within four months, I got a call and they asked me to audition for the Praise Team. I ended up singing ‘Amazing Grace’ for the audition and completely butchered it. I was so nervous, my voice was so shaky and I had no confidence. You have to remember at this point it had been almost a decade since I seriously sang in front of anyone before. The director pointed out that he could tell I was full of nerves, but he knew I had it in me, so I continued to work hard and made it to the front lines in less than 6 months.” 

Throughout those 6 months, Renee found herself inspired to start writing her own music again. She credits that resurgence of inspiration to being surrounded by so many individuals who had such a strong passion for every song they sang, reigniting the confidence she needed to fall back in love with her own sound. 

Once she made the front lines, Renee was ready to start sharing her own art with the world. She began performing every Wednesday night at a local restaurant, as a way of testing out her songs with the public. Even though she had faith in herself as a singer and songwriter, that initial validation was important for her to continue pursuing her music career

“My first  performance I had a full house. One of the most important people who showed up that night was a lovely woman named Leslie Colby, who after watching me perform called me up and said ‘do you want to actually do this?’ referring to taking my own music seriously in a professional manner. 

Turns out her uncle was one of the first entertainment lawyers in America, and she believed in me and my sound so much that she funded my first EP in 2010, “What I Need,” which was completed a month or two after my first performance.” 

It was at this point in Renee’s life that she realized it was time to truly take the leap when it came to making her music mainstream, and that’s exactly what she did. She recalls reading a book about The Beatles during this time that broke down how one could stand out in a world full of talented musicians. The Beatles got their big break after putting an exceptional number of hours into creating and performing their music. They put so much time, energy, and passion into their music that eventually people had to pay attention, and she intended on doing the same thing. 

Renee Ruth Singer Songwriter

“After recording my first EP, I spent the next decade performing and touring. I really wanted to put in all the hours. I played wedding venues, up and down the East Coast, basically anywhere I could find a stage and a microphone. At this time I was also performing a lot of covers, but in order to make myself stand out I would re-work and essentially produce whatever song I was covering so that it would feel more like me.” 

Renee Ruth Singer Songwriter

Throughout that decade, Renee fell in love with not only performing, but her own sound and music, which drove her to work even harder when it came to launching her own music career. After putting in the time and gaining the experience of what it truly meant to be on stage, Renee was ready to take another major step towards sharing her own music with the world. 

She stopped taking bookings to perform, and set her sights on touring and performing her own music. Whether that meant being on the marquee for a festival, or being the opening act for someone on their tour, Renee knew exactly what she wanted to do, and wasn’t going to let anything stop her. 

Now, she’s in New York meeting with labels and executives who believe in her just as much as she does. Renee’s ready for the world to be introduced to her, but more importantly, her music. 

“Music is such a universal language, and helps everyone navigate this crazy world in their own way, and I want my music to do the same, I know it can and I know it will.” 

When it comes to what inspires the music Renee writes, she often finds herself doing what most artists do and writes from her own life experiences. Obviously, writing based on traumatic and hard moments in life fuels a lot of music, and Renee’s is no different. However, she’s always made it a goal to make sure her songs can relate to a multitude of experiences, not just her own. After all, one of the main reasons she’s so passionate about music is because of the way it touches people, and she wanted to be a part of that. 

“I eventually realized I don’t always have to tell my own stories to create a song that I truly love. I have an agent that contacts me for any songwriting jobs for television shows or commercials and I remember we got a prompt to write a love song. Love is something that I never experienced in the capacity that most love songs express, so I messaged my producer who I knew was in a really great relationship and I asked him to send me some stories about when he and his girlfriend first met. He ended up sending me four voice memos that were each 50 seconds long, and I used them to write one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard. Their story, not mine. 

That’s another skill that I found I had as I grew into my sound more, you don’t always need to have experienced what you’re writing about to create something truly incredible that will touch a lot of people. I think that’s an important life lesson too, just because you may not have experience in a certain aspect of a field you love, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t cut out for it, or need to be scared to pursue it, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow further.” 

“I know one of the chapter’s of my life is going to be centered around touring my music, it’s just a matter of when it’s going to happen. Sometimes it takes us a while to see what others see in us, especially when it comes to our talent, but once we are able to see it, it’s impossible to stop us, at least in my experience.” 

Now, Renee’s work is paying off as she’s currently in talks to write her first album and perform it for audiences everywhere, proving that hard work, dedication, confidence, and experience is the recipe for success when it comes to making your dreams a reality. While she can’t give away too many details about what’s to come in the future, Renee’s never felt more confident in the way she’s currently making her dreams a reality, and knows she’ll be gracing stages everywhere soon. 

“There’s truly nothing more exhilarating than performing, in my opinion. I’ve performed for small rooms of a dozen people, and larger crowds, and regardless of the crowd size, being able to share my voice and sound with anyone is always rewarding. 

When I think about how nervous I used to be to perform, compared to now where performing is all I want to do, I realize that I was able to gain that confidence simply through experience. For me, I always knew performing was something that I would enjoy and want to pursue, but my lack of experience overall made it seem like the most terrifying thing in the world. 

Gaining more experience on the stage gave me a whole new outlook on what I had to do to make my music career happen, because I realized I wasn’t actually scared of performing, I was more scared that I’d never be able to stop, and I was kind of right because I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.” 

Renee wants anyone out there who thinks their dreams are too far fetched to ever actually come true to know that it’s all about how you go through life and approach your passions. 

It’s important to be calculated and logical about the dream you’re pursuing. Renee always knew that she needed to take a lot of steps to find out if music was actually something that she could pursue seriously, and it was only after she put in the time and performed for a multitude of people in a slew of different spaces that she knew she was doing the right thing. It’s not only important, but necessary to take the time to gain the confidence in your skill, and be calculated in the way you go for it. 

You can spend your whole life chasing something that you think you want, and miss the thing that you actually were meant to do. That’s why the Beatles story always stuck with Renee, “you have to put in the time to truly learn if your dreams are something you really want to dedicate yourself to, or if it’s something that might not fulfill you in all aspects of life.” Sometimes you have to work really hard to support those dreams yourself and that is one of the reasons she set out to pursue a career in real estate, eventually retiring out of higher education.

Growing up, Renee never expected that she would become a real estate agent, however it quickly became a field she not only excelled in, but fell in love with. 

“I was teaching before I entered real estate, which I absolutely loved doing, but I didn’t know if it was going to be fulfilling enough to continue to do throughout the rest of my life.” 

Renee entered the real estate world after a friend of hers in the industry showed her the ropes. Like many parts of her life, she quickly realized that the skills she gained as a teacher would help advance her as an agent, and eventually, her music career. Her clients became her new students and classrooms took the form of open houses and educating the people she helped on the process of buying and selling a home. 

In 2017 she launched her Real Estate career full-time, leaving academia, and finding her permanent home with eXp Realty in 2018. Since then she is a 4-time achieving Icon Agent in the top 4% of her brokerage, awarded annually beginning in 2019. The success that Renee gained as an agent also gave her the ability to pay off her debts and create a space where her passions could flourish. 

Globally, Renee is also building a reputation for herself based on the immense success she’s experienced within the past four years. Her brokerage is currently recruiting around the world in the 21 countries eXp is currently in, and has built a presence in South Africa and France. For the future, she’s looking forward to teaching agents around the world the empowerment in mindset, how to achieve the top in real estate in their areas and to team up and build the brokerage together. 

“The passion to see this global expansion is not dwarfed by the passion for music, but rather each fuels the other as I drive to achieve all of my dreams.

Real estate was really a bi-product of being in a situation where I wanted to do something that would financially keep me secure, but that I knew I could also be good at. The reality for most of us is if we want to pursue our dreams, we need a way of funding it, which is why I think so many people get discouraged when it comes to fueling their passions.” 

Her philosophy that helped guide her throughout her career while keeping her dream on the back burner was all about surrounding herself with positivity and doing things that made her happy. One must learn to invest in themselves before they can invest in their dreams, but that’s what will make it all the more worthwhile. Putting the time and energy into making yourself a fully fulfilled happy individual will lead you to places where it seems easier to pursue the things you’ve always wanted to do. 

Grieving the loss of her mother also taught her not to let the negative moments in life stunt her growth. Hard times are unfortunately a natural part of life, it’s how we use them to grow that matter.

“I realized that you are in full control of your own life, and when it comes to being in dark places you can’t just wait around for it to get better, you have to create those spaces for yourself. As I matured internally there was a shift with my music too where my newfound confidence and passion as a performer was being reflected in the songs I wrote.” 

One of the biggest takeaways Renee wants to give the world is to never get discouraged when life seems difficult. We all have dreams and passions that seem impossible to pursue, but nothing’s truly impossible when it comes to living an accomplished and fulfilled life. 

You have to work really hard, you have to spend the money and the energy on your dreams if you want to make them come to life. If you don’t find yourself using your free time to advance your skill and work towards whatever greater goal you may have, then maybe it’s not what you actually want. You have to be able to ask yourself those hard questions and really get to a place with yourself where every dollar and minute spent pursuing your dreams feels truly worth it. 

“Working in the world of real estate taught me that you can use every aspect of your life to grow as an individual, which will in turn help you do anything in life. I truly love the process of helping people find a home, or helping new agents find their footing in the industry, and throughout my time in the field I’ve gained a lot of success. That success not only reassured me that I’m doing something that I’m good at, but that I have the skills to do, and be great at, anything I put my mind to, especially when it comes to my music. 

Take your time, do your time, and don’t give up when times get rough. Remember what made you so passionate about your dreams in the first place, and use that to continue to grow. It’s never too late in life to be happy, and there’s no age limit when it comes to following your dreams.”

To learn more about Renee Ruth’s extensive career in real estate, and to follow her on her music journey, click here.

Renee Ruth Singer Songwriter