Ruthie Foster was born in the small rural town of Gause, TX. Raised in a family of gospel singers, Ruthie first learned to sing during worship services at her community church. With a chapel-bred bravado trained on the works of powerful women such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, her sound grew into an inspired blend of blues, folk and gospel.
Seeking to define her own path, Ruthie left her hometown to serve in the Navy. She discovered her love for performing while singing pop and funk tunes as the front woman of Pride, a band that performed at Navy recruitment drives nationwide. Ruthie’s time with Pride provided a window into varying American cultures coast to coast, and after her service she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician.
After diving into the city’s vibrant music scene, she became a staple in the folk community and was soon picked offered a development deal by Atlantic Records. Atlantic envisioned Ruthie as a pop artist, but Ruthie was focused on taking a step back to further explore roots music. She turned her back on the major label record deal and returned to her home state to spend more time with family and the music that shaped her.
Ruthie moved back to Texas and settled in Austin. Her debut, Full Circle, was released in 1997 and was followed by Crossover in 1999. The two albums secured Ruthie as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter in the Austin scene and caught the attention of Texas independent label Blue Corn Music.
Since then, Ruthie has stuck with Blue Corn to release seven albums over the past twelve years. Ruthie’s studio album releases on Blue Corn Music include Runaway Soul in 2002, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2007, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster in 2009, Let It Burn in 2012 and Promise of a Brand New Day in 2014. The latter three were all nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Blues Album. She has also released two live albums, Stages in 2004 and Live At Antone’s, a CD and DVD release, in 2011.
Ruthie’s career also reaches beyond her own releases and performances. She has collaborated on stage with artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers to Susan Tedeschi, and has recorded tracks with Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, and The Blind Boys of Alabama, among others. Ruthie has also recently been featured both as an actress, with a guest appearance on NBC’s television series Revolution, and as a classical vocalist, with Austin’s prestigious vocal ensemble Conspirare.
To date, Ruthie’s artistry and creative output have both been lauded with accolades on regional and national platforms. Outside of her 2010, 2012 and 2014 Grammy nominations, Ruthie has been recognized by organizations such as the Austin Music Awards (2007, 2008 and 2013 Best Female Vocalist), Blues Music Awards (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Living Blues Awards (2010 Critics’ Poll Winner and 2011 nominee for Blues Female Artist of the Year).