A Meeting In A Cyber Cafe

    Ruut: Interview and Album Review

ruut_1One of four daughters to classical musician parents, Ruut was born in Finland, and wrote her first song when she learned to play the piano at age 7. Ruut grew up living and traveling in Europe, until moving to the States at age 16.

Her various musical influences (including classical, gospel, jazz, Broadway, songwriters such as Carole King, Paul Simon, Elton John, and Tori Amos) shaped her piano-based story-telling approach to her own artistry.

Q: When did you know music is what you wanted to have in your life?

A: It sort of chose me. I started writing songs when I learned to play the piano at age 7, and I never stopped. But I made the decision to pursue it as a career in my early twenties, when I got offered a record deal.

Q: I see. Well it’s no surprise you were offered one. Your newest album, “Glimpse,” is very powerful. Rich and heartfelt, sometimes you can even sense a bit of pain within the lyrics. What was the inspiration behind it, if you don’t mind me asking?

A: Some big life changes prompted me to dig deeper than I ever had as a songwriter. We had just watched my Mother-in-law lose her battle against cancer, and soon after that I gave birth to my second daughter. I had also been away from the music scene for a few years, so Glimpse was the accumulation of every song I hadn’t written in that time.

Q: So you’ve been through a good bit from last album until now. Would you say you’ve embrace the events, good or bad, that happen in life?

A:Yes, for sure, though I feel like I have to keep relearning this lesson. When shit hits the fan, I don’t exactly say, “Awesome! Can’t wait to feel the pain and write another great song!” but it does seem that the good ones come out of the really dark times. I’ve paid a price for my best songs.

Q: So tell me, how was the journey to now for you? How has it shaped your musical style?

A: I’ve gone through many transformations as an artist in that time, from being signed to a Christian label, making a couple pop and dance albums and finally settling into being the songwriter I am today. I have no regrets in trying my hand in different projects. If anything, I got an education in the music industry. But when I have moments of self-doubt, I listen to Glimpse, my new album, from beginning to end. Its rawness, honesty, and simplicity center me every time and always provide the inspiration for me to move forward. This is something I’ve never been able to say about my own music. And that’s so much more than simply finding my own musical style. It feels like a new beginning.

Q: It’s certainly a amazing start to this new beginning. I have to ask, what, in your opinion, sets you apart from the rest?

A: That’s an excellent question I often ponder myself. It’s impossible not to feel intimidated by the sea of musicians out there – every minute someone writes a new song. So, I try to be great and really push myself to make the songs better. I edit my writing, and practice a lot. Also, the life I’ve lived and where I’ve been all makes me the artist I am, with a unique story and point of view. But, most importantly, I strive to be relevant and timeless as a songwriter, meaning, there will always be a need for songs that inspire, challenge, and unite us. I really believe that when we graduate from just sorting out our own lives to inspiring others, we start to stand out as artists. That’s when we begin to make our mark.

Q: That was beautifully true. Nobody ever knows when that it going to happen, but when it does, you just know. Thank you for that. So to wrap things up, what would be your advice to other singer/songwriters trying to make it?

A: Everyone’s journey is so unique, but I’ve found that the songs that I’ve written from the deepest place are always the ones people resonate with the most.

So I guess my advice would be to be honest, don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing, and your originality and emotional depth will set you apart from the rest.

Album review:

ruut glimpse

This is my first album review I have written, but I assure you, regardless of what justice or injustice I do the album through my words, you will not be disappointed with Ruut’s newest ‘Glimpse.’ I am a rookie writing for a seeming veteran in the music industry. Such talent I have to the honor to meet. It’s a funny sort of thing. You take a trip with some friends to the local reservoir and you never know who exactly you’re going to meet. Such is the story when the first time I met Ruut. A beautifully sweet woman who has passion burning in her eyes. We exchanged names, as strangers do, then parted ways. I approached her later down the road to see if she would be interested in doing an interview, for at the time an August issue, of Seven and she agreed. The August issue was passed by. She
continued to keep in touch with me despite the let down. Instead of disappointment, she was enthusiastic at the opinion of me personally writing a review for her, so here I am. My first album review on such a spectacular album. I feel honored.

The album, Glimpse, starts with her song aptly titled ‘Glimpse.’ It carries a richness in the harmonies and a tenderness in the vocals. The song evokes a lucidity within the listener that makes you just want to lean back and close your eyes to recall the memories of the times you almost had something good. It is a song with heart, with pain, with passion. Relatable, powerful, it’s the appropriate opener. This one will hook you and drag you along for the ride. At the same time, this is one of the standouts on the album for its lyrics and its tone that the instrumental portion sets. This song encompasses what the rest of the album is about in its own way.

The album continues its very lyrically heavy trend throughout, but Ruut doesn’t sacrifice her ability as a musician during the album. She makes pleasant exchanges between songs, jumping from the dreamscape of “Glimpse” to the popish “Make It Good” then leading it to a gentle piano accompaniment of “Unbeatable.” Another powerhouse of a song. It doesn’t give you the same emotion as in “Glimpse,” but it shows off Ruut’s maturity as an artist. She admits that there are rough patches, there is pain when growing, but even if things seem too hard, stay the course.

With the beautiful richness that comes with this album, it is hard to deny the fact that a mother of two has created this. Although she has had albums in the past, this is the one to put her one the map. This is a stunning, powerful, tear-jerking tale of her time off from music; of her struggles. It was created for her husband, for her children, for her mother-in-law, for those who are unsure of their futures. The motherly lyrics comfort and show through in the most subtle of ways. Ruut has surpassed, in my opinion, many mainstream female artist who are producing music today with her truthfulness, with her rawness, with her punch-in-the-guts lyrics. She touches base on the human condition, both our flaws and our excellencies, in a way that is seen rarely few and between. If you have yet to listen to ‘Glimpse’ then you are sorely missing out, my friend.

For more information about this artist and her latest album, check out http://www.ruutmusic.com

© Seven Magazine

Una Colada Porfavor!

Out of this world

Before jumping into the delicious beverage that we will enjoy as we talk in the native language of WRITER, lets take a second to acknowledge the wonderful midnight sky. Don’t be afraid. Step outside for a second . . . what? Night hasn’t fallen yet. I’ll wait here while it does. No rush.

Well, did you see that? Beautiful, isn’t it? Imagine being somewhere surrounded by nothing but stars. Infinite places to go, with no restraint. Sure, it’s just a ball of gas burning, somewhere . . . but what if that gas formed something AMAZING. This is what I recently came across. Something that I just fell in love with. A unique blend of gas that is suspended in space. I just had to feature this photograph as our June header. It’s called the Horsehead Nebula.

Photo Credit: NASA

It’s something about the colors (PINK!!! It’s my fav), to the shapes, to the numerous stars surrounding it; I am just mesmerized by this photo. It makes me want to jump onto a Virgin Galactic flight and carry my own portable Hubble camera and photograph the bejeezus out of it. Now, it would be awesome if one could own a Hubble camera or if the government would once again support our space program so that NASA can properly update the Hubble telescope, but that’s neither here nor there. Gladly, it works well enough to travel 1,500 light years away and take this amazing shot.

Señor una colada porfavor!

Photo Credit: Seven Magazine

I have a secret to tell you. I’m from Miami. Yes, Miami… Miami, Florida. Home to beautiful beaches, wonderful palm trees, destructive hurricanes and scandalous female drama. It’s also known as an extension of Cuba. I must say that I do enjoy most of the Cuban cuisine. Pastelitos, Vaca Frita, Tostadas, Empanada de picadillo and most of all… OH MYYYLAAANNTTAA I love that Cuban coffee. Señor!!! Oye! Ven aca!

If you’ve never had it before, then you are seriously missing out. I recently learned how to make it at home and it just doesn’t compare to flavor and texture unless a genuine Cuban makes it. Mas azucar porfavor. It’s the best wake up juice in the morning and a quick fire pick me up in the afternoon. I honestly think that the reason that there is sooo much drama in Miami is because of the caffeine that flows through the majority of the folks veins.

The smell smacks your senses into attention and once you feel that hot liquid touch your lips, the warmth flows through your body. It brings an alertness to every crevice in your body. If every writer has a muse, then I’m guessing that this is mine. Instantly, I am transformed into una escritora divina. I start thinking in another language and sometimes, the words are transferred onto pink and black. (I have pink paper…I told you I love the color!!) Muchas gracias Señor.

This got me thinking. What exactly is a writer other than a master of vocabulary? If in fact, you don’t feel that you have conquered your language, then read some more. Grab that dictionary and get to it! The great desideratum of a writer is to form a a fructuous collaboration with the written word. Fear not a verbose carom of providential serendipity, just ambuscade the nearest dictionary and figure out what this verbal judo is all about! (I used dictionary.com)

Not only would a big vocabulary affect the level of your writing. PAUSE for a second. If you have a large vocabulary, it helps the writer create a vast level of characters. It creates dimensions. PLAY. Now imagine the world you can create in another language.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a bilingual home. Spanish being my first language, even though now I don’t speak it so well. However, I can still read it. It has given me the opportunity to meet a variety of writers and really experience the world they were trying to create. Trust me when I tell you that the majority of the time, even the most academic translations DO NOT do an original piece justice. Just think of the transition of a book to a movie. Yeah… a lot like that!

I have promised myself to become some what fluent in a different language for each year that I am alive, starting this year. (I haven’t decided on the language yet, but I do see Rosetta Stone in my future.) As a writer, I owe the many characters that live in my head, the honor of living their lives to the fullest. The only way to do that, is for me to live vicariously for them. I can’t do that with all of them if I don’t speak their language. It is my duty to experience as much as I can in my lifetime in order to make each character believable to my readers. I strongly believe that diversity is what makes a good writer. What do you believe?

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Second Cup. . . why yes please.

Not one cup, but a Second Cup

I have an admission. First of all, let me say, that I had no intention of purposely walking into this location. Seriously! Do not doubt my dedication to my first love!?! This visit was purely consequential with what I was doing at the time and not that I wanted to step out on her, she means the world to me, but it was all about convenience. I know, it’s a horrible excuse. However she was there when I needed her, where as Starbucks was no where to be found. It meant nothing. Like, I understand this is not an excuse, but I needed a fix and Second Cup was there to quench my thirst. It seriously meant nothing!

© 2013 Seven Magazine

I was lost. Desperately needing a caffeine fix and well, I stumbled upon her. I decided, why not. It’s just a cup of coffee. Think of the moments when you need Starbucks, but the nearest place next to you is a Dunkin Donuts. What does an addict do? Do you go without caffeine for the next couple of hours and possibly kill someone one in traffic because you were missing your caffeine fix?? I think not!! You make a sane decision and save a life by drinking Dunkin until you find a Starbucks. America Runs on Dunkin is a horrible slogan. It should be America Accepts Dunkin as a Starbucks Replacement in Order to Save Lives!

Keeping this mentality, I hope that you understand my reluctance in possibly committing vehicular homicide. I was a responsible adult and I stopped at the first available caffeine source. I parked my car, walked up to the building and opened the door. Caffeine scent smacked my receptors and drew me in without hesitation. My eyes checked out the decor that reminded me of Central Perk from Friends, while my mouth savored in anticipation. The mood was LATTE! Now, you think that Starbucks has a complicated menu, THINK AGAIN MY FRIEND! Second Cup has an intricate menu ranging from coffees, lattes and others. I decided to go with a Vanilla Bean Latte AND OMG was it amazing. If you have one near you, check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Did I mention the price was right? It was about half the price of a Starbucks beverage and probably more delish! I still heart you Starbucks!

How Do I Kill You?

I was writing my first novel. As the story progressed, I realized that I hated my main character. Like, stick-a-rusted-razor-tooth-dagger-repeatedly-hacksaw-your-eye truly fully hated her. I then realized that I needed to get rid of her. It was time to plot her murder. It was then time to sit back and wonder, exactly how would she die?

How often have you found yourself in this conundrum? Exactly how do you kill a character? I thought about this almost obsessively. Let me clarify first, that these are ONLY ideas to help you murder a fictitious character and NOT a real human. I do not want this blog post to be evidence in a murder trial NOR do I want my name to flash on the screen and cause a Fox News exclusive on why blogs shouldn’t discuss character killings. I don’t want to spark a national debate on the infringement of the First Amendment and all that jazz. NO, I am merely sharing with you, my personal favs on how to get rid of FICTITIOUS characters that I cannot stand.

1) Poison – Think of Snow White and the apple, but not the coma apple. Make it a deadly apple, or a deadly cup of Starbucks. You can use a real poison (Google it) if your are writing a murder mystery or just make up some random concoction. Hucklevisa Mumble Berry is a good one. Make sure to mix with honey first, to get rid of that sour taste.

2) Fall – Nothing is better than making that pain in the butt character than to cause them pain. Stumbling to their death is the best. Maybe upon walking to the store, they trip on their shoe lace, stumble a couple of paces only to fall backward and then land on a upside down razor sharp ice skating boot that slices into their head and down the back of the neck until it severs their spinal cord killing them within minutes letting them reflect on all the misery they caused. So what if your story is centered in the summer? Maybe the ice skater was cleaning out the closet and the boot fell out into the street.

3) Car – Hit by a car, dragged by a car, rolled over by a car, car fell on their head, and even had a heart attack in the car. The possibilities are endless. Explore this one.

4) Eaten – Works very well if your working on a Sci Fi…but can be made real if you use a parasite or bug or a zombie. God I love zombies! OMG…what if you have a rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun who is high on bath salts??? Picture it for a second…. yup, hilarious!

5) Gun – Get more creative than this. I know you can. This is just sooo blah! Same as using a knife. Gun/knives are just a little over done. Nunchucks now THAT is a murder weapon! Have your character assassin randomly pop into a scene, cartwheel over to the pain in the butt character and nunchuck him/her to death! This also serves as reflection for you character to finally repent for his/her malicious ways as the rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun nunchucks chucks the life outta him/her. Sorry… I still think it’s hilarious! PICTURE IT!!

6) Turkey Leg – Picture this… Your characters are sitting down for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, Pop Pop is about to do the honors of slicing the turkey, when drunk Uncle Ted starts complaining about how he wanted do the honors and Pop Pop is too old to do it. Pop Pop looses his marbles, slices off the turkey leg and proceeds to beat Uncle Ted in the head chanting over and over again ‘Viagra is for duration not necessitation!”

7) Eye Pop – A what? Exactly! Make something up. It’s your world. It doesn’t have to be real, as long as you can verify it’s validity through your writing. This could be the most rare form of a venereal disease that your character contracted while being a jerk. Make it painful!

Whatever you come up with to kill your characters, remember to make it creative. You want something dramatic, something to make your reader go WTH just happened?? I say omit anything that you’ve ever read before and add your own demented idea. There’s nothing unbelievable about how you create your world, as long as you have the supporting words to invite the reader to the places you want to lead them.

May 12 is Mother’s Day, but you knew that already. What sort of things remind you of your Mom?

CotyCoty Poynter:

We’ve been ask to write about the things that remind us of our mothers for May, yet the more I think on the matter, the harder it is to choose just one thing. Even five things is a tough call. My mother has been one of the few reliable people throughout my life thus far. Between her and my grandmother, they both constantly surround me. Whether it is a certain country song that plays over a radio in some foreign location or a just a simple chocolate milkshake, I’m reminded of these woman in some way. Growing up, my grandma would pick my sister and I up from school while my mom and father were at work. When my mom got off she would come to pick us up, but not before grandma prepared me a chocolate milkshake, or two, paired with an egg sandwich just for being her grandson. Breakfast to dessert, she is with me. As for my mom, there are numerous things I can link her to. The amount thinking about it is almost overwhelming. Her and I went through some awful times together, but in those awful times we still laughed with each other. She has shown me what it takes to be strong, and unbeknownst to her, shown me how to use pen and paper. My mom is with me from sun up till sun down. I couldn’t think myself any luckier to have that. So here’s to you mom, the fights we’ve had, the tears we’ve shared, and to the laughs we loved. You’re greater than you’ll ever know.

YmeldaYmelda Ramirez:

Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class in college. The teacher wanted us to select a poem and use it as inspiration for our own piece. It had to resemble the style and format of the original. I wanted to choose a poet that no one else in my class was going to pick. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Walt Whitman were a few of the poets that were out of the question. A friend of mine suggested Pablo Neruda. I had NO CLUE who this guy was. He was from Chile and was a Spanish Poet so I knew that no one else would use him in our class. SOLD!
One night, I was writing in the kitchen, with my borrowed library book by Pablo Neruda and my mom walked by. She started reciting the poem that I was working on. “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.” I was in shock. I didn’t know my mom could read!!! I asked her how she knew that. She sat down and flipped through the book and started telling me how he was her teenage crush. She would stay up late reading his poetry and followed him the way I would stalk …um I mean… admire NYY Shortstop Derek Jeter. It turns out that she was a huge fan of Pablo Neruda and knew a lot of his poetry by heart. She even helped me with my assignment. We connected that night, like no other. My mother’s first language was Spanish and English never became a second for her. We always had a separation when it came to anything literary that I was interested in, until that night. A couple of years later, we went to a bookstore and I bought the book pictured above. On the subway ride home, we flipped through the book and read some of the pieces. I knew that there had to be a connection to my reading and writing, but I never thought it could be her. My mom is just as much of a fan of the literary world as I am. Now we share books back and forth and have conversations about it all the time. WHOO HOO MOM! =)

Water Angel(Signed)_ Raymond Hernandez:

This is my first contribution to 7TheMag. This month is a very special one for a lot of people for we celebrate Mothers Day in a couple of days. To commemorate this month I present you with this picture of The Angel Of The Waters located in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, NY. Mothers day for me always comes on a sour note. Sadly, I lost my mother on Mothers Day Sunday May 11th, 2003. To me she was my entire world, just as this photo is entitled, she was my “Protector”. I tell all my friends and family members or just anyone I’ve met that if you’re still lucky enough to have that wonderful person in your life known as your “Mother, Mom, Mami, …” or any other name you’d like to call her, you should cherish those moments every day. Don’t just take one day a year to show them how much you care for them and how much they mean to you, because TRUST ME, one day, when you least expect it, they may no longer be with you.

K. S. Pratt:

Writing about the woman who was one of my greatest friends and inspirations is a bit of a challenge for me. See, it’s been nearly ten years since she’s passed, every particle of life I experience reminds me of her in some way. Although her gracious presence no longer stalks the earth, I carry with me daily the many life lessons and values she’s ingrained in me. My mother taught me that in the middle of life’s storms, pain and suffering, to find solace in the little things. Because of her I find comfort in a stranger’s crooked smile, joy in a tranquil ocean gently washing over delicate sands, and a sense of peace gazing into the darkness at an enchanting star lit sky. I often miss her at times, but she is always with me. I am the fabric, and her spirit is intricately intertwined in the seams of my daily life, which helps me to keep it all together.  As a child, I often wondered why people would stop and stare when she entered a room. It wasn’t because she was famous or a super model, she possessed what the French call “Je ne sais quoi”, an elusive quality no human being could touch. I’m convinced she was of another world, sent to earth to spread light by making it a better place. My mother was a peacemaking, funny, kind hearted, and loving angel. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to know her.  She was my everything.


My mother has always had a playful spirit. She’s the one who always laughs the hardest and has this underlying sense of humor that you always find yourself laughing along with her. In my childhood, my siblings and I got into the habit of playing hide and seek in the dark. After my brother scaring me one to many times, my mom set me up in a white sheet with eye holes in it and coached me in what to do to scare him. Well that yelp of fear he gave upon seeing me helped mold one of my favorite childhood memories. That’s who my mom has always been for me. She’s supportive and creative and there to fight battles in her own unique ways. My mother has always played so many roles in my life. Mother, mentor, protecter, friend, doctor, therapist, cheerleader, travel agent, and so much more. She’s always been there for me and I grew up idolizing her. I’ve always admired her strength and ability to pull us through despite adversity. She’s always been a hero in my eyes. Now that my I’ve donned the cap of mother, I’ve learned to further appreciate her. As I raise my children I reflect on the mother she was for me. Everyday I strive to be the same type of mother for my children that she’s been for me. She’s always been there and is the biggest constant I’ve had in my life.

*This months Header photo is Angel Of The Park by Ray Hernandez

© 2013 Seven Magazine