Featured Member: Deric Ruttan

Deric Ruttan is a Grammy-nominated, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and a Canadian country music artist.  The writer of multiple #1 country songs, Deric was raised just outside Bracebridge, Ontario, on land where his great grandfather made moonshine in the 1930’s.  It was the perfect backdrop for the singer/songwriter, who grew up listening to everything from CCR to Gordon Lightfoot to Johnny Cash. 

After touring with several country bar bands, Deric moved to Nashville, where his unique outlook and delivery attracted the attention and praise of songwriters Don Schlitz, Steve Earle, and Steve Bogard.  Deric has had over 70 songs recorded by other artists, including cuts by Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Justin Moore and David Nail to name a few.  Bentley’s chart-toppers “What Was I Thinkin’”, (Billboard #1), and “Lot Of Leavin’ Left To Do” (Radio & Records #2) are Ruttan co-writes, as are the Eric Church hits,  “Guys Like Me” and “Hell On The Heart” (Mediabase #8).  Since signing with THiS Music/Warner Chappell, Deric’s songwriting star has continued to rise.  In November 2013, he celebrated a multi-week #1 song when “Mine Would Be You”, recorded by country superstar and The Voice judge Blake Shelton, was a three-week number one (Billboard) for the artist.  “Mine Would Be You” was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song, and an ACM Award for Song Of The Year.  In June 2016 Deric celebrated his second Blake Shelton #1 hit with the introspective “Came Here To Forget”. 

In July 2016, MCA Nashville’s David Nail took the Ruttan summer anthem “Night’s On Fire” to #10 on the Mediabase chart, and in April of 2017 Deric celebrated his 4th #1 country single when Jason Aldean took his song “Any Ol’ Barstool” to the top of both the Billboard and Mediabase country charts.  An ASCAP (8x), SOCAN (10x), CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) (2x), and CMAO (Country Music Association Of Ontario) (5x) award winner, Deric has headlined 4 of his own coast-to-coast tours in Canada, where he has had 11 Top 10 singles as an artist, and 2 #1 videos on CMT.  He is currently in the studio recording music for a new EP, to be released on his own independent label, Black T Records.  He lives just outside Nashville, TN with his wife Margaret.

What inspires you to create music?

Fear of poverty.  No, but seriously…the fact that I have a family to support is my inspiration to work everyday writing songs, recording songs, and trying to get songs recorded. For me, inspiration shows up when I do.  You have to show up, inspired or not, and get to work.  Hopefully, inspiration will show up at some point during the process.

Do you have a process to your songwriting or when creating music?

My preferred method is to start with a title that inspires me. Also, coffee. Lots of coffee.  Then, I like to kind of sketch out a storyline of how I see the song unfolding – not literally sketch it out, but have a general idea of how the song is going to go.  This can be in my head if writing alone or something I talk through with a co-writer.  After I have an idea and a general outline that I’m excited about, I pick up a guitar and get to work on melody.

How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

This is a hard question to answer…not sure when the “start” was…but as far as my professional songwriting career goes, I signed my first publishing deal in Nashville in 1996 – a year and a half after moving here.  Music row veteran Jerry Crutchfield signed me to my first publishing deal and paid me to write songs.  He was the first person here to pay me to create.

Do you write for other recording/performing artists?


Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?

I’ve certainly written some pop-leaning country songs, but most of my activity (as far as songs I’ve written that have been recorded by others), have been pretty mainstream county sounding songs.

What is the most important “tool” you need when creating, eg. GarageBand, google docs, your cell phone, Pro Tools, or a pad of paper?

Cell phone (only because that’s where I write down my titles and ideas), guitar, lap top, online rhyming dictionary.  In that order. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

If the music community could do one thing better what would it be?

Be more united when it comes to facing down those who seek to use our content for free (streaming services, for example).  If we (labels, publishers, artists, songwriters) were better at speaking in one clear, united voice, it would be a great thing.

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Note: The Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

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