Working with a rotating roster of session musicians, Ru has released two albums through Dawn Raid Entertainment, recorded hit songs with the likes of Brotha D and The Horsemen Family, toured nationally and performed at major festivals like Raggamuffin.
A Cook Islander, Ru was born in Otara, South Auckland. Raised on a diet of Bob Marley songs, he grew up between New Zealand and Palmerston, a small outer island of Rarotonga. While that tropical paradise informs the backbone of his sound, the content and tone of his music was informed by a tough upbringing. "We grew up the hard way, and I thought I didn't want the same for my kids," he says.
Picking up the ukulele in 2000, Ru began to dream of forming a band. Inspired, he enrolled in a tertiary course to learn the fundamentals of bass, guitar, drums, keyboards and vocal training. After completing the course he went on to do papers in contemporary music, graduating in 2005. "After the course was finished, I set my sights of uplifting the nation with my irie sound, and Sweet & Irie was born that day," Ru says.
In 2006 he wrote, recorded and released 'Ban The Burn', an anti crystal meth song. Self-funding and directing a music video for it, his clip received play on C4. Ru brokered the buzz from this into a meeting with Dawn Raid Entertainment, leading to him appearing on Brotha D's 2007 single 'Take It Out South' and The Horseman Family's gold sales certified 2009 single 'Feels Like Magic'.
Recorded at Dawn Raid's in-house studio, Localise It debuted at No.16 on the NZ album charts.
After signing to Dawn Raid Entertainment, Ru in 2009 released Sweet & Irie's debut album Localise It. Recorded at Dawn Raid's in-house studio, Localise It debuted at No.16 on the NZ album charts. Reviews were mixed. NZ Musician magazine described it as “a strong and coherent … album [that] disappointingly loses its focus in the last third," and niceup.org.nz called it “an album full of positive reggae vibrations." However, coupled with a busy touring schedule and several key television appearances, it helped Sweet & Irie win the Fuemana Most Promising New Act category at the Pacific Music Awards.
In 2010 Sweet & Irie performed at the Raggamuffin Reggae Festival in Rotorua, sharing the stage with international music stars like Shaggy, Lauryn Hill, Sly And Robbie, Steel Pulse and Sean Kingston.
Following the promotion and touring of Localise It, Ru returned to Rarotonga to reconnect with its local musical community and musical traditions. Over the next three years he recorded towards Sweet & Irie's second album Irie Inspiration. Along the way he found time to collaborate with Rarotongan musical royalty Brother Love.
In 2012 Ru released Irie Inspiration, again released through Dawn Raid Entertainment. Muzic.net.nz described Irie Inspiration as “a must have album for summer" and praised the manner in which it combined one-drop reggae rhythms with ukulele and other traditional Rarotongan musical motifs. After the release of Irie Inspiration, Sweet & Irie continued to perform nationally on the local reggae festival circuit. Ru and Sweet & Irie remain active in both the recording studio and on stage.
Edward Ru - vocals, production, composition
While the media focus is kept on Edward Ru, Sweet & Irie is a nine-piece band made up of a floating roster of session players drawn from auditions.
Edward Ru might have dreadlocks and outwardly look like a Rastafarian, but he doesn't actually practise that faith, preferring the Christian bible. He also refuses to use smoking references or curse words in his music.