The Rua- a Family on the Road

Anna Weigel, Guest Writer from The Emery at Huron High School

These international recording artists have an unusual story about how they met; they didn’t. The Rua of Windsor, England have known each other all their lives- they’re siblings. Alanna, Jonathan and Roseanna Brown have been playing music for a long time (Roseanna even has a degree in Music from Royal Holloway). All three are classically trained: Jonathan plays the violin, Alanna plays the piano and Roseanna plays the guitar. They all sing, but Roseanna is the lead.

One of the things that sets The Rua apart is the violin; whenever people see them setting up, their violin attracts their interest and helps showcase their Irish roots.

“When people see the violin, they think of classical music,” Jonathan said. “But I think it should be used a lot more in pop; you can do a lot with string instruments in pop music. Some of the best pop songs have strings.”

One of the other unique things about The Rua is that all three siblings have been in at least one Harry Potter movie as an extra. Alanna was a Gryffindor in four of the movies, Roseanna was a Slytherin in three and Jonathan was a Hufflepuff in one. They have also appeared in other movies, such as Stormbreaker, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Thor: the Dark World. A few of the things they liked the most about being in these movies was seeing the behind the scenes work as well as seeing and meeting cool people. 

Photo courtesy of The Rua

The Rua use their past experiences to their advantage; when filming their video for “Without You”, which was a one-shot, the director, who shot Taylor Swift’s “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” music video in the same style, told the group that it wouldn’t have been possible to film the video that way if they didn’t already know all the “stage lingo”. The competitions and acting experiences from their youth have helped them be more comfortable performing for an audience and creating a better stage presence.

“Because it’s the three of us getting up on stage, it’s a bit better than the competitions,” Alanna said.

People compare The Rua to many different artists, such as Fleetwood Mac and The Corrs, a group popular in England. The Rua themselves refer to their style as a mix between pop, folk and rock. All three siblings are co-writers of their songs, and each one has a special meaning.

“Music is like therapy,” Jonathan said. “Once you write it, it’s just done. A lot of the songs now have a different meaning than when we wrote them. A lot of the time, we don’t like to say what they mean, because we like people to get their own interpretation. It’s good that even though the years have changed, the songs are still relatable to us.”

The Rua have had an impact on the people who listen to them.

“Someone told us what they’d been through and connected [one of our songs] to themselves,” Jonathan said. “I’ve heard of that happening to some of the bigger bands but I never thought that would happen to us.”

While some people may think being in a band with your siblings may lead to more conflicts. However, Alanna believes the opposite.

“Being siblings you’re more willing to say things than you would be with friends,” she said. “If Jonathan is annoying me, I’m more willing to say ‘stop doing that’ to him rather than one of my friends.”

For being siblings, these bandmates get along better than one would expect.

“Friends hold grudges,” Jonathan added. “When it’s family, you forget about bickering a few seconds later.”

Apart from performing at a stadium for the first time in Omaha, Nebraska, alongside Train and Parachute one of The Rua’s favorite concerts was here in Michigan; Saginaw to be specific.

“It was one of the first places we got our lyrics sung back at us,” Jonathan said. “That was cool.”

The Rua recently sang on a Southwest flight from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California.

“We literally had a captive audience,” Jonathan joked. “They couldn’t leave the plane!”

Although the group shares a house in Windsor, England, they really enjoy touring in the United States. They said there is a good positive energy, and people are more receptive to new music. The thing they miss most about England is their dog. They are always more appreciative of their home when they come back to it.

The siblings of Rua are just that- siblings.

“I see us as siblings who just happen to be in a band together,” Jonathan said. “Family came first and we’ve always kinda played music together.”