Residents of Burslem were treated to a star performance on Tuesday evening when local singer Ruby Rich took to the streets to put on a very special gig.
Talented Kelly Bates – the woman behind Ruby Rich – started out life as a dancer, but has been performing as Ruby for the past nine years.
The 38-year-old, from Sneyd Green, wanted to do something special for a lady she cares for who, like many others, is isolating at home because of the current UK lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And so the singer took her microphone and speakers and headed to Broadhurst Street in Burslem to put on the show.
Kelly said: “I’ve been a performer all my life. I sing locally and do gigs as a solo artist and they’ve all obviously been cancelled under current circumstances.
“It wasn’t about me putting on a show for myself, even though I do miss performing. It was about entertaining this one person and then the whole street joined in and I have to admit it felt good to perform again.
“It was lovely to raise people’s spirits during such a tough time.”
Kelly decided she wanted to do the show when a lady that she cares for – her daughter’s boyfriend’s mum – who wanted to see her perform.
She added: “She wanted to hear me sing so I decided to go and do it in front of her house. I didn’t know how big it would get.”
But her voice soon attracted the attention of the whole road – with people coming out into the sunshine to listen.
She added: “It really raised people’s spirits. I told everyone to keep dancing and make it a part of their daily exercise.
“People were watching from their windows and dancing in their gardens with a drink – even cars and dog walkers were stopping to take pictures and videos.”
But it was very important to Kelly that everyone kept their distance and stayed safe for the 45 minute set – during which she sang Ska and Reggae tunes.
She said: “There must have been around 70 people there – and everyone was following the rules.
“Throughout my set I kept telling people to stay safe and keep their distances.
“The sun was shining and everyone was having a great time.”
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Kelly gigs when she can, but also owns the Rockin Loft Dance Studio in Hanley – as well as teaching dance to children in local schools.
She also posts regular videos to the Ruby Rich Facebook page – including covers of popular songs recorded from her own home during the current lockdown.
She said: “There’s still a huge buzz around the performance. I’d love to do more shows but only if I could get it cleared by the police and the council.
“I don’t want to be breaking any rules and people’s safety is obviously a priority.”
You can see more of Ruby Rich’s performances on her Facebook page here – and look out for her on a street near you!
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