The two have built on their collaborative relationship during their separate pursuits to succeed as artists.
Ruben Young and Justine Tyrell have made it through their own personal struggles on their path to success, and they are committed to growing the music scene in Calgary for other emerging artists.
In the summer of 2014, recently graduated Young introduced himself to the city through his inaugural 50 Days YYC campaign - an initiative “bringing the soulful, crowd provoking artist’s talent into the Calgary music scene for 50 straight days of live and online performances.” Out of 50, Tyrell made 10 appearances while balancing her new job as the Calgary Stampeder’s anthem singer.
Flash back to 2008 Canadian Idol auditions. As Young made it through, was flown off to Toronto and made it to the top 50 – Tyrell was left in Calgary due to her struggle with stage fright during her audition. She has the voice, but lacked the presence in her early years. She decided to use Idol as learning experience, and it was her fuel to come back bigger and stronger.
In their success comes great risk. Young has a finance degree, and he understands it’s probably “scary” for those supporting him to watch him pursue music in an oil and gas town. Although Tyrell feels so “full in other ways,” pursuing music in this corporate town really means risking security, and throwing the stability of a consistent paycheque out the window. It’s in the process of balancing out for these two, but they decided to go “all in” regardless of the risk.
On the opposite end – Young’s lack of experience and basic training was second to his charisma, determination and bold stage presence. Young’s never struggled with performing in front of a crowd, but he admits he didn’t even know what “pitch” was. By 2011, Justine had started singing again, after making “thousands of videos in her basement” and was starting to gig around the city. By 2012, she was named as one of the 25 cultural ambassadors for movement of music in Calgary.
Tyrell is currently balancing her gala and event performances with the pre-production responsibilities of recording her first album with her boyfriend and guitar player, Taylor Cullen. Young is working to write, create and is in the midst of developing projects to showcase Calgary’s talent in a new, strategic and opportunistic way. He’s also a do-gooder like Tyrell, as the ambassador for The Big Give Project, which levels the playing field for Calgary student athletes in need.
Young, determined to find his way in the corporate finance world, had shelved music as just a hobby – the perfect reason to throw a party, and “make girls think he was cooler than he actually was.” It wasn’t until a semester lost in Prague, Czech Republic that he became focused on making his passion for music his business.
As change makers and performers – it’s safe to say these two aren’t going to be quiet any time soon.
They decided to team up for a YouTube video in March of 2012. Their acoustic rendition of Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s track “Stay” has reached over 40,000 hits – and has forever associated them together within Calgary’s growing music scene.
ARTISTS. GO GETTERS. “FEELIN’ LUCKY”.
R U B E N YO U N G + JUSTINE TYRELL 22, 24
Issue two of Calgary's lifestyle magazine.