Ruby Amanfu and Sam Ashworth
Words & Music at Home
Both Ruby Amanfu and Sam Ashworth are accomplished recording artists and songwriters individually, but together they are a musical power couple. Friends since 2006 and married in 2017, they regularly collaborate in songwriting, including on H.E.R.’s hit single “Hard Place,” which earned Grammy nominations in 2019 for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
“Once we came together as a couple, it just grew,” Amanfu says about their collaborative relationship. “It’s like a code that has been cracked, and I feel like it has propelled us, and now people are reaching out to write with us together.”
A native of Ghana, Amanfu moved to Nashville with her family just before she turned three. By age five, she was making up tunes and considered herself a songwriter. While still in high school, she recorded her first album, and after study at Berklee College of Music and Belmont University, she went on to establish herself in an astonishing variety of creative endeavors: solo artist, duo partner, a cappella group member, backup singer (including for Beyoncé and Jack White), songwriter, model, and actor.
Ashworth, the son of Grammy-winning producer Charlie Peacock, was born in California and moved to Nashville at age nine. Influenced by his father’s career, he developed early skills as a singer, songwriter, and musician, and by age sixteen, he’d written a song that appeared on a 1997 platinum-selling album by Christian rock band Sixpence None the Richer. Seven years later, he received his first Grammy nomination for co-producing a Michael W. Smith album. He has released one album and two EPs as an artist, and his songwriting spans the pop, R&B, folk, and country genres. In 2021, he and co-writer Leslie Odom Jr. were nominated for an Academy Award for the R&B ballad, “Speak Now,” which Odom sang for the film One Night in Miami.
Amanfu and Ashworth each have lengthy lists of collaborators, but they recognize that they have a special chemistry. “When I say ‘better together,’ I really believe it,” says Amanfu. “I believe we’re better together.” She adds that she and Ashworth are equally driven by the desire to write “something that’s beautiful and true. That’s truly at his core, and that’s truly at my core.”
Ashworth says he always asks himself the same questions in songwriting sessions: “What’s the purpose of this song? Why should this song get the chance to live?” He adds: “At the end of the day, I want to feel that I’m a part of putting more good out into the world.”
SONGS TO CHECK OUT:
“Good to Be Here (Ashworth)
“Hard Place” (H.E.R.)
“How Beautiful You Are” (Amanfu)
“Love Interruption” (Jack White and Amanfu)
“Only There in Dreams” (Ashworth)
“Our Love” (Amanfu)
“Speak Now” (Leslie Odom Jr.)