Musical prowess, cultural advocacy, charity, academic excellence all in one

The biblical Ruth, the perfect epitome of loyalty, was a foreigner in a strange land. Yet, with her devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, after her husband’s passing, she came to live in and love the land of Israel, the land of Naomi’s birth.

Young Rebecca Ruth Resuello, in a similar fashion, was born from migrant parents, both of whom eventually came to love the province of Cagayan and the city of Tuguegarao, just as their daughter after them.

Ruth’s father’s loyalty to Christ is what led him to Tuguegarao to do missionary church building in 1989, the same city where he later met his wife in 1991. Thereafter, Ruth was born and raised in Tuguegarao City filled with God’s grace, and it is with this grace that Ruth grew up into the utterly talented and bright, yet charitable woman she is now.

She is music, music is her

As a musician and singer, Ruth Lee Resuello, as she is known in the industry, composed the very first Ibanag song, entitled “Spotlight”, to be released under Warner Music Philippines, which was featured on and curated in an official editorial playlist by Spotify together with international artists.

In 2015, Ruth’s first Christmas single “Maligayang Pasko” was filmed at Star City in Metro Manila, and was featured on ABS-CBN GLOBAL (also known as TFC, The Filipino Channel) from 2015 to 2020, reaching audiences in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe. This marked a significant milestone in her music career, extending her influence on a global scale.

Her talent as a songwriter garnered international recognition when she emerged victorious in the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s Freedom Song Writing Competition (based in Germany), further amplifying her impact on the music industry. Additionally, her widespread presence in the media landscape includes appearances on TV shows such as Unang Hirit, GMA International, GMA Pinoy TV, and Life TV, underscoring the broad appeal of her musical artistry to diverse audiences.

Ruth’s acclaim extended to the realm of print and online news media, with her work being featured in esteemed publications such as Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard, BusinessMirror, PhilStar, and Rappler, further solidifying her position as a luminary in the music scene.

Since 2020, she has been producing songs while incorporating Ilocano and Ibanag lines as part of the advocacy of her record label. She launched her Pinoy pop artist name “SIK4M1” which bears the mission to promote four local languages in the northern Luzon closest to her heart— Ilocano, Ibanag, Itawit, and Pangasinense.

Rebecca Ruth Resuello, a pharmacist, song writer and cultural advocate from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (Photo courtesy of Ruth Resuello)

Her exceptional talent as a songwriter and arranger has been honed further through mentorship by distinguished industry figures, including Davey Langit, Reese Lansangam, Ebe Dancel, Noel Cabangon, and Jungee Marcelo (composer of ABS CBN).

One of her various musical projects, a duo named Letrang Norte, clinched the championship title in the Cultural Center of the Philippines National Songwriting Competition in 2021, marking a significant milestone in her collaborative musical journey.

Letrang Norte’s stature soared as they earned prestigious nominations in the Awit Awards, representing the rich musical heritage of northern Luzon. Their nominations alongside Filipino icons such as Ben&Ben, KZ Tandingan, Rico Blanco, and December Avenue across categories such as Best Pop Recording, Best Alternative Recording, Best Engineered Recording, Best Group Recording Artist, People’s Favorite Song, and Best World Music Recording, underscored their formidable presence in the music industry.

Rebecca Ruth Resuello receives recognition from the Awit Awards. (Photo courtesy of Ruth Resuello)

Before their nomination, Ruth served as a judge during the 2021 Awit Awards, further cementing her influence and expertise within the music community. She also played a music producer role in the success of the first champion of the Amianan Pop festival, founded by Ryan Cayabyab, Ebe Dancel, and Noel Cabangon.

Most recently, she achieved another milestone as her profile was featured in a New York Time Square Billboard alongside artists from Warner Music and her label Northern Root Records, establishing a groundbreaking legacy as the first record label representing Cagayan and northern Luzon in the international music scene, marking a significant achievement in her skyrocketing career.

Last March 19, Ruth and her artists from Northern Root Records made history by delivering a captivating performance at the esteemed Wishbus 107.5. This groundbreaking event marked the debut of the first artist collective from Cagayan, showcasing the region’s exceptional musical talents on a prominent platform for the very first time.

Rebecca Ruth Resuello performs during the Amianan Pop Festival. (photo courtesy of Ruth Resuello)

More than just a record label

Ruth can be best described not only as a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and exquisite singer but also as one who has pioneered the establishment of the first consistently rising record production label in Tuguegarao City.

As the visionary founder and CEO of Northern Root Records, Ruth focuses on promoting original music by local artists from northern Luzon. More significantly, as a staunch cultural advocate and preserver of indigenous identity, she emphasizes the incorporation of local languages, including Ibanag, Itawit, and Ilocano in the songs she produces while providing worldwide exposure by releasing them under an international record label.

Northern Root Records, thus, also partners with international record label connections such as WishBus107.5, Myx Music, and MTV to further promote local artists and songs.

During the pandemic, Northern Root Records garnered attention from major labels such as Viva Records and Warner Music, impressed by her innovative artist management and promotion strategies as a small independent record label. Thereafter, Ruth’s company has now become a sub-label of the international record company, Warner Music Philippines.

Under the management of Northern Root Records, a total of three artists in Canada, two in the USA, five in the southern Philippines, and eleven in Cagayan Valley are being nurtured. Two viral bands have amassed an impressive 10 million streams on Spotify and six million views on YouTube music, signaling the label’s success in fostering diverse musical talents.

The vision and mission of Northern Root Records encompass the elevation of artists to represent Cagayano music in the mainstream music industry while advocating for the appreciation, value, and promotion of local languages not only in the Philippines but also in the international music scene. The label is dedicated to giving its utmost effort to transform this vision into a tangible reality, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse musical landscape.

Beyond being a label, Northern Root Records also serves as a music tutorial center, reflecting Ruth’s original vision for the company, their guiding principle being the transfer of the passion for music to the next generations.

The label’s mission, while deeply rooted in preserving cultural heritage and nurturing talent, also aids in contributing to the community’s growth and well-being through music. The company achieves this through several charitable initiatives.

One is conducting free music classes in partnership with the Handog Sa Mag-aaral Program, an advocacy project of Ruth’s father, Pastor Ross Resuello, for selected elementary schools. Ruth managed to donate 100 percent of album profits to purchase school supplies for children and conduct music lessons with her team. Northern Root Records also donates one guitar to every elementary school they visit and perform for all the recipients of the Handog sa Mag-aaral Program. Ruth also gives scholarships to deserving music students at her music center, for them to use in church.

The students that Rebecca Ruth Resuello trains in music. (Photo courtesy of Ruth Resuello)

Sharing and caring

Despite overflowing with talent, Ruth never fails to selflessly share everything she has learned with deserving youngsters. She has mentored the first music school-produced artists and these deserving students are already on Spotify. Now, she’s building the first kid band named “Wagi”, the name of which means victorious in Tagalog or sibling in ibanag.

Apart from nurturing other aspiring young artists, Ruth also emphasizes the empowerment of women in the music industry, promoting gender equality and providing opportunities for aspiring female musicians and professionals.

She continues to demonstrate her commitment to community service and philanthropy through her involvement in rescue operations during calamities and fundraising efforts using music as a powerful tool for positive change.

In 2017, Ruth organized a momentous event at CSU Andrews Campus, offering free drug testing to 1000 individuals in collaboration with the DOH, Victory Tuguegarao, and Pastor Ross. (This was when President Duterte required students to undergo mandatory drug testing.) This initiative underscored her commitment to public welfare and community service, demonstrating her proactive approach to addressing pressing social issues through collaborative efforts.

In November 2020, during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, she orchestrated the sale of her compilation album titled “Anthem of Hope,” consisting of her seven original inspirational songs. The proceeds from this album enabled her to raise 350,000 pesos worth of goods to aid those affected by the calamity. Her resourcefulness and dedication to helping others through her music stands as an example worth emulating by others.

In December 2020, she used 100 percent of her cash prize as one of the top three finalists of the Department of Health Regional songwriting competition to purchase Christmas Gifts for Covid-19 patients.

Furthermore, in the same month, Ruth organized an online fundraising concert to support typhoon victims in Visayas. Her initiative and leadership in leveraging music to make a difference in the lives of those in need reflects her unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes.

Ruth’s ongoing dedication to using her music and leadership to positively impact communities and provide aid during times of crisis embodies her inspiring spirit and compassionate nature, setting a powerful example for others to follow.

The beneficiaries of the Handog Mag-aaral project initiated by Rebecca Ruth Resuello. (Photo courtesy of Ruth Resuello)

Beyond music and advocacy

In addition to her outstanding accomplishments in the music industry, Ruth is a registered pharmacist, having attained her Doctor of Pharmacy degree with Distinction from Centro Escolar University. Her expertise extends beyond the classroom as she also serves as a part-time professor at Saint Paul University Philippines (SPUP), where she imparts knowledge on pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics to aspiring pharmacists.

Her dedication to the field of pharmacy is further demonstrated through her role as a clinical researcher. Two of her research endeavors were showcased during the Philippine Pharmacist National Convention, underscoring the impact of her contributions to the industry. Additionally, she was invited as one of three research presenters at a prestigious event held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, highlighting the recognition her work has garnered within the professional community.

Ruth’s commitment to academic excellence and mentorship is evident in her fervent desire to guide her department toward achieving a top-performing student. Her efforts have yielded significant results, as she proudly mentors the very first top-notcher of the Pharmacy Department of SPUP and now with three more successful top-notchers. Through her multifaceted involvement in academia and clinical research, Ruth continues to leave an indelible mark in the field of pharmacy, inspiring and shaping future pharmacists with her expertise and passion in the academe.

They say that music and science cannot work together and that one cannot pursue both a career and a passion. However, Ruth defies these notions, proving that nothing is impossible. Her ability to tread the paths of music and science simultaneously exemplifies the harmonious coexistence of diverse passions.

Ruth Lee Resuello stands as an inspiration, breaking barriers in the music industry and making a significant impact on the northern Luzon community through her dedication to music, cultural preservation, and health science education as a true-blooded daughter of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, in the Valley of the north. (OTB/JKC/PIA Region 2)

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