Ruby Tuesday Romero (@selfdoubttt) is a local singer, songwriter, and survivor who brings joy to thousands of riders who pass through our Westlake light rail station.
This week Sound Transit, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, kicked off a new busking pilot program with a goal to bring more joy to our riders just in time for the holiday season - and to make our stations more welcoming and enjoyable.
I talked with Ruby about her love for music and how it's been a part of her life.
"I've been into music pretty much my whole life since I was seven. For me, it's a way to connect with people on a different level."
Your story is about strength and survival but also hopes and dreams, yeah?
"Yes. I was going through a lot of stuff, domestic violence, and I was homeless for a while, so music has been my savior. It's helped me through my depression and has been there during some tough times."
How did you get into busking?
"I started busking in 2017. A friend who is a busker asked me if I wanted to go with him to see what it was all about. I love that I could tell my stories to all these people and maybe be that moment of joy in their lives."
How has it been busking downtown?
"When I first started busking, I played downtown, and I knew a lot of people in the downtown area. Now, it's a lot of different faces, but the systemic issues that cause homelessness are still there.
I know their struggles because I've been there, so I try to give back when I can - like delivering food to people who are homeless. I was also elected to join the KCRHA - King County Regional Homelessness Authority's CoC Board/Advisory Committee. We help delegate funds to programs, oversee data collection, set metrics, and advocate against harmful policy and for more services in places like White Center, where I was homeless."
How is it busking at the Sound Transit stations?
"I like it. I like the fact that there are these 'stars' to let you know that it's okay to be there. I also like that I can take light rail or transit to my gigs since I don't own a car."
Do you have any good busking stories?
"I have this raccoon buddy, not a real one, by the way, in my wooden tips box. People think he's a dog or a rat since it's kind of small. It's kind of funny how people react."
You can listen to some of Ruby's music, which you can also find under the name selfdoubt music, at SoundCloud.com/selfdoubttt.
The busker program will bring extra energy and joy to nearly 10,000 riders who pass through Westlake every weekday and serve as a model for expanding busking opportunities to other stations.
While this pilot will showcase performers at Westlake between 4-6 p.m. on weekdays, buskers are welcome there at other times and at all our stations.
There’s no need to sign up for anything. Just follow these guidelines.
And if you’ve got a larger group who wants to perform, tell us more about it and we’ll get back to you quickly!