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St. Paul grad enters songwriting competition

Cary Ashby • Aug 5, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Daniel Ruffing has been playing piano for 10 years.

“It gives you something to do when you’re bored. You can always sit around and play,” said the 2017 St. Paul High School graduate and son of Tom and Tina.

Ruffing was involved in nearly every musical ensemble that St. Paul offered. He played baritone in the concert, marching and pep bands and the pit orchestra. In the jazz band and choir, Ruffing played piano.

Late in his junior year started writing instrumental songs on the piano.

“The first were bare bones. I was just experimenting, but my family liked them,” said Ruffing, who describes his music as a style similar to movie soundtracks.

Recently, the pianist released the song “Journey” through CD Baby, which distributes digital downloads. 

“It has received quite a bit of praise. Someone reached out to me and wanted to feature it on their website,” Ruffing said.

“Journey” has been entered into the Independent Music Awards — and Ruffing is looking for votes. The voting link is https://fans.independentmusicawards.com/artists//daniel-ruffing.

“This is a nominee round. If I get enough votes, I get to go to the awards ceremony, where they announce all the awards,” Ruffing said.

The musician considers “Journey” a more complete composition than his other songs. He used 15 different “instruments” on his software to orchestrate his piano performance.

Another song, “Labyrinth,” was honored in the 2016 International Songwriting Competition.

“It was 17th worldwide and 15th in the instrumental category,” said Ruffing, who was inspired by a “moving melody” he heard at a piano recital.

For the last eight years, Norwalk resident Penny Seward has been Ruffing’s piano teacher.

“She has helped me be more confident as a musician,” Ruffing said.

The St. Paul graduate’s preferred musical genres are jazz and Broadway.

“The songs are different than what’s on the radio today. They tell stories,” he said.

Ruffing will study arts management and entrepreneurship at Baldwin Wallace University.

“My main goal in life is to write songs for Broadway musicals,” he said.

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