He’s the charismatic runner-up of ‘X Factor’ 2011, the man who earlier this year walked away with a mirrorball trophy as the champion of ‘Dancing With The Stars’, who’s just been signed up to appear on ‘Home And Away’ and whose debut single recently scored a platinum accreditation. Johnny Ruffo is seemingly having the ride of his life.
With his new single ‘Take It Home’ now doing the rounds, we decided it was time for another natter with the affable Sydney-based star and he starts by telling us that never in a million years did he anticipate experiencing such success with ‘On Top’.
“Oh it’s so good,” he exclaims. “I had no idea what to expect with the first single and I was very fortunate to have a platinum selling debut. It was very cheeky. We had no intention of it being derogatory at all – we just wanted to have a bit of fun with it. We thought that it would be cheeky and people would get that it was all a bit of fun. I guess I was just grateful to have a single on radio.
“But yes, it’s done quite well, so hopefully we can have the same sort of success with the second one. The second one’s not quite as cheeky. It’s a little bit cheeky, but not as cheeky.”
Since ‘On Top’ was released, Johnny has headed back to where it all began for him (not concreting in Perth… no) but to ‘The X Factor’, where he’s been providing support for this year’s contestants and chewing up a bit more screen time.
“Being able to get back to where it all began and help the contestants out this year and also to put my hands into a little bit of hosting behind the scenes backstage has been really great. It’s always good to be able to keep yourself out there and keep yourself current and happening,” he tells us. “From that, other things have come forth including ‘Home And Away’, so it’s been a great journey.”
We ask him if it was always his ambition to become Australia’s next quadruple threat; singer, dancer, actor… concreter.
“Hopefully I don’t have to do TOO much concreting anymore, but it’s always been a dream of mine to be a triple threat as people call it,” he admits. “I just love being involved in entertainment and the arts. And that’s why I work so hard… because there are thousands of people out there who’d kill to have these opportunities, so I don’t take it for granted at all and I continue to work hard and will continue to work hard as long as these opportunities are around.”
One issue we did want to raise with Johnny this time around was his kitschy ‘McDonald’s’ promotional video on board a boat on Sydney Harbour.
“It’s supposed to be a joke, you know what I mean? People aren’t supposed to take it seriously,” Johnny admits. “It’s a bit of fun and a bit of promo for McDonalds, so hopefully people see the joke in it.”
So there’s no hope of seeing ‘Gettin’ Serious’ as single No.3 then?
“Definitely no single No.3 for that, no. It’s all in good fun and obviously it’s a bit of fun for McDonalds, but I don’t think I’ll be having a career in music videos for McDonalds.”
Onto the new single, then. ‘Take It Home’ is another fun, frothy dance/pop track, co-penned with the boys from DNA. As Johnny’s mentioned previously, it’s a little less cheeky than his debut.
“This one’s just about having fun,” Johnny reveals. “I guess when you’re at a club, you like to have fun and party and what not, but nobody likes when you have to go home. So I guess it’s about taking the party home and carrying on for the rest of the night.”
And not just the party, seemingly, that Johnny’s taking home. (see the official video, below).
“There may be some beautiful young women who accompany you with the party on the way home…!?”
Heading out to the clubs is something Mister Ruffo admits he doesn’t do a lot of these days, not just because of his hectic work schedule, but also because he’s now firmly affixed in the public eye.
“It is quite hard,” he tells us. “You never know – a lot of people have ulterior motives and you never know who’s genuine and who’s not, so it is quite hard to meet people. But to be honest, I work so often I don’t go out as much as I’d like to. So I’m just going to have to keep my eye out for a good girlfriend when the opportunity pops up. No pun intended.”
Johnny describes the DNA boys’ material as a “good pop sound”, but he warns that by the time the next single comes around, things may be stylistically a little different.
“With the next single, I’m probably going to branch out and be a little bit more musically creative. But who knows what will happen. I’m very excited to continue my music and continue releasing stuff that people want to hear.”
Johnny also tells us that the debut album is still on track for a release early in 2013. If time permits.
“We’re looking at early next year,” he says. “Obviously that’s changeable. Depending on how busy I am, I guess. At the moment I’m very busy with the new single, ‘Home And Away’, ‘The X Factor’, TV, radio, just all of the above. I want to get it out yesterday, but it’s all going to come down to timing and when I have the time to get it all out there.
“I’m in the studio recording at the moment, so the songs are getting written. Hopefully if we can get a number of songs ready, it should be next year. Hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Outside of his hectic professional life, Johnny’s still able to kick back at home in Sydney with his burgeoning shoe collection, which was last on display during a personal tour of his place via ‘Johnny TV’. He tells us that collection’s growing constantly.
“I’ve probably got over 100 pairs now,” he tells us. “If I did a second episode of that, you’d see that I’ve now got literally hundreds of shoes and I just love them. I don’t know why or where I got the fetish from, but I just love shoes.”
And has ‘Wagon Wheels’ started sponsoring him yet?
“No they haven’t, but they probably should.”
Johnny’s latest single ‘Take It Home’ and its predecessor ‘On Top’ are both available digitally now.