Ross, tell us a little more about how you got into music!
I’ve been singing since two years old, but I began writing music and producing beats in high school.
Around sixteen, I wrote and recorded a song about a nine-year-old girl who died from gang violence in Richmond called “Cecilia Brown.”
I decided to submit the song Song of the Year’s songwriting competition.
Competing against a sea of experienced adult songwriters, I was awarded the distinction of Runner Up.
After this small validation, I began to produce and write songs and submit them to online competitions for feedback, which helped me find my direction, style, and voice.
In 2007, I entered a Myspace singing competition for a chance to be featured on the Step Up 2 The Streets Music Soundtrack produced by Atlantic Records; I reached the Top 5 male finalists.
I think of myself as writer first, and a singer second.
While pursuing a Marketing degree from Cal State LA, I interned in the Sales & Marketing team at Power 106 radio station in Los Angeles.
This internship led to an opportunity at ASCAP (Performing Rights Organization), where I worked with the process of music publishing and obtained hands-on experience with songwriting and licensing.
So, my interest in writing and music applies to the creative process, but also the administration process.
You are also an awesome author! How did you get into writing?
I have written two books so far: the father-son themed memoir, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son and bisexual-themed follow up Panorama: The Missing Chapter.
I spent my early years collecting pens, notepads, and interviewing myself in a tape recorder.
Also, I collected library cards with my dad like the true nerds we were.
With an acute awareness as a child, I was eager to point out hypocrisies and character inconsistencies in children and adults through English assignments.
I had a heighten awareness of people’s words and their actions.
If I weren’t keeping my English teachers on their toes for what I would say or write next, I was processing my world through songwriting and music.
The path has not been easy, but I believe that if I keep my eye on the prize, quiet the voices of the outside world, every step I take towards my goals adds up.
It wasn’t until the back to back loss of my brother and father that I realized that owning my voice and unique perspective was key to my self-development and long term wellness.
You are a very respected artistpeneur; what would you say to aspiring artists who look up to your work?
Discipline and rest play a key role to the successful completion of projects.
When you’re tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed with trying to make an idea, character, or melody work, take a rest.
As many people know, the final project always looks, sounds, and reads different than the initial idea.
Doubt and exhaustion are a part of the process.
I would encourage people to listen to their mind and body and give themselves a lot of space to fully execute the creative process.
Don’t judge how you feel and don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who are doing what you’re doing on a higher level!
Also, some things like branding and design are worth the expense.
Great things usually take time and cannot be rushed. Also, do not be surprised when people do not support you.
We’ve heard successful people say it all the time – believe in your craft and be willing to fail publicly.
No-one can take your effort and proof of your effort away! (Don’t forget to advertise –your art goes nowhere with eyes, so be prepared to pay for marketing and ads)
Do you have anything new or upcoming we can expect to see from you?
On the music side - I have two songs out right now.
Cali Cruisin’, and Money Drip releases September 25.
Cali Cruisin’ is that feel good song to hang out at the beach or drive around L.A. in the L.A. sun.
It is pop with Afro-beat influences and a great song to relax to.
Money Drip is that hip-hop/R&B song to that will get you feeling good and ready to conquer the day first thing in the morning.
COVID-19 has restricted my intentions with my music, and it’s not easy for people to congregate, but both of these tracks are mood boosters.
Panorama (including the song with the same name) is my newest book.
Panorama: The Missing Chapter is a follow up to my first book Views from the Cockpit.
Views from the Cockpit is a memoir that reflects on an African American father-son relationship using airplane metaphors to explore broken bonds, divorce, and memories.
Panorama explores spirituality and sexuality as a coupling, using themes of fatherhood and masculinity to expand on themes from the first book.
Panorama explores the idea of “Where do we find love?”
Panorama uses my story traveling and working in Seoul, South Korea to illuminate how oppression is disbursed from straight and LGBT collectives onto bisexual people.
Many people outside of LGBT identities would think that LGBT is a community with overwhelming acceptance and more visible than ever, however, bisexuality is misunderstood and tends to be censored.
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