Described as “…an artist at the height of her genre” (Jazz Quarterly), award-winning singer-songwriter, journalist and founder of the Women In Jazz Media organisation, Fiona Ross is a true force of nature. We speak with Fiona about her new album Thoughts, Conversations, and To Do Lists, the best way to discover music, future plans and much more!
What inspired you to enter the music business?
Well actually, I have been working in the industry in some ways since I was tiny and never really made the choice, not that that is a complaint! I started off in the theatre and film world and moved into music later. Music is just who I am and what I have always done, no choice! I love writing and performing.
What can you tell us about the album Thoughts, Conversations, and To Do Lists?
There is a range of styles and topics on the album that covers everyday thoughts and feelings. The challenges of life and responsibilities along with wanting to know more about the world and how to stay reasonably sane. Musically, you get a few things – some Latin, some jazz and some more indie/singer-songwriter vibes. Hopefully, everyone can relate to something on the album.
What was the writing and recording process like?
It all starts with me at home on my piano, writing the songs and then working on the arrangements. I spend quite a bit of time on the brass parts, I love that bit. Then into the studio with my engineer Gibbi Bettini. We record in stages – drums and bass, keys, brass, guitar and finally vocals. Then the mixing and mastering. The writing part is quite isolated, so I love it when we all get together.
If you could, would you change anything about Thoughts, Conversations, and To Do Lists?
There is one track ‘Single Source of Truth’ that when we play it live, I have extended to include a cool groove for everyone to enjoy. Looking back, I wish I had included this on the recording.
Can you recommend some new bands to our readers?
Oh yes, so many!! Too many to mention here, but I will give a shout-out to two incredible artists – Ashaine White and Evio Asio. Both have new releases out and they are amazing!!
What do you think is the best way to discover new music nowadays?
So many ways! As a journalist, I get sent so much amazing music, very hard to go through it all. But I also find out about new music through going to gigs, recommendations, radio and Spotify playlists. I also always find new music through TV/film soundtracks too.
What is the best review you have received to date?
I have been so very fortunate to have loads of amazing reviews for all my work and I am so grateful people seem to enjoy my music. For this new album, I have so far had three and they have all been great! Nigel Farmer of Jazz of Europe said, “Her voice is uniquely expressive, her lyrics fearless, with an uncanny ability to send arrows of emotional flight that softly penetrate. If you fully surrender, leaving bias on the doormat with your shoes, enter her lyrical exhibition, and get to know and appreciate this artist as the honest self-funded, self-produced powerhouse artist that is Fiona Ross”.
If you could perform with any artist, who would it be and why?
I am a huge fan of the brilliant pianist Michel Camilo. He rarely works with vocalists, and I would love to perform with him. Maybe one day!
Do you have any future plans?
Busy touring the album with quite a few gigs booked in. Hopefully going abroad to play before the end of the year too – Italy and Canada are planned so far. I also released a new podcast series with the album, so I will be busy recording some more episodes for that too. I will also be continuing my journalism work and my work with Women in Jazz Media too.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Yes. Be you. Whoever you are, whatever you want to do, embrace it, be yourself and don’t let anyone stop you.
This artist was found on Musosoup #sustainablecurator