Published on September 1st, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson0
Kevin Ross: Coming Of Age
Let’s hop right into this new four-track digital EP Dialogue In The Grey — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
#DITG is a coming of age project. It’s a conversation between me and the audience about certain transitional periods in my life. Each experience/song has helped me figure out who I am as a man.
For it, you aligned yourself with the historic/iconic Motown Records — What particular string of events actually led to this union?
Yeah, I’m truly humbled and blessed to be a part of a rich legacy such as Motown! As far as how this came about, I’ll try to make this short *Chuckles* A couple of years ago, I was asked to be a part of a BET Music Matters showcase in L.A.. My management — Ezekiel Lewis and Troy Taylor — invited a few people to the performance to check me out. One of those people just so happened to be Ethiopia Habtemariam who was taking the position of President of Motown Records. Fast forward a few weeks later, a deal was on the table and the rest is history.
Even though you’re a fairly newer artist, you’ve already received huge amounts of praise from some of the industry’s top tier talent; namely David Foster, Maxwell and Ne-Yo, your soon-to-be tour-mate — How did it make you feel upon hearing these compliments for the first time?
I was honored to be acknowledged and respected by such extraordinary talent. These are all people that I look up to as creative individuals, so it was a surreal moment.
Speaking of Ne-Yo, and as I just mentioned, you all are about to embark on this One Night With… trek — Are you looking forward to it?
Of course! I know it’s going to be an amazing experience. I look forward to learning as much as I can from Ne-Yo.
For someone who has yet to experience you performing “live,” what would you tell that person can be expected?
The greatest thing about the “live experience” right now for me is that there’s no expectation from the audience. Being a new artist, I look at the stage like a blank canvas. My job is to illustrate who I am and what I stand for in such a bold way that you have no other choice but have an opinion about what you just saw. In other words, I encourage you to see the show for yourself *More chuckles* It’s a good time!
Reflecting, how did you first discover your musical talent?
My parents had music playing all through the house while I was a child. There was always a burning desire to sing. Music gave me absolute euphoria and since then it’s been my mission to reciprocate that same feeling through my music.
Who have been your greatest inspirations musically and why?
Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Michael Jackson… All these artists are great in their own right. The way that each of them told stories are amazing; creating an unforgettable experience.
In having said that, how would you describe and/or define the style of music that you create and perform?
I consider myself a progressive artist who is rooted in R&B/Soul. It’s all about moving the culture/genre forward, without losing sight of where it came from.
What do you feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
God made every single person on this Earth unique. No two people are the same. So, we should never run into that problem *Laughs* I take pride in being unique and it shows through my life and music. Beyond anything else, that’s what makes the difference.
Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?
As long as you’re living, you will always have your peaks and valleys. So yes, I’ve encountered some problems, but nothing that could hold me back or make me resentful. I take every hardship as a lesson that needed to be learned. It makes me stronger.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I want people to understand that we’re all connected. That none of us are in this alone. We all have the same fundamental emotions that need to be expressed. I want my music to be the common thread that evoke those emotions.
When can we, the masses, expect some new music from you?
Next year, my full length LP will be released! I’m pretty excited about it.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Being the opening act for Maxwell’s Summer Soulstice Tour this summer.
If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Stevie Wonder. He’s my biggest musical inspiration.
If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
At this point, I’m not picky. I’m just blessed to be able to perform anywhere *More laughter*
One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
There’s a record I wrote called “Just Because” a few years ago that always resonated with me. The song is far from perfect, but it just feels so good. The crazy thing is, people may never get a chance to hear this song *Concludes laughing*
By: Todd Davis