The most current jazz composition by Fiona Ross is named “Thoughts, Conversations, and To-Do Lists.”
Through listening to this piece, one may completely submerge themselves in the complexities of everyday life. Ross deftly crafts an album that takes into account both the splendour and the difficulties of daily existence, resulting in a piece of art that not only elicits powerful feelings but also leaves an indelible mark.
A prodigy of modern jazz, Ross has with great care and diligence constructed her unique musical style by fusing elements of neo-soul, neo-swing, and Latin jazz. Her work is instantly recognisable because of this.
In addition to this, she sometimes lets the melancholy allure of a ballad come through and reverberate. In addition to that, people all around the world have recognised the occurrence of this phenomenon.
Fiona has been honoured with several important accolades, including “International Female Songwriter of the Year” and “Best Jazz Song” at the World Songwriting Accolades, and she has received widespread recognition as a result of this. Her rise to prominence as a solo artist has not only been meteoric but is also richly laudable in her own right.
The album “Thoughts, Conversations, and To-Do Lists” goes deep into the complexities of the human mind and offers a thorough analysis of the wide variety of feelings that are experienced during the human experience.
Ross has a remarkable sensitivity in his investigation of the many facets of the human mind, which range from the chaotic condition of juggling several ideas to times of contemplation and introspection.
The accounts of mental anguish are skillfully woven together with tersely described passages of moments of joy, camaraderie, and a dogged quest for knowledge.
To showcase the breadth and depth of her talent, Ross took on various responsibilities in the making of her album. She was responsible for composing the album’s lyrics, arranging the music, and supervising the production of all 14 songs.
Each song is a reflection of a different period or facet of her life experience, and together they form an album. The album has a variety of musical works that range in intensity, from songs that are energetic and dynamic and full of movement to pieces that are contemplative and calm and contemplate various topics. These compositions serve as a mirror of Ross’s thoughts and feelings, capturing the dynamic character of his creative expression in the process.
Ross’s unique brilliance shines most within the dynamic jazz landscape, especially regarding the rise of exceptionally gifted female artists. This is the setting in which Ross’s brilliance shines brightest.
Not only does “Thoughts, Conversations, and To-Do Lists” provide listeners with a new perspective on Fiona Ross, but it also gives them a reinvigorated view of the current jazz genre as a whole.
Ross’s most recent invention serves as proof of her extraordinary ability as both a composer and a performer. It is supported by a harmonic collective that emphasises each nuanced component, and it is this creation that serves as evidence.
When placed within the framework of jazz’s illustrious history of women’s contributions to the genre, contributing to the album’s liner notes is seen more as an honoured privilege than a simple duty.
Not only does Fiona Ross capture the essential nature of everyday occurrences in this album, but she also elevates the meaning of those occurrences.
Could you tell us about the creative process behind “Thoughts, Conversations, And To Do Lists”?
Well, there is a lot to explore, here but to keep it short, it all starts with me at my piano, writing about whatever is in my head at the time. I didn’t have a concept or theme when I started and in fact, it was only after I had recorded everything that I came up with the title when someone asked me what the album was about.
I explained that it was just a collection of my thoughts, some conversations I had had with people and things on my to-do lists, so that was how the album title was born! After the initial songs were written, I then started on the arrangements, rehearsals and then the studio to record, mix and master!
What inspired you to create “Thoughts, Conversations, and To Do Lists”?
I set myself a target of releasing one album a year when I released my first album in 2016. Having spent many years in the creative industry, but in different roles, I am a relatively new artist in the jazz world, so I wanted to get all my ideas out while everything was flowing. So far, my mind is full, and I have so many ideas in my head, so I shall keep going while I can!
How do you envision “Thoughts, Conversations, and To Do Lists” resonating with your audience, and what impact do you hope it will have on listeners as this has the potential to become a fan-favourite?
I hope people can relate to my songs and realise they are not alone. So far, I have had incredible feedback which does say this is the case, which is wonderful. I write about a whole range of feelings and experiences, so I hope there is something there for everyone. I also write with a range of different feels, so musically, I blur many genre lines, which again, I hope connects with people and that they will find something musically that they enjoy.
Are there any specific genres or musical influences that have played a significant role in shaping your sound and style as an artist?
Pretty much everything! I am a classically trained pianist and vocalist, but I also went to a performing arts school so trained to work in musical theatre. I was also heavily influenced by my older brother’s record collection, which was full of so many great songwriters, from Billy Joel, Rickie Lee Jones to Kate Bush.
Meanwhile, as a teenager, my role models were some great artists such as Prince, Steve Wonder, Anita Baker, Whitney and of course Aretha. I found jazz when I was about 12 and started devouring Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Nina Simone and Ella from that point. So many, many influences from so many different areas. I have been very fortunate with my musical upbringing.
How do your distinctive sound and style reflect your musical journey and creative growth?
Well, my writing grows with each album, and I think if you listen to my first album and then go through all my albums in order, you can see a development. My songs have definitely become bigger with each album, ha.
The first album had no brass, 2nd album had one sax on a couple of tracks and now you can hear lots of brass, I love writing brass parts. I also often write with specific musicians in mind now, which I didn’t use to do.
I am so fortunate to work with some incredible musicians and I always have them in my mind when I write out parts. But I always just go with the flow and don’t plan anything when I start creating music for an album, so you never know what is going to happen to me!
How do you approach developing your visual aesthetic and creating a cohesive brand that aligns with your musical identity?
My brand came about without a specific plan but ended up becoming my thing! I have always loved black and white photography, the old-school smoky jazz photos, so when I first started having photo shoots and considering album covers, this was always a theme for me.
I also love to shout about everything that goes on behind the scenes – the engineer, photographers, the musicians rather than all the focus being on me as the artist. I am short so have always worn high heels, but that seemed to become a thing too.
A key element with my brand was that I don’t fit in any boxes, which although I thought may have been an issue initially, became a selling point of who I am, and I guess my USP.
So basically, a combination of all of these things ended up being my brand. Being true to who I am and being honest about who I am is the most important thing for me.
Technology has transformed music consumption and sharing. How do you adapt and use digital channels to reach global audiences?
It is essential for me to continually keep up to date with technological innovations in the music industry. Coming from a family of mathematicians, I am a bit of a data freak and always analyse my streaming numbers and my audience engagement and adapt where needed.
It is especially challenging with music that is not considered necessarily commercial – jazz – but I love the fact that technology allows my music to reach a different audience. I have a far younger audience on Spotify for example compared to an older audience that buys my physical CDs, but I love the fact that the digital world allows my music to go anywhere.
Finding time to do the work is always a challenge and I am currently struggling to add the new Threads platform to my schedule and fully engage with TikTok. But I am working on it!
Can you give us a glimpse into what the future holds for your music?
I have already started working on my next album. It will be a double album with 21 tracks. The plan at the moment, is to release before the end of 2024.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Put the work in and always follow your heart. Stay true to yourself and know that whoever and whatever you are, there is a place for you.