Black Music Month: Jac Ross is making the music we need right now
'It's OK To Be Black' is definitely on our playlist.
Music has always been a powerful force when it comes to getting people through hard times and considering the compounded trauma facing our community right now, it’s more important than ever. Jac Ross may be at the beginning of his career, but his voice and his songs are likely to stand the test of time.
The Florida native, who has been singing since the age of 5, has teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Rodney Jerkins.
“A couple of years ago, I came into contact with Rodney Jerkins and performed two songs for him at his house. He was very impressed and offered to sign me. It was really me taking a gamble because I knew there was a chance it may not work out but I knew I had to do this because it has always been my dream,” Ross recalls.
“There was absolutely no intimidation factor whatsoever and the reason why is because I knew how well I could sing. I really felt like I brought something different to the table. I don’t think a lot of people today have what I have. We have done something special.”
Ross is gearing up for the release of his EP The Truth Revealed and has already dropped an impressive collection of songs like “Saved” and “Questions” that showcase his undeniable vocal talent and deliver striking messages.
“It’s OK To Be Black” couldn’t be more relevant considering the current social climate. The song has already garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube.
“I think it was just us being proactive in the studio knowing that these times would happen. We didn’t know they would be so drastic, but we knew. I believe in advocating for all people, especially Black people in America,” he told theGrio. “It kind of just worked out for the music and real-life colliding. I can only hope that in the future generations will look back and say that Jac Ross played a pivotal part in this movement and making a change.”
The coronavirus pandemic delayed Ross’s plans to tour the U.S. and London this year, but he says he’s adapting to the new normal pretty well.
“As a performer, it’s hard not being on the road. That’s where I connect. I like the energy the fans give me. The creative process is made more difficult because there are more distractions. On the flip side, it’s great to be with family and get some rest but I do miss being on the road,” he says.
Fortunately, the quarantine hasn’t kept Ross from connecting with his fans. Performing online has helped him to keep his own mental health in check.
“Doing my Instagram Live performances every Monday and Thursday, I always try to give inspiration to everybody and help people to stay positive during this time,” he says. “I give myself a lot of music therapy. Music has always been therapeutic for me. Playing piano soothes me and helps me to move forward.”
Inspired by legends like Sam Cooke, James Brown, Nina Simone, and Marvin Gaye, Ross hopes his music will have the same kind of lasting impact.
“Those were artists who stood up for something when they told a story. That’s who I am as well. They sang songs about social injustice as well as love songs and they always had a message for people. I’m devoting my career to delivering a message,” he says.
Last month, he dropped a cover of Nina Simone‘s classic, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” The soul-stirring rendition is not to be missed.
Though music is his first priority, Ross exercises his activism in several ways and remains committed to uplifting and inspiring fans to do what they can.
“I definitely pay very close attention to policies and I feel like I use my voice and my platform to make people aware of things they can do after the marching and after the protesting,” he says. “There’s a system in place that we have to participate in if we want to see real change. I don’t mind giving donations and promoting other powerful platforms.”
As some states begin to relax social distancing guidelines and more people venture out for entertainment, Ross is eager to get back out on the road.
“I’m ready to go anywhere the law allows me to go,” he says. “I know that there are precautions in place but I am ready to perform anywhere that is open and ready to move forward. I’m right there.”
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