EVA B. ROSS
It’s hard to place the music of Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Eva B. Ross into any one genre. But, as it turns out, she’s quite alright with that.
She laughs, “Hey man, some feelings just sound a lot like a meandering patch of harmonies, but some feelings require a catchy chorus. I’m just writing it like it is.”
Eva B. Ross creates her own genre. Her jazzy, soothing voice delivers songs with lyrics that get you to think and melodies that stay with you.
Ross grew up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Born into a family of performers, she began writing songs at the age of 11 for her family band. At this time, composer and producer Steve Rashid became her musical mentor, introducing her to Jazz, and helping to produce early demos of her work. Throughout high school, she attended various music and writing programs including the Interlochen Arts singer-songwriter program, the Stanford Jazz Vocal Residency, and The Sewanee Young Writer’s Conference for poetry.
“I started singing so that I could share my own songs. I grew up sort of worshipping songwriters - that was probably in large part because I was fairly certain we all really knew each other.”
Ross went on to attend UCLA, studying history. Early into her college career, she began performing at various campus main-stays and venues throughout Los Angeles, first in a duo, and later with her band, Eva B. Ross Foundation (which she named, true to her history-loving self, after her father’s college band). She became a fixture within UCLA’s music community- highlights including the Jazz Reggae Festival, opening for Burt Bacharach at UCLA’s Royce Hall, and performing alongside the Monk Institute as the 2018 Herb Alpert School of Music’s featured alumni. In 2017, she won the schools renowned Spring Sing competition (past award recipients include Sara Bareilles and Maroon 5), after being included in the event for three consecutive years. “I looked forward to that show each year. Just getting on that stage felt like winning- so when I actually won, it honestly didn’t feel much different. It is strange how quickly you can become comfortable with an audience of 10,000. By my third year, it just felt like a really, really large and wonderful living room.”
While she cultivated her own sound in Los Angeles, she continued to perform as a vocalist elsewhere: often featured as a jazz vocalist on WDCB 90.9’s Chicago Jazz Live and working as a SAG- AFTRA session singer in Los Angeles for Network television shows.
“I always told folks that I was majoring in history and minoring in ‘working musician’. Performing constantly and surrounding myself with other musicians became the center of my musical education. I learned a lot about how to connect and how that changes from a packed house to a nearly empty classroom.”
Indeed, she does connect. On stage, the wit and self-awareness that lines her songs is fully realized as she banters with the audience.
It was her original song “Nick’s House” that first caught the ear of grammy award winning Nashville producer and engineer, Justin Niebank. “Nick’s House” was written as an homage to a teenage summer she spent in the Valley. Her voice is inviting and her lyrics paint a clear picture: the complex emotions of youth and the power of seemingly arbitrary imagery to transport you to a memory, perhaps even one of your own.
She laughs, “That song is a bit of sonic scrapbooking. It was a mental snapshot summed up by a physical space.” Her candid, soulful voice and her idiosyncratic and introspective story-telling, create a compelling listening experience.
Her first three singles, produced by Justin Niebank and Steve Rashid, are all songs written by Ross. Recorded at Castle Recording Studio, she is accompanied by some of Nashville’s best: Derek Wells and Kris Donegan on Guitar, Fred Eltringham on drums, Tim Lauer on keys, and Jimmie Lee Sloas on bass.
At the heart of the project: her voice, her melodies, and her stories. In her song “Messy”, Ross marries confessional with catchy, detailing the perils of communication in relationships. In “Friends, Like Me” Ross explores friendship and forgiveness. She explains, “Once, a show I played got written up. I was the only woman in the line-up and I was introduced as ‘a girl with a guitar singing love songs’. It bugged me. Some of my most complicated and rewarding relationships are with women, some of my most heartbreaking songs are about friendship. I really didn’t ever want to be boiled down to ‘love songs’ again, because, the truth is, I’ve got a whole lot more than just that on my mind.”