Interview With Musician Dru Ross

By Ruth on October 26, 2016 in Interview, Music
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Because Michael Damian always knows the best people in the world of entertainment to check out, I closely follow who he happens to tweet about. And this summer, the name Dru Ross popped up in his tweets, and I immediately investigated this up and coming musician and his works. I was elated to discover that he is a Washingtonian by birth (an instant connection for us), and his music is definitely unparalleled in the world of music today. I approached him towards the end of a summer for an interview, and he jumped at the chance. Due to a slowing of my hectic schedule, I am now able to share our wonderful chat with all of you, and I invite you to savor the positive message of life and music Dru shared with me.

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RH: It’s wonderful to have you here. The moment I saw Michael Damian tweeting about you, I knew I had to look you up for an interview.

DR: I’m just delighted. I appreciate your reaching out. I think that’s really cool. And speaking of Michael Damian, I love his movie High Strung. It was well-directed, and it was shot wonderfully. A lot of good moments in that movie.

So what is your story? Why did you become a musician?

As a young kid, music and entertaining was my passion. Basically, I was the life of the party, running around and entertaining. The musicianship came a little later. The music was always in my ear. I come from a family of singers and pianists with a lot of music background.

But I was mainly a poet. I used to write poetry every single day. I’d be in class and instead of studying biology or the mathematic equation on the board, I would be writing poetry. So I started to write poetry for my girlfriends and recite it to them. That’s how I got into the pronunciation and the enunciation and the sound of my voice by actually speaking the poetry. Then hip hop was so big in all of our lives–all through high school–and it became so popular that I just started loving rap music and hip hop.

So it was all basketball, baseball, and football and hip hop. And we were always dancing and be-bopping around and rapping and making music. That’s when I took my poetry, and I started to make it into rap cadences. Then we started to put music behind it. I would cash my checks from Subway, and I went and bought a little audio box, a cheap microphone, and I started making music. I got in my closet with my poetry. Through that, I would show people and get people’s ear so they could hear what I was doing and see if I was on the right track. And the years just kept blessing me with all this confidence. It was, “Hey, you gotta keep doin’ this. This is awesome, making this out of your closet.” And I was like, “Yeah.” That pushed me to want to do a professional project, and that’s where we are now.

As far as pursuing music as a career, how many years do you think you have been doing that?

I would say I’ve really been seriously putting together music projects for about a year.

Wow! You’ve really come a long ways in that time.

Yes, there’s no doubt about it. When I put my mind into it, a couple string of events happened, and I was noticed by Larry Weir, and he goes, “We gotta cut a record.” So I’ve really only been serious about it for a year. I had been making demos for about three or four years, but really not pushing anything professional until last year.

Well, that is great. I was a music teacher, so I’m always interested in music and musicians.

I used to love music, and I took it all the way up through school. But in high school, you’re not allowed to ’cause it conflicts with your sports schedule. I was in choir all the way through school, and it was always one of my favorite programs. Music is the beat I walk my life to. It has been for my entire life. It’s just what gets my day going. I’m just excited to be able to contribute lyrically and musically to what’s going on in the world today. Music is such a huge force in positivity with all the negative things going around in the world. You just can’t deal with it without music.

druross.jpgI have had the opportunity to listen to your current single, Love Simulation. 

What did you think of it?

I thought it was really cool. There’s a lot going on in that song. It sounds like you’re mixing hip hop and rap and something else–I’m not sure what. But it sounds like you have a fusion of styles going on there.

I’ve always loved rock music. Rock music is at the core of my heart. I just love it. You know, the “David Bowies” of the world. It’s just a beautiful thing going on there. My producer, Larry Weir, he goes, “Man, this is really good. What do you think about us putting some really nice rock strings in this? It would really make it edgy.”  And I just fell in love with the idea, and we went out and got with Tim Pierce, a legendary session guitarist, and he put the strings to this record like you wouldn’t believe. He did all five songs. It was just a privilege. I feel privileged just to say his name ’cause he let us come out to his house, and he laid down some incredible strings. So we put together a hip hop, rock, edgy funk. We mixed those styles together. I’m glad it came together so nicely. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

So I understand you’re working on a soon-to-be-released album.

Yes, we’ve completed an EP, and it has been released. So right now, we’re working to promote the EP. I will then continue to build an entire album for the next release. I actually have the album done, and we’re just in the process of recording and finishing the project. So this first part of the segment is done, but now we’re going into the twenty-song segment.

So can you tell us more about the EP?

There are five songs on the EP. All five songs are singles. We have wonderful back-up singers. We have Tim Pierce. We have a  drummer, Matt Long, beautiful rock star–he’ll probably be in the Hall of Fame. He came in and did the drums, and he did just a fantastic job. We have Phoebe Crenshaw, Heather MacLennan and Henry “Scribes” Kleaveland on back-up vocals. We have an incredible producer, Larry Weir and engineer, Tom Weir. And then my beat maker, Michael Parnell has gone above and beyond and really came together with me and made some incredible music to go with my lyrics. And so I’m ecstatic about this whole project. We made all of the songs to be represented as five singles. They all stand alone and they’re all right ’cause we spent a lot of time on them. So it’s not your average EP. It’s not like this EP that these kids just put out and  do it in their closet.  They took professional people and put them all around me and built something that is really nice to the ear. They really accented my voice and my vocals and made it into something special. I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. This took a lot of beautiful people coming together. This was not just a two-person little mixer with a demo record and an mp3. This is real music.

That really sounds great because sometimes the EP’s that come out aren’t that great–like what you’re talking about. 

Exactly. And the truth is a lot of EP’s are not being mastered by true engineers. There’s just a digital beat with no musicianship. They got the motivation, but they just don’t have the true musicianship behind it. We made music. We didn’t just make a digital soundtrack with a digital beat. They took my vision, and they have been able to make it come to life with the most talented people. There are so many intricacies to it. In fact, the engineer, Tom Weir, has literally put sound that just transfers through your ears, and it is coming right to left, and then coming together. There’s a lot of sweat and tears in this baby.

14650194_10210795025220062_6720354371162596212_nThere usually is, but it’s good that you guys have brought it to a higher level of musicality than sometimes what you hear. That’s really exciting.

Yeah, especially in hip hop. It’s a lot of samples of digital beats and lyrics and they master it and cut it at the end of the day. It was nice to bring in some true musicians and make something happen. And we did that on purpose. Because that’s what we set out to do. We wantedtot make something in its own right. We hope everybody likes it. That’s the main thing.

Is the EP available on all digital platforms?

Yes, it is. We have released it on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby. And we are in the process of making the Love Simulation music video.

That was actually the next thing I was going to ask about–music videos.

{laughs} Yeah, so we are just super excited about that. We really wanted our music video to be directed and have the kind of class that the single Love Simulation has.  We are really putting in the time to make this a great video.

Well, that’s good because I sometimes watch these top name, professional musicians–they will put out a music video, you’ll watch it and you’ll say, “What was that? The song was so good, but the video is just…not all that great.”

I couldn’t agree with you more. I am a connoisseur of good music and entertainment. It’s my life. I see so much of that where there’s this great song, but then they wanted to cut the corners and get some visuals out there. And I just don’t want to do that. For me personally, I’d rather wait six months to put out a piece of art that really showcases the work we did in the studio.

Well, that’s very commendable that you’re doing that. 

Well, I appreciate that, dear.

With me being a musician, I don’t like substandard videos either. So it’s very refreshing to hear you saying all these things. It makes me even more interested to check out the full EP. 

Well, that’s good. And just to go a little bit further, I actually had to fight for that because they wanted to put something out real quick. They were trying to get in and have me shoot a music video in the studio and edit it and put it out. And I was like, “Absolutely not. We worked too hard on this project, and we really need something to represent this blood, sweat and tears and this dream of mine.” And everybody’s on board now. So it’s really nice to hear that from you ’cause that’s truly all I want. If I had the chance to put my mark on anything in the world, I just want everybody to know that I gave it my all and put everything I had into one project to see if you want another one. And to see if there’s fans out there that say, “Hey, I really love this project. I want to see another one.” I didn’t want to do just one of these demo, closet projects and then say, “Well, I have more to give.” The truth is I’ve put everything I’ve got into this baby.

ctiqia2w8aqspje.jpgThat resonates so much with me because that’s what I always strive to do with my writings and my interviews. I’m not just interested in throwing something together.

‘Cause it’s yours and you appreciate yourself and you appreciate your work. As you should. Good for you!

Well, I was saying, “Good for you,” too. I was so glad to hear that you were fighting for what you believe in. If you don’t fight for it, nobody else is gonna fight for it. 

I’ll tell you, that’s what my dad tells me all the time. He actually told that to me today. What you said were his exact words. I found a little mistake that was found in the mixings. And my dad said, “Good thing you’re looking out. Nobody else is.” You gotta do those things. It comes to a certain point when it is on you. Nobody’s gonna care as much as you about what you’re doing as you do. That’s just life.

So do you have future aspirations to get your music into TV/ movies? Are you interested in acting/writing?

That is the ultimate goal, dear. To be a part of every single part of this entertainment industry is what I want to break into. I want to do movie cameos, movies. I want to do trailers. To get my music to represent different scenes. I want my music to represent video games. I really want to be a part of the entire entertainment industry. The sky’s the limit. With me, it starts with exposure. In this day and age, it’s really about the fan base. So if we build something that people will want to listen to, then I will be up at the crack of dawn every single day. I want to entertain my fans.

If I had unlimited resources, I would go to the moon. I would do it all. You know, modeling and the runway–the entire thing. I’ve always been in love with it. It’s what I love to do. I love entertaining. I love to make people smile. If I can get involved, I’m there. {laughs} I’m there in a heartbeat, dear.

images-6.jpg.jpgI kind of figured that, but I wanted to ask ’cause some musicians only want to remain in the music realm and never branch out. But I think what impresses me about you is that you have a really strong work ethic. I say that because I see young people who don’t want to put in the time and energy required to have their dreams come true. They just want it handed to them. They are a part of the entitlement generation. But what I see in you is that you are willing to invest the time and the resources, and you’re very passionate about it. I think those are excellent qualities for making a success of your career.

Well, thank you so much for saying that. You’re too sweet. I give it all to my family. It comes down to the brass tacks–it has been a true tribe experience. You know, it took a tribe to raise me. I have a beautiful family, and their work ethic is unreal. They believe in hard work, and sometimes you feel like you’re not doing enough. Every time I go home, I feel small ’cause my family works so hard in everything they do. And my parents and grandparents from day one, they taught me to really appreciate what we do and appreciate how hard they work and what they have.

And I’ve very fortunate in that manner because I do see a lot of the adolescents from my generation, and a lot of them have the mindset that “it happens overnight.” I don’t see as much support telling them, “Hey, we really got to get this done. You gotta work hard for what you have.” And if I could only show my generation as much as possible that hey, there’s nothin’ wrong with gettin’ down and scrubbing your toilet when it needs to be scrubbed. And if I could say anything, it would just be that ’cause that’s always how I’ve been taught. I think that’s how I got to be where I’m at now.  Just striving for something that isn’t necessarily normal. And it’s because my dad always said, “You gotta be willing to get down there and scrub that toilet when it needs to be scrubbed.”

Since I’m from another generation and I’m older than you, it’s good for me to come in contact with younger people like you who have that kind of work ethic because sometimes the entitlement generation kind of disgusts me. I love getting to interview people just like you and feature them because it makes me feel like, “Yes, there is hope for the future.” We don’t have to believe all the stuff we hear on TV about all young people being involved in all sorts of garbage.

Well, you made my evening. You know, I’ll be completely honest with you. I look and see what’s going on in the world today, and it scares me all the time. There’s a lot of weird things going on today. I want my little cousins and my little friends who aren’t my age yet to see that you gotta love the guy next to you. You gotta be proud to be an American. It’s time to wake up and represent ’cause there’s just a lot of things that are going on that are gloomy, disrespectful, and it’s a time to really do what you can to show as many people as you can that it’s about having pride in your own life first. You can’t point a finger at every single person in the world and change the world unless you change yourself. I was a kid just like everybody else. I was just being a kid. Just being mad at the world for things not going right. And the day that you start making yourself right and wanting to be better is the day things start going better for you. It’s a beautiful thing to be recognized. I will continue this work because this is what I love to do.

And for you to really open up and give me something like what you said, I thank you because it means a lot. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I work so hard is because women and men like you appreciate it after the work is done. You’re never gonna get it until after it’s done, and that’s life. But everybody’s giving up before it’s done ’cause it’s getting too gloomy. And we just gotta stay in there. And my grandma always said–and this is my success–“Hey, you gotta look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you love yourself ’cause nobody’s gonna do it for you.”  People have to believe in themselves before anyone else does to get things done. We have a lot of haters in this world, and people are able to shut us down. We can’t allow that because our youth is being affected by the negativity and we have to bring them up and give them positive forces to move on and make this world a better place.

That’s just great. You see, you’ve been an encouragement to me, too.

Well, thank you so much, dear. You’re too lovely. I could talk to you all day.

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As I scrutinized Dru’s answers, I realized just how timely his message is. He is committed to using his talents, gifts, and passions to inspire others to see the good in this world of ours. We could spend all day focusing on all the bad things in this world, and all too often, we do. We forget that there are people out there who are willing to do the right thing, and Dru is one who reminds me of just that message. He has not settled for the deception that insists that taking shortcuts is perfectly acceptable and everyone is cutting corners, so why shouldn’t he? Nope, not with Dru. He knows that for which he hungers, and he will contend for those things about which he is impassioned. Moreover, I believe he will never give in nor give up. And for that, I am extremely grateful to him. While I am not a hip hop nor rap fan, I can listen to Dru’s music and hear the quality of the sound and feel the positive vibes reverberating throughout the mix of sounds and lyrics. I would invite everyone to check out Dru at the links below and perhaps consider purchasing his EP or at least lending him your support. At a time in our nation’s (and world’s) history, couldn’t we use a little more love and positivity in our lives? I surely know I could, and what better way to experience that than through the remarkable and masterful music of Dru Ross?

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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