Ross has lots of time for the old school
FORMER Julatten local and more recently Melbournebased singer Danny Ross is coming back to Port Douglas to catch up with everyone and perform at the Clink.
“I’ll be coming off a tour with Ben Lee so I thought I’d jump a plane and get up to Port to see everyone,” said the singer, who hit the national stage after his run on The Voice TV talent show.
But Danny does not see The Voice as the overall change catalyst. At 32, he says it’s just one of many chapters in his artistic life, that began with playing Spanish guitar at 12, performing in later years with Stu “Sonny Boy” Forbes and, just recently, a trip to Cuba where he recorded his new single, Roses.
While the Caribbean was being threatened by Hurricane Matthew, Danny was in the renowned Cuban state-run recording studios, Egrem – Cuba’s version of London’s iconic Abbey Road studios.
It is famous for producing Cuba’s biggest act in recent years, the Buena Vista Social Club, and in fact three members of BVSC worked on the recording of Roses.
A show like The Voice is tremendously geared to pop careers, but Danny is not in that mould. Though now in his 30s he’s in no particular hurry and the Cuban trip, working with musicians whose typical experience is many decades long, affirms the path he’s on.
“These old musicians are seen as representatives of their culture, they’re not considered like some sort of pop figure with an expiry date. In places like Cuba and America it’s just a different head space around what it is to be a musician in the marketplace.
“That’s the thing about music – you get better as you get older. But in Australia we’re so ageist, we’re so hard on ourselves.”
He said cultural experiences for him had always been important to music. “I mean, I taught guitar in East Timor when the revolution finished. I’ve lived in America, Port Douglas . . . The Voice . . . they’re all just cultural experiences.”
He said The Voice put him in touch with members of Cat Empire, who offered help if he needed it. He used several of them on one of his video clips.
Danny does get back up north occasionally, the last time just last year for the Wallaby Creek festival. “It’s my favourite part of the world up there,” he says.
He lived in Julatten for four years and says it is where he started playing seriously.
“I can’t wait to play again with Sonny Boy. I played with him for four years and I miss it so much. And I want to catch up with everyone up there – I’ve written a lot since I played up there in 2013.
“My songwriting and my guitar playing have gotten to a new level. I’ve matured.”
He is really excited about his new release, Roses, which is out this week. “It translated really well to working with the Cuban musicians,” he said.
“I mixed it in LA with a 12 times Latin Grammy winner. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Very inspiring.”
Danny Ross in Cuba: “I’m writing and playing better. I’ve matured.”