Ross has lots of time for the old school

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - REAL ESTATE - Shane Ni­chols

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.”

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