Who TF is Ross King?

We got to know Ross King and found out a little more about his unique journey and funk-laden new single ‘Never Know’

Finding himself down on his luck and in a slump, Ross King looked to his art to dig his way out, and the process led to him creating his funk-laden and effortlessly engrossing new single ‘Never Know’, a track about following your dreams and throwing everything at them in order to find out what you can accomplish and what you’re capable of.

The track seems to be a product of the Edinburgh artist taking his own advice, and the result finds his sound feeling revitalised and him firing on all cylinders. The energy and infectious groove of the track is a far cry from something you’d expect from someone at their lowest and going through a breakup, and sees the artist manifesting some of the good vibes that he so desperately needed at the time. The track’s unique conception and the defiance and perseverance of Ross to make these positive changes provide it with a really raw and authentic feel, and we had a chat with the artist to find out some more about his backstory and what inspires him to do what he does.

Who TF is Ross King?

Ross King is a multi-instrumentalist and producer.

How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music since I was very young. I started on the saxophone, listening to Aretha Franklin, and then stopped playing because I wanted to become a pro rugby player (!) but, like so many, tore my ACL when I was just 14. That’s when I really got into music as a new way of expressing myself. I couldn’t play rugby for about 2 years, so I spent the time learning how to play the guitar, writing, playing, and dreaming.

Why do you make music?

I make music to say the things I can’t say out loud, and to help other people express themselves too. I always feel at my most accomplished when people tell me they’ve resonated with a song or a sound, or that it struck a chord within them. I love that feeling. To be honest, I also play because I love playing live. I love producing, I just love all of it really. It’s amazing to take something you hear in your head and help it come alive, and then finally, to share it with people who enjoy it, it’s an amazing experience. In some sense, I think creation is really our ultimate purpose.

What are your biggest influences?

These vary day to day, but my go-to artist hall of famers are songwriters. People like Brandi Carlile, Sharon Van Etten, Randy Newman, Theo Katzman, Billie Joel, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan. The great storytellers of their times. I also love young pioneers in neo soul and funk like Olivia Dean and Tom Misch, they’re so inspiring!

What would you say has been your best moment so far?

I’d say getting onto BBC Introducing was a watershed moment. I’d written, recorded, produced, mixed, mastered some songs at home with no experience whatsoever, sent them off in the feeble hope that they’d get played and … they did! That was huge for my confidence. Another beautiful moment was playing a gig and playing a really old song I wrote years ago, only to hear the crowd singing it back to me. That was incredible.

How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?

I’d say it’s funk that makes you feel. It’s like folk and funk, my favourite things, mixed together in an easy listening sound. I don’t want to kill your eardrums, I want to tell you a story.

What’s your dream “I’ve made it” moment?

Playing an NPR Tiny Desk, or RedRocks, or actually, being able to live from my music in a little house with my dog and my family. That’s pretty much it.

We love your new single ‘Never Know’, what more can you tell us about it?

It’s about not giving up and trying to follow a dream. The main hook “if you give it up, you’ll never know” is exactly how I was feeling last year. I got onto tiktok for the first time, I got back into my sound properly, and I actually had a bit of a talk with myself: if you love this so much, why don’t you just go for it? And then honestly about 3 minutes later I’d written this song. I took it to Cathal Murphy, who’s this amazing Irish musician I just love listening to, and he helped me capture the feeling that I wanted on the record.

I love looking back and trying to remember how things have changed, or how far I’ve come, to be honest. I realise it might sound a bit crazy, but when I was thinking about Never Know I was just thinking: how would past me, from 3 years ago, feel about releasing a song like this today? He’d be pretty excited!

The world changed so much during COVID – I got it three times and still struggle with Long Covid symptoms – and it really reminded everyone to do what they love, it certainly did for me. So now I try to always keep that in mind.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

I’m planning a small, intimate, limited gig in Edinburgh to celebrate the release in July, and I’m also releasing another song on 14 June called ‘Our Apartment’. I really love that one. There’ll probably be one in July too!

And finally, who is your biggest fan right now?

My biggest fan right now… wow, that’s a tough question. I love my friends for supporting me, I truly do. I couldn’t possibly pick one, but I’d have to say hayati is my biggest fan.