Gyasi Ross blends hip-hop lyrics and R&B/Soul vocals with acoustic guitar, delivering a unique sound that has been described as a cross between John Legend, Jason Mraz and The Roots. Ross, originally from the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, is set to release his latest single, ‘Different’ with CatBeach Music on November 4, 2022. Produced by Bobby Hartry, ‘Different’ tells the compelling story of a young black kid, growing up with the racial and cultural tensions typical in urban USA. A personal story, Gyasi uses his lyrical acoustic hip-hop style to paint a picture of his life, while building the tension that he felt as the song progresses into an earthy and soulful tune with a rock edge. ‘Different’ ultimately crescendos into a declaration about the hope that can be found in this life.
His first defining moment occurred one day, in Pasadena California, in a smoke filled room with high school gangsters, musicians and poets. Gyasi recalls, “I idolized my brother and his friends as they created music in circle, they called it a cipher. I was a fly on the wall in the 7th grade and desperately wanted to participate. At the time I didn’t understand how. My voice didn’t move or sound the way theirs did and I nearly gave up.”
In high school he was tricked into joining the marching band by a friend who asked, “Hey can you come up to school and hold some instruments?” I went to a predominantly African-American school and most students didn’t play music so the band director did all he could to make the marching band look full.
Not the type to fake anything, he started taking jazz trumpet lessons from Nolan Shaeed, an amazing trumpet player who was the musical director for Marvin Gaye. From there, he transitioned to guitar and hasn’t put it down since. After graduating from San Francisco State with a BA in Jazz Guitar and World Music from San Francisco State University, Gyasi released two studio albums, “By Any Means” and “If You Really Knew Me.”
His latest single “Different” is a song but also a message that I’ve written to my younger self. ‘Different’ is me giving younger me advice about how to navigate the world as a black person growing up in America. The music video features a series of tableaus based on life experiences I’ve had,” confides Gyasi.
Gyasi’s diverse influences include: John Legend, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, The Roots(Black Thought), Dashboard Confessionals, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass, and John Coltrane.