Grammy-Nominated Artist Jamison Ross Prepares Loyola Students to “Set the World on Fire”
Now on faculty at Loyola New Orleans, Ross adds teaching to his repertoire
(New Orleans, March 10, 2021) Grammy-nominated vocalist and drummer Jamison Ross is spending the spring semester teaching Loyola University New Orleans students how he makes his musical magic. One of the hottest young names in music, Ross brings his own musical style, which is redefining the sound of soul music for this era, while exploring the relationship between Jazz, R&B, Gospel, and Soul. This marks his first foray into university teaching.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to impart my experiences and knowledge to the next generation of creative minds,” Ross said. “Popular music is the sound of American culture. I look forward to helping students build their relationship between musicality and individuality.”
A singer and drummer whose self-styled rhythm and melody garnered his first Grammy nomination in 2015, Ross is stepping in this semester for a faculty member out on maternity leave. This spring, he is coaching upperclassmen in the university’s acclaimed School of Music Industry Studies. As they pull together all the music performance and industry skills they have learned to date, to begin developing their own brands, Ross will help them each to hone their individual artistry.
Loyola students will be learning to showcase their work from an artist trained to recognize and develop natural talent. In his new role as Head of A&R (Artists and Repertoire) at Affective Music, Ross will focus on artist development, building a talent pipeline, and overseeing creative strategy.
A two-time Grammy nominee, Ross made national waves in 2012, when he won the Thelonious Monk Institute’s International Jazz Competition for drumming and signed with the Concord Jazz Label. In 2015, his first album Jamison, won a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Since then, his myriad accomplishments have included releasing a second album, All for One; opening for India.Arie’s Worthy tour; and producing Mykal Kilgore’s A Man Born Black, which earned him his second Grammy nomination. Along the way, Ross has performed nationwide and earned plenty of national media attention. Here in New Orleans, he earned five “Best of the Beat” awards and was named to Gambit Weekly’s “40 Under 40.”
“It was incredible timing to have Jamison available to step in this spring. I remember thinking that we were almost too lucky that he was willing to jump into the role, as he’s possibly the most perfect person to take on this subject with these students,” said Kate Duncan, associate director of the School of Music Industry Studies at Loyola. “To watch Jamison make music and to hear him talk about his process is watching pure joy take form. The opportunity for these students to peek behind the curtains and learn from someone’s mastery in a semester's-long way is once-in-a-lifetime.”
The course that Ross will be teaching at Loyola, a requirement for the Popular and Commercial Music degree, aims to connect students’ music theory knowledge with the practical aspects of musicianship and performance through listening, discussion, group exercises, and hands-on assignments, such as songwriting and arrangement. The class is Hy-Flex and will be taught both virtually and in person, with sessions split to accommodate social distancing and recommended health protocols during the pandemic.
In this class focused on style and artistry, students will explore rhythm, melody, harmony, form and timbre to gain a deeper understanding of how music can work to identify their own personal styles and creative uniqueness to create a fingerprint of their music. The ultimate goal of the course, which draws on all learning to date, is to give students artistic clarity and practical tools as they prepare to graduate and “set the world on fire.”
“We will put rhythm and melody under a microscope, analyzing how these elements function in a variety of styles,” Ross said. “We will also dive into what it means to develop awareness, cultivate discipline and become a sought-after professional musician.” Ross hopes to instill students “with a more curious, playful attitude toward making music,” he said.
The School of Music Industry Studies at Loyola is one of Billboard’s Top Music Business Schools. A training ground for aspiring producers, studio engineers, rap artists, singers, musicians and executives of the recording industry, the school combines music technology, music production, and audio recording classes with courses covering the practices of the modern music business. With its four professional recording studios and numerous production courses, the program prepares its students in all aspects of the business. Through regular music industry forums, students hear from campus visitors ranging from studio executives to artists.