Trained Jazz Musician Leverages Classical Techniques to Pioneer ‘Acoustic Hip-Hop’ Genre
Acoustic Hip-Hop artist Gyasi Ross today released If You Really Knew Me, a collection of songs that represent his ongoing growth as an artist, over the past seven years, through his travels, trials, relationships and experiences. The seven-song album, produced by Jonathan Ahrens (Jewel, Kate Voegele), is available now on iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify and other digital music platforms.
Funded by the generosity of Kickstarter supporters who rallied around the artist, the independent album features an eclectic yet cohesive selection of breakout tracks, such as KCRW Tiny Desk Contest finalist “All In Your Head”, soulful harp-driven ballad “She” and motivational hip-hop track “We Could Do Better” ft. Shark Sinatra.
Ross, who holds a B.A. in Jazz Performance from San Francisco State University, was in high school when he first picked up an instrument and began forging the path that, along with his background, led to the unique sound and vision for If You Really Knew Me.
“I grew up hearing the legendary soul artists my parents listened to, like Otis Redding and Ella Fitzgerald,” said Ross. “At the same time, I was fully immersed in hip-hop culture, listening to trail-blazing groups like The Roots and bearing witness to my older brother and his friends’ cypher. Then, in high school, I was tricked into joining the marching band by a friend who asked, ‘hey can you come up to school and hold some instruments?’ The rest, as they say, was history.”
Ross went on to study Jazz Trumpet under former Marvin Gaye Musical Director Nolan Shaeed, before discovering his love of guitar, under the guidance of veteran Tonight Show guitarist Gary Bell. Also a skilled songwriter, Ross inked a deal with Emmy-winning songwriter Bob Hartry’s CatBeach Music Publishing earlier this year.
“Gyasi has a unique sound that blends elements of hip-hop, acoustic singer-songwriter and jazz into something that truly is his own expression,” says Jen Hartry, Co-Founder of CatBeach Music. “He has an ease and warmth about his performance that’s a reflection of his personality, which makes him a welcome addition to the CatBeach Music roster.”