For most, our weekly to-do lists usually consist of a laundry list of different tasks… Including laundry. For prolific, multi-honoured British singer-songwriter Fiona Ross, her’s always features something music-related, including one recent week devoted entirely to creating new music. Now, she’s treating us to its beautiful results with her brand-new EP, 7 Songs in 7 Days — available now.
Productivity is not a problem for this highly accomplished multi-award-winning music maker. To clear out the remnants from writing and recording her latest, big production and Global Music Award-winning full-length release, Red Flags and High Heels, Ross took on this new project as an ambitious palate cleanser.
“7 Songs in 7 Days is exactly that!” Ross explains. “Each time I work on an album, I seem to get bigger and bigger with the instrumentation, and having just finished my Red Flags and High Heels album, my head is already full of big brass sections and string orchestras…
“So, I wanted to pull myself back a bit before I started, and I tasked myself with writing seven songs over seven days — all acoustic, simple, straightforward, and nothing fancy.”
Hearing a song in its rawest, stripped-down form is perhaps the most vital and honest listening experience one can receive. On 7 Songs in 7 Days, Fiona Ross lays it all down and leads the way with piano and vocal, accompanied only by guitarist Gibbi Bettini, who also engineered the new EP, and trumpeter Dave Boa.
“I wanted to sort of go back to my songwriting roots, just me and my piano,” she says. “So, I sat down on a Monday and wrote a track each day for a week and the result is this album. A week in my songwriting head.”
Of course, getting started can be the most challenging part of a new project. So, Ross allowed the music to flow first before song lyrics began to arrive — while also allowing the second track “#TuesdayThoughts” the space to be solely instrumental.
“At the beginning, I had some musical ideas but didn’t know what I wanted to say, but by Wednesday I seemed to find some lyrics and thoughts.”
Ross’s #wednesdaywisdom song places her right in the middle of some deep mid-week thinking and self-reflection. “‘The Choices You Made #wednesdaywisdom’ is just a simple song about reflection and accountability,” she explains. “I think we all sometimes look back and wonder why we did things, but at the end of the day, they are our choices and we must always be accountable – for the good choices and the bad ones.”
Jump to the end of Ross’s writing week and things are getting groovy for the weekend. “‘The Best Version of Me #fridayfeeling’: I must admit I love the groove on this and already have this mapped out for a full band version. It started out as a piano track but went with guitar in the end as well, it just sounded better on guitar!”
Her Saturday and Sunday songs on the new EP offer the perfect individual vibes for the two very different days.
“‘When You Walked into the Room #saturdaynight’ is about that time when someone in the room captures your attention, everyone’s attention, and takes over the room but then it turns out it was all pretend – arrogance,” says Ross. “You know, that ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ thing. It happens all the time. There is no need.”
“‘Take Time To Breathe #Sundaymorning’. This really is about just that. Taking time out, a moment to breathe. We all know we should but make excuses as to why we can’t take time out, but it’s important. The irony is that me taking time out to breathe was writing a song about it!
“Some of these songs will appear in my next full-band album, so some people might find it interesting to see how some of my songs develop,” says the recently named International Female Songwriter of the Year by the International Singer-Songwriters Association
Ross innovatively includes social media hashtags in the titles of all seven songs on the new EP as a nod to being a regular Twitter user. “I tweet quite a bit and always start the day with a good morning tweet with an appropriate hashtag,” she explains. “So, I have mapped each song to a Twitter hashtag. They’re ones I use all the time just for fun, as this album really is just about how I was feeling at the time, on each day.”
A multi-faceted artist and multi-skilled professional, Ross could also devote each day of the week and more to just one of her numerous creative and business pursuits. She’s a music journalist who founded the groundbreaking and award-winning organization, Women in Jazz Media, which develops and supports initiatives for mentoring and promoting women in jazz music around the world. Ross is also the former Head of the British Academy of New Music where she trained chart-topping hitmakers Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Jess Glynne, and more.
With 7 Songs in 7 Days, Fiona Ross heads back to her first love of sitting down at the piano and letting her muse map out a musical journey.