Steamboat Springs On Sunday night, Katie Ross was a freshly graduated aspiring singer and songwriter about to embark on the next stage of her life.
On Monday morning, she woke up in an overwhelming world of Internet fame.
A song that she and fellow student Nissa Parker had recorded several days earlier was viewed more than 100,000 times that night on YouTube and has garnered almost a quarter million more views since then.
The song, “Sailing Ships,” which Ross wrote specifically to perform for Steamboat Springs High School’s graduation ceremony June 2, was posted on social news sharing website Reddit, Huffington Post Teen and KVDR Denver throughout the week, garnering hundreds of thousands of viewers for the piano/cello duo’s song.
“I guess it’s just really overwhelming,” Ross said Friday. “I don’t know how to put words to it. It feels like two different worlds. And I’ve been recognized in Safeway, so that’s the link between the Internet world and Steamboat.”
After a standing ovation at the graduation ceremony and a whirlwind of Facebook shares, Ross said her phone has been ringing off the hook.
“At first, I thought (someone) took my video and made a parody of it that was getting all these hits,” she said.
But the heartfelt song and its wistful cello riffs had many commenters begging for more music from the young duo.
“It feels really good,” Ross said. “It’s just kind of confirmation that a lot of people who have always told me nice things were not crazy, I guess.”
Despite the graduation performance being taped, it was the low-quality practice video she and Parker made on a whim that garnered the viral status. Ross’ lyrics use the imagery of a ship sailing away to articulate the bittersweet virtues of graduating from high school. Ross plays piano in the piece, and the pair wrote the cello part together.
“I’ve played with Nissa so many times, and she just brings a song to life,” Ross said.
Ross, who also goes by Kate Brady, has been writing songs since her pre-teens and singing as long as she can remember.
For the past two years, she has played and recorded with Jam Sesh, an after-school jam and youth group program. She’s also a member of On the Fritz, a reggae rock band comprising a few former Steamboat students that made the Denver Battle of the Bands finals this spring.
Ross said when Parker returns from a trip next week, the pair plans to record “Sailing Ships” to sell on iTunes.
She also plans to record with On the Fritz before she begins college in the fall at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she will be studying music.
While she’s gotten several calls and emails about future possibilities, Ross said she doesn’t plan to change course too much.
“This is just a phase, I think,” she said about the worldwide attention to the song. “We’ll see what happens with it. I’ve always planned to continue playing, but it really will just open doors for whatever I want to do.”