Katie Ross performs on piano at a show earlier this year. Ross, a 2012 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, recently had her song "Sailing Ships" released on iTunes. Ross also is working on an album expected to debut in the fall.
Steamboat Springs musician Katie Ross continues happy ride toward stardom
The song was an instant hit, garnered Ross a standing ovation at the 2012 Steamboat Springs High School graduation and put her budding music career on the map.
Then January hit.
Ross has been navigating the uneasy and often unsteady roads of the music industry while attending the University of Colorado. “Sailing Ships” recently hit iTunes, Spotify and Amazon on Memorial Day, and the young singer and pianist has plans for a four- or five-song EP in the fall.
“It’s definitely been out of this world,” Ross said. “It felt like it wasn’t my music. When I realize it was my music, it would floor me. When I realize I’ve met so many different people from different walks of music, it floors me.”
Ross started to see her budding career take a turn earlier this year. She met a fellow student at CU who was an intern for Sofar Sounds. The music company put her video on its site, where it garnered more attention.
From there she played with Denver funk band Bop Skizzum, where she impressed trumpet player Joe Ferrone. Ferrone, of the Flobots, liked what he heard and immediately got her in the recording studio.
In collaboration with Coupe Studios in Boulder, Ross and Ferrone started to put together the seeds of an album.
The first order, though, was releasing “Sailing Ships” and getting it to market. Ross, who wrote the song and played piano while Nissa Parker played cello, went to the studio. Parker was out of the country, so Ross recorded the song with members of the Colorado Symphony.
“It was a whole new take on it,” Ross said. “It was insane to see how it came out.”
But as much as things have progressed, the other side of music has presented itself. Ross also was approached by a producer in Westminster who wanted to work with her. But after time in a studio, Ross wasn’t keen on moving her musical compass toward a poppy sound.
She also was approached by several Dubstep artists to collaborate, but she realized she wanted to keep her acoustic integrity.
“To not jump on the first few opportunities is hard because it’s so exciting,” she said. “I had no knowledge of the industry before this. I just played music.”
Ross, who also turned down overtures to move to Tennessee to record and to be on “America’s Got Talent,” said she’s enjoying the process.
She has planned shows in Denver and Boulder when she gets back to school and will also perform locally this summer.
She’s looking forward to her sophomore year in Boulder, where she is studying creative writing and film. All the while, her fan base continues to grow. If a music career is in the future, so be it.
“If it’s worth it and it’s supposed to happen,” she said, “it’ll be around.”