Briar Ross

The debut album by vocalist Briar Ross came about by so called accident, says Briar. I have always suffered from an irrational fear of speaking in public, which I found rather annoying since I am quite vocal in small informal situations.

I had been working on this for a few years and decided it was time for a more concerted effort. I enrolled in a three month performance course that involved singing and giving three performances at a local cafe at the end of the course.

One evening during this time of a self imposed steep learning curve, I came home and started to write the lyrics of Just Do It. The next night I sang the melody into a cassette recorder. The song was born. It continues to be nurtured. As it turned out Briars voice was recognised by those at the course’s public performance as unusual and distinctive and very suited to jazz ballads in the style of Billie Holiday, Blossom Derie, Julie London etc.

Her friends were very enthusiastic and relieved. I think they were as nervous as I was says Briar, what were they going to say if I was dreadful!!

Briar met Julie Mason, a highly talented and respected pianist and continued to nudge fear barriers with occasional local gigs, then decided to make her own CD. Who was going to promote an unknown like her if she didn’t do it herself? The expert services of Andy Brown,(base), Frank Gibson Jnr(drums), Murray Tanner (Flugelhorn), Martin Winch (Guitar) and Phil Broadhurst as Producer were enlisted and the CD cut.

Without a record company backing, promoting a CD had its own challenges. With her day job as a Property Investor and Bed and Breakfast operator taking up most of her time, Briar focused on restaurants as a target market. This has proved very successful with many dining patrons requesting the CD. It’s thrilling to hear myself on various radio stations and also on the Air New Zealand Flight Jazz Channel, says Briar.

People really like it, says Briar, including people who would not consider themselves jazz fans, and that’s a real thrill for me. Slowly its getting out there, but I am hoping a record company will find it worthwhile to take me on.