Had things taken a different turn, the only people that would have known the name Juke Ross would be those in need of an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. You see before Ross became a musician, he was headed down a medicinal path that would have led not to the stage, but to a physician’s practice.
Alas, the universe had other plans.
Initially wanting to follow his mother, a nurse, into a medical career, Ross hadn’t even picked up a guitar until he was in med school. Plucking and strumming away during his downtime, music began to take hold and he found himself not only getting comfortable jamming with the guitar but writing his own songs as well. The summer after his first year of med school he wrote “Colour Me” and his life, along with his life’s direction, changed drastically.
Ross went all in on music and med school became a thing of the past. In the six years since the self-described med school dropout’s independent single “Colour Me” caught fire, Ross has released a handful of singles and an EP which have amassed roughly 100 million Spotify streams. He has also hit the road performing in New York, at a sold-out Velvet Underground in Toronto, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. He also landed a coveted spot opening for Mark Knopfler on the European leg of his Farewell tour.
Now seizing the opportunity of the void left by bigger name artists choosing to hold back their new music releases, Ross released his latest album Chapter 2 in June of this year. As a result, music lovers have found themselves discovering the compilation’s unique combination of fourteen original songs paired with six of acoustic versions. Of the twenty tracks, the spotlight currently shines on “Higher.” More specifically, it shines on the acoustic take on the tune. Light, airy and full of hope, the stripped back track allows Ross’ vocals to stand front and center. Ironically written as the world barreled towards its Covid shutdown, Ross was writing from a point of optimism and emergence.
“I wrote “Higher” at the beginning of spring, just say the end of winter,” he remembers. “I just remember it being a very long winter and very cold, but finally things were changing, and I was just filled with bliss and huge amounts of optimism. I just remember going into the session with that feeling.”
In the newly released video, you’ll find Ross atop a rooftop in Brooklyn with a guitar in his hands overlooking what he finally feels to be his new home. He may not be your typical New Yorker, but he finally feels as though he belongs.
“I chose to shoot the acoustic live version for “Higher” on a rooftop in Brooklyn just because I’ve been in Brooklyn so long and usually I’d be missing home, but finally I began to feel at home in Brooklyn” surmised the Guyana, South America native. “It’s right around that time where I was just feeling awesome kind of looking forward to summer and spring and so on. Brooklyn is where I’ve been at since I’ve been in NY, so it’s been a really good time, I just wanted to shout out Brooklyn at the same time.”