Kevin Ross had never felt more alive. The singer had gone from performing once every three months to opening for R&B/Soul legend Maxwell five times a week, and his nostalgia-flecked, soul-drenched repertoire resonated with audiences. In demand, he swiftly released an EP (Dialogue in the Grey) boasting features from Ne-Yo and T.I., produced and performed a song for a national commercial (Glade) and was tapped for a spot on Ne-Yo’s sold-out tour—all in the same year. He’d been praying, asking if he should really be an artist, and the answer seemed to be a resounding “yes.”
And then suddenly, Ross found himself in a career desert.
“It felt dark and dismal to have this great peak, then sink again. I didn’t know what was next” the Washington, D.C. native says now. “But someone told me that to be great, you have to go through great things—not just great wins, but great tragedy. It’s about getting back into the fight no matter how dinged up you get.”
In the wake of that struggle, Ross has emerged stronger and more determined than ever. Praised by ABC as having an “expansive, entrancing and enigmatic modern R&B style,” the singer was named “Best New R&B Artist” of 2014 by AOL and was the ASCAP’s 2016 Rhythm and Soul Award Winner. He’s been featured on NBA spots, Grey’s Anatomy and called a “one-man quartet” by okayplayer. “Long Song Away,” a love song that’s kissed by Ross’ sweet vocals and just begging for a slow dance, quickly racked up almost half a million views on Youtube, cracked Top 3 on Urban Adult Contemporary radio. And he shows no signs of backing down: To the delight of his 100,000+ followers on Facebook and 71,000+ followers on Instagram, this year he’ll head back out on tour with another one of R&B’s most promising ones-to-watch, Ro James.