Oct 13 2010 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge
A COATBRIDGE musician is set to release the first album from his own record label.
Ross Cooney, from Shawhead, is ready to unveil The Needle is the Haystack – the debut album from acclaimed London West End actress Frances Thorburn – which has been produced by his Street Jazz record label.
It marks another milestone in the music career of the 34-year-old, who began playing drums at the age of 12 and, by 15, was performing with Jools Holland on television.
By the age of 20, Ross had performed at Glastonbury and T in the Park, with his music also being featured on the Radio 1 Rap Show with Tim Westwood.
Ross explained how his love of music has brought him from performing to the brink of releasing the first album on his own record label.
“I was part of a punk band at school called the Dream Teddies and we entered a competition – Panasonic Rock School,” he recalled.
“Out of the hundreds who entered, we got to the final and won the Scottish leg of the competition at Glasgow University. We were one of eight bands who made it into the national final.
“It was sort of like an early X Factor-type competition but for bands who played live, the final was in London and we got to perform at the Hippodrome.
“It was broadcast on Channel 4 and on Sky. Among the judges were Latoyah Jackson, Jools Holland and DJ Bruno Brookes.”
The former St Bernard’s Primary pupil also managed to fit in graduating from Perth School of Music and Media, where he studied music performance and business.
On graduating, he entered a Radio 1 competition that was running in collaboration with Def Jam, the US rap label.
He continued: “When I was growing up in Coatbridge, I went down to the Shawhead Community Centre and there were guys there who could breakdance, so I learned how to breakdance.
“But then I thought about the samples in the music I was listening and dancing to, and where they came from.
“Some of the samples were from James Brown tracks, so that sort of led me into the world of jazz. Every style or genre is linked to another.
“I think I found my niche as a songwriter and for me, regardless of production, it’s more about the songs, whether that be pop, rock, jazz or soul.”
At the age of 21, Ross decided to have a go at management, and under his direction jazz-funk outfit The Soul Collective went on to perform for Prince Charles at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre. The band also featured regularly on Jazz FM and appeared at the Edinburgh Festival.
Ross said: “Serious Promotions, who are a big jazz promoter, called and basically asked us if we would appear at a charity concert for the Prince’s Trust.
“Nelson Mandela was there and after the event we met Prince Charles. He sent me a letter thanking us for taking part.”
When The Soul Collective were approached by V2 Records and offered a deal, Ross decided it was time to take the plunge into music management and launched his own company and record label, Street Jazz.
The company may be covering only musicians and artists at the present time but Ross is looking further ahead than that.
He said: “It’s not just about music, we’re looking at managing other things whether that be footballers or models.”
lFrances Thorburn will promote The Needle is the Haystack, which is available for from Download from ITunes/CD baby and amazon.co.uk, with a live performance at Glasgow’s Arches venue on November 1.