Jazz artist and former head of Ed Sheeran’s school releases fifth album

Fiona Ross

Fiona Ross studied at the Arts Educational School and went on many years later to become head of the British Academy of New Music where she trained Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Jess Glynne. - Credit: Alexander Barnes-Ross

A contemporary jazz artist who was brought up in Brentwood has released her fifth album and says it offers “something for everyone”.  

Fiona Ross believes her new album 'Red Flags and High Heels' is refreshingly “relatable” and “nothing too complicated” in its delivery of “feel good” music. 

The name of the album represents alarm bells (red flags) in the sense of questions you don’t yet have the answer to and confidence (high heels) to portray life's ups and downs. 

A former teacher to stars such as Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Jess Glynne, Fiona prefers to claim no credit for their success, saying she was “only head of the school” while they attended the British Academy of New Music. 

Having grown up in Brentwood, Fiona says her “turning point” as a musician was working at its Central School of Dance. 

Here she played piano, aged 14 to 15, for its ballet classes which she said helped her to “improvise”.   

At 15 she went on to sing backing vocals for a rock band called 'Rocking Willie and the Y-Fronts'. 

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Destined for a life of showbiz, Fiona secured her first acting job aged two in a film called Secret Places, which was shot at Brentwood School, and she also began learning the piano aged six.  

Fiona Ross

Fiona says her latest album features a mix of “depressing ballads” and “feel good grooves”. - Credit: Steven Tiller

Fiona’s new album centres itself on its creation during lockdown, and she says it is about “settling into this new way of life”.  

Songs have been inspired by both the “ups and downs of life” which include lockdown, working as a musician and having “time out of normal life”, which she said allowed her to “reflect on things”.  

Unable to single out a favourite song from the 10 tracks and four bonus tracks which make up the album, Fiona says it offers listeners “all different flavours” with some “ballads, funky Latin jazz and proper jazz”. 

Fiona added: “I think some people are turned off of jazz because they think it's upper class, but it isn’t.  

“My jazz is what people say is accessible, upbeat, relatable and nothing too complicated, it’s a feel-good jazz and I am thankful people don’t compare me to anyone."

However, the album also offers “complicated jazz” amongst “depressing ballads” and “feel good grooves”, according to Fiona, who hopes to perform her music in Brentwood in the new year.  

The album can be listened to on all music platforms and a physical copy can be bought at fionarossjazz.bandcamp.com/album/red-flags-and-high-heels