Exclusive | Music | Entertainment News
An actress, activist, and businesswoman, Angelica Ross has already left her mark in several realms. In spite, she is placing her focus on a dream once deferred -- creating music. Her new single "Grand Theft Lover", produced by BeatsbyMantra and featuring Atlanta artist Mondaii, depicts how she feels love is a game. It is the latest release since her single "Purr" which debuted earlier this year.
During this round of creating, Ross took a different approach by enrolling in a songwriting course, led by award-winning R&B Artist H.E.R. "She had this songwriting class that she did on Studio.com," she shared in a Gaye Magazine exclusive.
"I was like 'you know what, why not?' Any time to improve my skills and it was such a great experience. One of my assignments was to approach songwriting with lyrics first. I knew I wanted to make a song that was just a playful play off of love being a game. "
In search of a collaboration for the single, Ross tells us she became an "instant fan" of Atlanta artist Mondaii in the process.
“I went to check him out and I heard one of his songs [called] “Honorable Mentions”, and holy shit! Like Mondaii is talking every rapper alive under the table in that song. I was like we gotta do something together.”
Angelica Ross and Mondaii would go on to mix and engineer “Grand Theft Lover" together. In addition to his artistry Mondaii’s production skills shined behind the scenes as well.
“Mondaii is a really talented artist and producer”, Ross said sincerely. “I’m lucky to have been working with him.” Mondaii produced for K. Michelle’s latest album ‘I’m the Problem’, which debuted at number 1 atop Billboard’s R&B charts.
Expressing herself musically is a big step for Angelica Ross, having to overcome fears and obstacles associated with her gender transition. She reflected on her Myspace days, singing and playing the guitar, but now emerges a newfound confidence.
"I never let go of the music and, you know, somewhere deep down inside, I always knew that that was my main passion, but I was so scared," she said.
I was just so scared as a trans person. I didn't know how to transition my voice yet, so I did not have the voice that I have now.
She continued, "I had to go through years of vocal training with my vocal coach, who also helped me get prepared for doing Roxy Hart in Chicago. I put in a lot, a lot of work to be ready right now, so I hope that people enjoy it; I hope people love Grand Theft Lover."
While "Grand Theft Lover" is a play on the renowned gaming franchise Grand Theft Auto, it isn't Ross' usual entertainment of choice.
"I decided to start playing Grand Theft Auto. That damn game is so violent", she said jokingly. "I think the first thing I had to do was like, I think, hold these people at gunpoint to get them to go into the bank or something like that so we could rob the bank...this is not for children, this [game] is for the gays and grown adults."
Ross shares she has a gaming system and plays tennis, Mortal Kombat, and adventure games, specifically noting her fondness of Hogwarts -- an action-role playing game based on the bestselling series "Harry Potter".
“Kalen Allen got me into that game. It’s not that I’m supporting J.K. Rowling”, Ross noted to us. “It’s just, you know, sometimes you want to be a kid.” Rowling has openly expressed her disdain for transgender women in the past, also reported by Gaye Magazine.
Ross provided Gaye with some details on "Grand Theft Lover's" composition and lyrical elements.
"One of the things obviously with the hook of the song, it's kind of a nod to PlayStation, it's like 'square one in a love triangle doing circles, still playing games with my ex'", she explained.
"Also, you know, growing up in the eighties, I love this eighties of the song, I mean I'm actually in love with it, I'm actually creating a couple of songs with this eighties vibe."
With electric pop, new wave, and the phasing out of disco, the 80s music era ushered in many sounds Ross could have borrowed from in her new single's development. Previous songs of Ross like "Purr" have embodied pop and runway-esque themes.
Meanwhile check out Angelica Ross' new single "Grand Theft Lover", available now on streaming platforms. Gayes, stay tuned for our song review!