Never underestimate the therapeutic power of driving and listening to very loud music.” That’s a recent tweet from this 19 year-old musical phenom named Sarah Ross, and it pretty much describes the lifestyle for mudders all over the country. Whether she’s recording her edgy songs in the studio with Average Joes Entertainment (the only female on the roster, by the way) or back home on her family’s 240-acre New Jersey farm, this girl knows how to lay down catchy tracks. She’s a true slice of “country bred” who loves to ride ATVs with her family when she’s not in recording.
At the young age of 17, Sarah Ross wowed American Idol judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson with her rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song.” Before her audition had ended she knocked them all for a loop with an incredible version of Nicki Minaj’s rap “Super Bass.” This triple-threat singer/actress/dancer is Mud Girl–cute and extremely talented. She can rework a song like Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” to add her own kind of sass, and she totally owns it! After a few tweaks and changes, out slides an extremely unique groove like nothing else out there.
She intelligently points out that “our new generation has an ear for a variety of music—so why make them choose?” Sarah’s fresh edge is quickly drawing a new fan base, including folks who never knew they liked “country music.” This future star is proving that, yes, we can have our cake and eat it too. Her newest single, “Shotgun,” hits the bull’s-eye and is as rogue as anything Sarah has done thus far. She co-wrote the song with Mallary Hope and Charlie Farley, and it debuts in May 2014 on the new Mud Digger 5 album. We caught up with Sarah to find out a little bit more about this girl and her “hitch-n-giddy-up” style.
Questions and answers with Sarah Ross
Mud Life: Hey Sarah, we loved your tweet and couldn’t agree more. Who do you listen to for “therapy”?
Sarah Ross: Everything. I listen to anything from Hank Williams, Colt Ford, LoCash Cowboys, Moonshine Bandits, and The LACS to Nicki Minaj. I like everything. My parents used to listen to Linda Ronstadt and that era, so I grew up listening to it all.
ML: And what kind of truck do you drive?
Sarah: I have a Toyota Tundra, and when I’m home I’m on the ATVs (Yamahas) . . . and the horses. Tonka is a new horse. I just love that horse. I am all about that Tonka.
ML: You’re out in blueberry country—240 acres, wow!
Sarah: Yes! It’s the blueberry capital. My cousins have a blueberry farm next to our property.
ML: You ever tempted to take the ATVs out and mash it up in the berry fields?
Sarah: Yes. Actually I was just home and I wanted to take the cousins out—we tie ropes off on the four-wheelers and pull them around. We were out having a great time, everything was all covered in snow, and I noticed a new “hill” that hadn’t been there before. Well, come to find out too late that it was a pile of horse manure.
ML: Oh, that made you the popular cousin!
Sarah: Yeah, not so much! We have fun though. It’s pretty there.
ML: Can you see the stars?
Sarah: Yes! You can see the stars out there. We are only about 30 minutes from Atlantic City, but it’s really out in the country.
ML: So, you’re Italian. What’s in the fridge?
Sarah: Pasta! Always pasta. I love it. My grandma, MomMom, makes the best pasta and gravy—we call it gravy where I’m from. We have a big family and every Sunday we all get together for MomMom’s pasta.
ML: You must miss that now that you’re in Nashville.
Sarah: I do. And I miss my dog, Molly. She’s a Cairns Terrier. I had to leave her at home when I moved.
ML: How do you like Nashville? Are you settling in?
Sarah: I love it! It’s the best move ever. Really, the best move. The people are so nice. And you have the city, but then all these pretty rolling hills. We were just outside the city making the “Shotgun” video and it was surreal, the greens and yellows. The pictures I took almost look Photoshopped.
ML: Watching you perform on American Idol (season 12) it is pretty evident that you are a girl who is comfortable in her own skin. What, no butterflies?
Sarah: Oh, I was nervous. I changed my songs at the last minute.
ML: Maybe that distracted you from the moment; you were flawless. Speaking of butterflies, any significant other who gives you butterflies, anyone special at the moment?
Sarah: No, no one at the moment. I’ve been busy focusing on my music, writing, and an album in-work.
ML: Your biggest passion? Travel, four-wheelin’, pasta . . .?
Sarah: Music! Of course, music. My parents were a big encouragement. They got me the big speakers and the big mikes, and I used to spend all day in my room with my music. I gave up a scholarship for college for this. People were asking, “So what’s your backup plan, girl?” I said, “This is my backup plan.”
ML: Besides your parents, who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?
Sarah: Sal Dupree, my voice coach. He has always been supportive. I’ve learned so much from him.
ML: You are definitely charting new territory, with your unique style. Speaking of new territory, more and more girls are getting out in the mud in rigs of their own these days. Any chance we’ll soon see you out, say, taking on the infamous pit in Waverly, Tennessee?
Sarah: Oh, I definitely have to go check that out!
We’re all listening and waiting to see what’s next for Sarah. Her future’s so bright she’s gotta wear shades! To find out what she is up to, follow her on Twitter @SarahRossMusic, like her on Facebook (Facebook.com/SarahRossMusic), and look for the Mud Digger 5 disc release May 20, 2014. For a free autographed 8x10 photo of Sarah Ross, plus a free download of Sarah’s new song “Shotgun” on the Mud Digger 5 album, go to averagejoesent.com/sarahross.
Special Thanks To:
Average Joes Entertainment