Meet Elvin Ross

Hahnville native doubles as musical director for film and television

By Heather R. Breaux
June 04, 2008 at 3:11 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

ELVIN ROSS. This composer’s work can be heard in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion and the TV hit House of Payne.
Photo provided by Elvin Ross
ELVIN ROSS. This composer’s work can be heard in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion and the TV hit House of Payne.
The next time you watch a film directed by Tyler Perry listen closely to the melodies that carry you from scene to scene, because those musical compositions are the work of Hahnville’s Elvin Ross.

Ross first developed a love for music as a child. His mother, Frozine Francis, taught him how to play the piano, and for many years he performed for churches and community choirs across St. Charles Parish.

“My mother developed and protected my gift of music,” said Ross. “She gave me piano lessons and screened everyone who was interested in me playing for them.”

Ross, 38, has made great strides since his days as a local performer. After all, his ability to make the piano sing is what landed him the role of Perry’s top musical director for the past 11 years.

“I didn’t start traveling to perform until a man named Terry Gullage came into my life,” said Ross. “He was part of the Avondale Community Choir.”

Ross learned a variety of different musical techniques while under the direction of Gullage, and eventually was recognized and hired by the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans.

“I played keyboard there for seven years,” said Ross. “Then I decided to move to Atlanta and that’s where I met Tyler Perry.”

Although the two fellow Louisianians were only pews apart at Greater St. Stephen, they never met until their introduction in Atlanta.

“We hit if off right away,” said Ross. “He was a starving artist at the time, but had really big dreams. We became friends and have been working together ever since.”

Ross’ resume includes scores written for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion and House of Payne - all of which were directed by Perry.

Ross says that the highlights of his career have been writing his first film composition for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and creating and producing Gospel Dream - a parallel to American Idol for Christians.

“I created Gospel Dream in 2003 and it premiered on Black Entertainment Television,” said Ross. “The show broke household viewership records for BET and now airs exclusively on the Gospel Music Channel.”

But that’s not all. Ross’ musical ambition has not only taken him from the television scene to the film screen, it’s also put him behind the desk as chief executive officer and founder of SONHO Entertainment - SONHO meaning to dream in Portuguese.

“I am the founder and CEO SONHO Entertainment and all my musical works and copyrights are governed by the company,” said Ross.

Ross’ entertainment company also represents the new-on-the-scene girl group called SONDAY.

“SONDAY is a group of three sisters that I am developing as artists,” said Ross.

Ross says that his ultimate goal is to produce his own films and television shows for multiple networks and film companies, regardless of the amount of hard work.

“The easiest aspect of my job is creating music,” said Ross. “The hardest part is the technical side like composing music for a specific amount of time.”

But most of Ross’ family and friends would agree that all his hard work has paid off.

“The best moment in my career was when I watched Gospel Dream on television for the first time with my brother Brenden a few weeks before he died,” said Ross. “He was so very proud and excited and he kept watching it the program over and over.”

Ross’ list of awards includes recognition from organizations like the Jazz and Heritage Festival, the NAACP, the Telly Award and the ASCAP Award for outstanding music for House of Payne.

“For me it (success) has been God’s favor,” said Ross. “But you need to be great at what you do and then even better than that.”

“My advice to those interested in getting involved in the music industry is to have great character, perseverance and the ability to be innovative as well as creative,” said Ross. “Always do business on top of the table and be honest.”

Tyler Perry and Elvin Ross
       



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