‘Don’t let the old man in’ says Ross Learmonth in his new single ‘Young’

Musician Ross Learmonth. Supplied image.

Musician Ross Learmonth. Supplied image.

Published Mar 4, 2023


Johannesburg - Ross Learmonth’s face beams with excitement.

The front-man of award-winning rock band Prime Circle has been hard at work on his new solo album “Carousel”.

Learmonth admits he has been obsessing over the songs on the album, and now to see it all finally coming to fruition is a special feeling.

Although Carousel is only set to be released at the end of this month, Learmonth has released one of the songs that feature on the new album, called “Young” which he says he has been itching to share with his fans.

“Delighted is an understatement,” he told The Saturday Star this week.

“I’ve had these songs in my pocket for a long time, been working on them, obsessing over them and it is an amazing feeling having ‘Young’ out.”

“Young”, released last week, is a sing-along that encourages living in the moment and remaining young at heart.

“It is a song to celebrate the moment by not allowing time to dictate our age and how we perceive ourselves in this short but beautiful time we have on this planet. It is about remaining young at heart, not letting yourself get caught up in a silly thing like age. Enjoying every moment and keeping the kid in us all alive and well. In short, I guess, we realise how quickly life passes us by and we need to remember the following: Don’t let the old man in.”

Musician Ross Learmonth. Supplied image.

Learmonth, himself, says it took him a long time to realise how important it was to live in the moment.

“It took for the world to ‘end’ to give me a totally different perspective. Stepping off the stage and taking a much-needed rest was what enabled me to approach life differently and I made a number of big lifestyle adjustments. I got sober, I started running which has now led to a lifestyle around health and fitness and I feel a decade younger for it.

“We’re always so focused on the next thing and chasing something, but we need to slow down, be present, remain young at heart, and truly stay in the moment.”

Learmonth admits that in the past, he spent way too much time focusing on stress and negative energy.

Musician Ross Learmonth. Supplied image.

“In the past I’ve focused a lot on stress and negative energy, but life means too much to allow that negative stuff to hold power over you. It takes practice ... but there has been a big shift in mindset and my approach. Looking at things with excitement as opposed to the potential stress a situation may offer.”

He says he hopes that his single serves as motivation to South Africans who find themselves fighting battles.

“I think if one thing has been proven about South Africans it is that we are resilient and always manage to see a light at the end of the tunnel - even if it’s candlelight. We will keep pushing forward. There are a lot of things that we need to face down and hopefully fix and to deliver a song that could put a smile on a face or help us realise not to take things too seriously but living in the moment is always going to be a good thing.”

“Young” incorporates piano, something that Learmonth has wanted to do for a very long time.

“One of my dreams was to play the piano so during lockdown I took the opportunity and I have truly loved learning this incredible instrument and ‘Young' was a product of this journey. This, along with a lot of conversations with my father who takes ‘don’t let the old man in’ rather seriously. He’s extremely young at heart and I hope to follow that example. Young was written relatively quickly, one of those songs that if you pay attention you can catch it but to land the trick of the song in terms of sound and journey took about a month to know it was ‘right’.”

Musician Ross Learmonth. Supplied image.

He says he cannot wait for his fans to hear “Carousel”.

The solo album is a journey of living in the moment, realising one’s faults in relationships and moving past previous bounds and escaping into the unknown. Allowing oneself to break free and let the cards fall where they may. There is a romance in the unknown and allowing yourself to get caught up in it.

“I pulled influences from all corners of the music world including from the likes of Sia, Keane, Coldplay, The Strokes to solo artists such as Brandon Flowers and Harry Styles.”

Learmonth says life as a solo artist has been an adjustment.

“You have to become your own sounding board, which means trusting yourself more. I made sure I was expanding my musical experience and ability. It's been an amazing new feeling, trying to balance the two (solo and Prime Circle) can be quite tricky but I’ve loved chasing down songs in a new way and with a completely different mindset.

“I’ve also really enjoyed creating a completely new narrative, a new show and watching it come to life at shows has been amazing - more so to watch it land with the fans, that's been really special.”

The singer has toyed with the idea of singing solo for years and says the band was relieved that he finally did.

“I think its timing is right. I am in the right frame of mind. It most certainly isn’t an easy thing to do. You’ve got to grab the wheel with both hands - a lot more goes into it, a lot more focus but it truly is so rewarding and discovering a new side of myself has been really enjoyable to explore and terrifying at the same time.

“I’ve written songs for years that were going to be solo songs and ended up on prime records. With this I wanted to write something that felt and sounded completely different and I think I’ve achieved that but have kept it authentically me.”

While his solo career has well and truly taken off, Learmonth says he is also hard at work with Prime Circle.

“We’re still playing together and have a number of shows lined up for the next few months.”

The Saturday Star