It wasn’t all that long ago that Liam Ross was a student at Southridge High School in Kennewick, closing in on graduation.
Now he’s an ocean away, closing in on the musical success he’s been dreaming about for years.
Ross, 19, is part of the international pop band Over Atlantic, which recently released its first single, What Do I Gotta Do, and has an EP set to come out this spring.
The band is playing several headline shows in the United Kingdom and will take off on a UK/European tour in support of Warner Bros. Records artist Jake Miller later this month.
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“It’s very exciting,” said Ross’ mom, Suzanne McCleary of Kennewick. “We’re so excited for him.”
Ross plays lead guitar and sings in Over Atlantic. He and his bandmates came together over the Internet.
Here’s how Ross tells it: “I had a few bands growing up, but the most serious one was during high school, around junior year, called Take 28. We posted a music video on YouTube, and a few months later I got in contact with a couple people who wanted to start this (new) project,” he wrote in an email to the Herald.
Ross was put in touch with another young musician, Sean Killeen of England, who sings and plays guitar.
They talked over Skype, then met in person in Los Angeles. “We wrote a few songs and everything just clicked,” Ross said.
Soon, the rest of the band was in place — Charlie Jones of England on vocals and guitar, Trevor Cash of Missouri on vocals and bass, and Gabriel Gomér of Sweden on drums.
After graduating from Southridge High in 2016, Ross flew back to Los Angeles, “and we’ve been writing and playing shows ever since,” he said.
Ross grew up in Kennewick, attending Southgate Elementary School and Horse Heaven Hills Middle School before becoming a Southridge Sun.
He showed musical gifts early, learning to play guitar from his grandfather, Jack McCleary, as a kid.
“Anytime I came to my grandparents’ house, my grandpa, cousins and I always jammed on guitar,” Ross said.
He eventually took lessons, and then kept up guitar playing on his own. As a teenager, he played at Tri-City venues from Ray’s Golden Lion to the fair.
He’s having a great time with Over Atlantic, he said.
“For me, the atmosphere (of performing) is my favorite part. Also I just love the rush you get when you come out on stage and look at all these new faces,” he said.
The only drawback, he joked, is when he throws guitar picks out into the crowd, “because I usually hit someone in the face.”
Suzanne McCleary said it’s been fun to watch her son chase his dream.
She and Ross’ dad, David Ross of Kennewick, and sister, Bella, a junior at Southridge, saw the group perform in Salt Lake City a while back.
“Because they’re all from different places, it makes them a different kind of band,” McCleary said. “They’re good friends and they bonded. The parents — we have a parent chat. It’s become really a fun thing.”
Ross also has an older brother, Zac, in Olympia, and many relatives back home in the Tri-Cities.
He has no plans to slow down.
“The obvious hope is to keep growing our fan base and be the best we can be,” he said. “But I’d also say, (the hope is) just to write and produce songs with as much creativity as we can in the music industry and give the people something new and fresh to make our impact on the world.”