Queer musician Leith Ross on tour life in Dublin and rising to fame on TikTok

The singer-songwriter sat down with GCN ahead of the release of their debut album, To Learn.

Leith Ross posing with their guitar.

In early 2021, Leith Ross joined TikTok as a means to promote their music while the Covid-19 pandemic brought the in-person world to a halt. What started as a fun, creative pursuit from the comfort of their parents’ basement ultimately skyrocketed the artist to stardom, and GCN sat down with Ross as they said farewell to the Motherwell tour, playing their final date of the stint to a sold-out crowd in Dublin’s The Grand Social.

“Oh, I love Ireland,” they said as the interview began, also explaining they felt a real connection to the music culture here. With Irish grandparents and a Scottish mother, Ross was raised heavily on trad, a genre they remain incredibly inspired by and interested in.

Not their first time in Dublin, they mentioned that the audience here was their favourite from the previous tour. Keen to learn more about the capital’s LGBTQ+ scene, they also hilariously confessed having heard of Gay Spar.



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A post shared by Leith (@leith_ross)

A rising queer talent, Ross said their identity “entirely” impacts their music and career.

“Beyond my feelings about my gender and my sexuality, queerness as a politic and a lifestyle too is just very important to me. So, in general, I try to do everything that I do ever in life thinking about a queer perspective and community care and harm reduction and all those things, which are such a big part of queerness for me.”

Their need to connect with other LGBTQ+ folk during lockdowns was one of the factors that influenced their start on TikTok. The artist recalled: “I was bored out of my tree and also just needing distraction, I think, because everything was just so heavy at that time…It was just for shits and giggles. I just wanted to make some gay friends on the internet.”

It wasn’t long before Ross became a viral sensation, with a short clip of their song ‘We’ll Never Have Sex’ recording over 8.4 million views on the app. Due to its popularity, the artist released it as a single, which currently boasts almost 50 million streams on Spotify.


@leithross yeah &lt/3 &lt/3 &lt/3 thinking thoughts and thinking things, here is a song #hey #missu #urcool ♬ original sound – Leith Ross

Speaking about the experience of rising to fame on the platform, Ross said: “It’s super weird. I think it’s just the suddenness of it…The quickness of that song blowing up and then the amount of time between when that happened and then when I was signed and had agents and publishers and whatever, it was maybe like a month or two. So it was super high speed. I’m very, very grateful, but it also was super hard.”

Being somewhat of a home bird from a small town, the adjustment to tour life was also difficult for the musician.

“Being on the road is hard,” they explained. “I feel like it gets glamorised a lot, but it’s hard to be healthy and feel normal and have good mental health and all that stuff.” 

While Ross has some practices in place in order to aid their mental well-being, such as going outside for a long walk or doing emotional check-ins with their team, they said that playing the shows and “getting to see the faces of people that listen to the music” is really what makes it worthwhile.

For those who missed the Dublin show earlier this year, fret not, as Leith Ross is coming back to the capital on November 3. At the gig, the artist will be performing songs from their debut album, To Learn, which was released on May 19.



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A post shared by Leith (@leith_ross)

Ross described the record as “very cinematic at times” while also still possessing “the slow, mostly acoustic folky ballads” that listeners have become so fond of. Featuring tracks that many will already be familiar with, you can listen to the project now on all popular streaming platforms.

And if you can’t get enough of Leith Ross, tickets are still available for their Vicar Street show later this year and can be bought here.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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