The singer-songwriter and guitarist from Manotick, a small town near the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, is an indie musician with roots in folk. Ross released an EP, “Motherwell,” in 2020, but their career started gaining traction when the song “We’ll Never Have Sex” went viral on TikTok in the summer of 2021.
Ross’s debut album, “To Learn” (Republic Records), came out on May 19, and now “The First Leith Ross Tour Ever: North America Edition” makes a stop for a sold-out date at the Sinclair in Cambridge Wednesday.
Ross spoke with the Globe from a tour bus in North Carolina — rejoining three times due to spotty reception — to discuss growing up in a conservative town, the fear of missing out, and what it means to be “sensitive and overly artistic.”
Q. What sparked your interest in songwriting?
A. I was raised in a music-loving household, there was always music playing. I just fell in love with songwriting as a concept for how to describe the world. When I started experiencing things that I wanted to talk about, it became one of the first ways that I did it.
Q. “Tommy” from your EP is a tribute to your late grandfather. You sing, “His music in my bones and in my body when I was built.” How did he play a role in your love of music?
A. He would always be in the corner of the living room, playing mandolin or fiddle or the guitar or the piano since I was a tiny little baby. I think just growing up around somebody playing and loving music really set me up for it to be an important relationship in my life.
Q. What was growing up in a small, conservative town like?
A. Thankfully, my parents and my close family are very wonderful people and definitely did not hold the beliefs of [other people where I grew up]. So I didn’t feel too ostracized, but there was just a lack of understanding of what the world was like.
Q. Your website bio says you’re “sensitive and overly artistic.” What does that mean to you, and how is it a part of your music?
A. Basically, I weep at every single thing that happens to me. I just feel everything very, very strongly, whether it’s good or bad, and that definitely factored into my songwriting. I will have a feeling that is so intense, I need to write about it and what happened in like half an hour.
Q. Who are some of your favorite music artists?
A. Currently, it’s mostly my friends [like] Boy Golden. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by an incredible community of musicians, and they all inspire me so much.
Q. Tell me about the line, “I miss everyone I’ve never met” from “Everyone I’ve Never Met.”
A. I was feeling pretty isolated, and I’m a very anxious person. Sometimes I have a really hard time leaving the house and taking the initiative to go out and be social. I was thinking about all the things that I might miss out on if I don’t learn how to do that better.
Q. What is your favorite song you’ve written?
A. This song called “Grieving.” It’s not out yet, but it’s very special to me. It’s about grief and how it affects the way that you live and the way that you love people you haven’t lost yet.
Q. Your debut album is titled “To Learn.” What were you learning?
A. A lot about myself and my relationship to the world. That album covers a time where I experienced a couple of pretty hard things. It helped me learn about how to cope and how to move forward. It’s almost a coming of age or coming of adulthood time period. I was learning so much about everything.
Q. Tell me about your experience as a nonbinary person in the music industry.
A. There’s obviously a lot of misgendering and misunderstanding and having some pretty weird social interactions to be able to do my job. But that being said, I am very lucky [and] very privileged to have a team of people around me that help and advocate for me. That’s not the case for a lot of people.
Q. Along with “Grieving,” what new music are you working on?
A. I write a lot, and I have a lot sitting in my Voice Memos. I’m hoping to get on recording the new record pretty soon, and almost anything could be on it.
Q. What do you hope people gain from your music?
A. If it improves [people’s lives] in any way, even for a second, I’m totally happy with that.
Interview was edited and condensed.
Maddie Browning can be reached at email@example.com.