A former RAF engineer has swapped “fears for nerves” to pursue a music career to support his family after years of seeing the mental health benefits.
Elgin resident Ross Smith has called time on the air force after 19 years of ensuring pilots were prepared with the necessary safety equipment before they embarked on vital missions around the world.
Now the single father is “looking forward” to seeing his three children more and the challenge of working as a full time musician.
Mr Smith said: “I have left the air force due to me being a full time single parent.
“I was a survival equipment fitter which meant that I looked after all the pilot flying gear like helmets, oxygen masks and other equipment as well.
“I served at Kinloss, Leuchars and Lossiemouth where I have been for the last six years.
“I got the opportunity to travel to a lot to places like Falklands, Afghanistan and Caribbean which I am really thankful for.
“I have suffered greatly with anxiety and music was always a coping mechanism.
“I think from a mental health standpoint songwriting is where I process stuff and every song I write is about a personal life experience which basically gets things off my chest and helps a lot.
“I will be looking to do weddings, private functions and social clubs once things settle down.”
He has gained confidence through performing in front of people at online bars including the Dundee-based Jim The Jannys which has 54,000 members.
He added: “I accidentally joined a virtual bar in Dundee which has already 54,000 members and this has helped me so much.
“I have went from being scared to perform in front of children to most weekends playing in front of hundreds online.
“It has helped so much and support has given me a bit of self belief which I never had.
“It used to be scared every time before I performed and now it is nerves rather than fears which is great.
“I have really enjoyed performing and the support has been superb.”
Mr Smith has his eyes set on releasing a EP and auditioning for talent shows like the Voice.
People can visit www.facebook.com/RossSmithmusik to listen to his music.