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Singer-songwriter divas run amuck and plenty in today’s musical climate, but few stand out so drastically from the pop lexicon as the Philly-based Rozes.
The 23-year-old singer has made leaps and bounds since her breakthrough hit “Everything” met rave reviews in September of 2014. She’s been compared to the likes of Banks and Lana, but really these roots stem from entirely different sonic waters.
Electro-tinged pop lulls and lilts, shimmering and exploding like a shape-shifting bed of musical roses for her voice to blossom out of. At once jazzy, crystalline, and always soulful, Rozes belts melodies of breathtaking beauty that leave ears ringing long after the song is over.
With the release of her EP “Burn Wild” expected early this year, BTR sat down with the young songwriter to talk about her rapid rise to success, and what it’s taken to get there.
BTRtoday (BTR): Tell me a little bit about how you first started your passion for performing and for songwriting.
Roses (R): I was always into music. I grew up in choirs and my parents put me in piano lessons at six and violin lessons too. My older brothers are in a band called Bel Air, and I really look up to them because they’re older and I idolize them. Listening to them, I started thinking, “Oh man, I’d love to write music.” And then I went through a bad breakup in high school, so that’s when I really started to dig deep into writing and began expressing my emotions through music. It actually ended up saving me in the long run.
BTR: It’s crazy how those really intense moments of heartbreak and loss can often be the catalyst for some of the most positive kind of creative changes in people’s lives.
R: Yeah, completely.
BTR: So did you ever end up jamming and performing with your brothers before or since you became a songwriter?
R: Yeah. I write with my brothers all the time. And when they play shows sometimes they decide they’re gonna do a cover, like a Katy Perry cover or whatever, but I mean they are really what brought me into performing too because they’re the first concert I went to. You know?
I was always into theater, so I was never really onstage by myself. I always had a cast around me. Whether I had a solo or not, there were always people around me. Then I started thinking that I would really love to just take the stage on my own.
BTR: You’re originally from Philly, right?
R: Yes, I am. I’m from the suburbs of Philly.
BTR: I’m curious what your experience was like, with the music scene there, in that city, and then how it compares to places you’ve been since.
R: Philly is a lot more low key and intimate than, say, New York or LA. I’ve noticed it’s a more close-knit community. We really do know everybody else in the industry that’s in Philly. However small or big they are, you really do know them and where their shows are and that kind of thing. Whereas in New York, it’s like your best friend could be playing one night and you wouldn’t even know. It’s so big and fast-paced, it’s just hard to keep up with.
BTR: It really can be, but it seems you’ve grown a lot from exploring those places. How about some artists that inspire you most?
R: I’m very big into jazz, so I would say Ella Fitzgerald. I grew up with her. Also, Amy Winehosue, Adele, Alecia Keys, Sarah Bareilles, Mikki Echo, Fleetwood Mac, Gwen Stefani.. it’s kind of a wide range. I really love writers and I really love emotional people.
BTR: So how about your songwriting process? Is it something that’s the same each time, does it change, how do you go about it?
R: It varies. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. Sometimes I’ll just sit down on the piano and I’ll be like, “Oh, I feel like writing a song.” I won’t even be feeling some type of way; I’ll just feel like I wanna write a song and then something will just flow out of me. Or other times I’ll be angry or frustrated or upset in some way, and I’ll feel like it’s the perfect time for me to write something. Other times I’ll just wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll think of a lyric and then I have to write it down, you know? Relatively speaking, I’ll feel emotional and then I channel something.
BTR: You’ve been working on your new EP “Burn Wild.” What has the process been like so far?
R: It’s actually been a long process. The album has been in the works for about a year and a half now, and I think we just decided to make it an EP. It’s gonna be all of my releases packaged into one, plus a bonus track or two. It’s almost like it’s telling its own story, because at the time of each song’s original release I was in so many different, specific relationships and friendships. When I listen to it I can basically picture what happened to me over the course of that year and a half.
BTR: And I imagine the material, along with you, must have changed quite a bit as you were going about this.
R: Yeah, completely. I’ve definitely become a stronger person, inside and out. It’s emotional; I went through a lot of stuff. You know how everyone goes through depression and anxiety. It’s helped me grow and look back and realize that I can make it through. I hope other people can see that, too.
BTR: Definitely. How would you say you feel now, compared to how you felt when you were going into to the project?
R: I definitely feel more confident and I feel like more people are listening, so it makes me feel like I’m more relatable and attainable. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want the music to do and it’s reaching people.
BTR: How about one of your favorite songs off of the EP?
R: I’d say “Fragile.” I think it’s because I make myself the most vulnerable in it. I was going through a time when I was kind of lonely, and it’s about how sometimes we fall into the arms of people just because they’re there, rather than because that’s where you want to be. The song says, “Forever is only one night long,” because just in that moment you feel like it’s okay but need to escape somehow.
It really allowed me to be vulnerable and tell people that this was the place I was in, at that point in time. And I believed that promises were full of shit. I mean I grew from that, but I did at one point think that nothing ever did really did last forever.
BTR: Do you find it hard to go to those places where you really open up and you really allow yourself to be that vulnerable?
R: No, I don’t actually. And I think it’s sometimes a curse and a blessing at the same time because it’s like, I allow myself to be emotional but sometimes I feel like I’m too intense for people. But it’s the only way I can survive because I have to be able to let that out of me for me to move on, for me to breath.
BTR: There’s a real catharsis in being able to let that go.
R: Exactly, it’s like writing in a journal.
BTR: And you’ve come so far in the time since–recently performing on both The Late Late Show and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. That must have been really surreal.
R: It was. It’s kind of all a numb experience. I’ve been trying to get myself to catch up and feel these things. I think I went from numb to a used-to-it kind of thing. I’ve never really had the “Oh my God!” feeling yet. Maybe it’s coming, I’m just not there yet.
BTR: Until then, what are your plans looking like for 2016?
R: I have a South by Southwest performance, I’m performing in LA and San Diego, starting to do a lot of shows, get some new music out after my EP, and just kind of take off and take the world by storm.
To hear more from Rozes, check out her official site, or tune into BTR’s very own In the Den.