From her debut pop jewel-box Dirty Child, Rosey... assisted by friendly persuasion, took compass headings on route to jazz with Quango Music Group’s release of Luckiest Girl.
At the top, the disk seizes the listener’s interest and never at any point relinquishes their curiosity. Stunning in performance, you may lay out all the visionary metaphors you wish, simple and direct Rosey is Rosey. None like her and as she one day draws nearer to the zenith of her career; the pundits will better acknowledge that fact.
Rosey is that artist which can go to that soft-place yet spin into a swath of upbeat complexity, never compromising her artistic juggernautism towards originality. Rosey breeds innovation and does it with quixotic appeal!
Rosey’s charismatic allure becomes marked in her approach to the clichéd "love" song. Whether you’re spinning "Beautiful" from Dirty Child or the seduction of "Who Am I" from Luckiest Girl, her vocal animation pulls you in! A hypnotic yet sensual reward layered within any one of her sophisticated recordings.
In dialogue with this free-spirit, I found an inspirational perspective, untainted by the industries self-induced trials and tribulations. Rosey’s vision is exclusive with a focus bent on attaining an aura of dynamic command pertaining to achieving her goals. The influences of her craft are diverse and many, from Ella (Fitzgerald) to Astrud (Gilberto), extracting knowledge and style points where she deems it will enhance her already innate gift, always focused in on total enjoyment for all who push-n-play.
The goal for Rosey is to communicate her talent with the populace through ever-evolving sound and lyrics. As you will soon gather, she is not coy with words or expression. Her counsel to those approaching their debut is beefy and direct bonded with conviction. Rosey may be young with age but in her prime and on game with savvy, a confidence seasoned with a female defiance for the musically mediocre. Rosey just does not create for the sake of self-absorption; she is an able practitioner, perfectly calibrated in the art of sly seduction as a gift... to all whom embrace it!
I take you now off-stage and between sets into a world only known as... Rosey’s Place
JazzReview: Rosey, you have had this deliciously twisted alteration in your path, with jazz being the Luckiest Girl in your refocusing effort. Why did you reposition from the vibes of pop to jazz?
Rosey: I just want to make good music. The kind that never gets old or boring .jazz is so deep and expansive; you can take it in so many directions... I’m just at the tip of the iceberg now with it, and am so excited to spend my life trying to get deeper inside of it
JazzReview: Explain to me how you define your place "musically" now. You have been defined as complex. I see you as a young lionesses, ready to pounce on innovation in the jungle of music’s modernism. So are you as complex as some suggest?
Rosey: You’re cute!!! I like this lioness thing .Hmmmm, well, I guess I’m on the hunt then. I have a bunch of gear at home and I’m constantly recording new stuff. I feel so lucky to be free to make whatever kind of music I want. Right now I’m making a folk record with my honey and a blues record with my friend Mark Tschanz. My electronic/Indian influenced/trip-hop band Lal Meri just got a deal with Six Degrees, out of San Fran, and our record comes out in January. And I’ve been hanging out with some jazz cats in LA writing stuff for the next jazz record too. I want that one to be way darker with more of a cabaret feel. So musically, I guess I’d say I’m free . and it feels good!!
JazzReview: I get the feeling you surrender a select aura of exclusivity when is comes to musical seduction. Your vocal tone and resonance could spawn a diamond into meltdown. Is this sensual expression a deliberate engagement or masterfully accidental?
Rosey: You’re too kind!! Well I think it’s probably a mix of both mainly I try to forget about tone and just sing. When I think about it too much, I just skim the surface. My goal really is to get deep inside of the song, its meaning, and sing from there so I can forget about being a producer or about sounding pretty and really tell a story.
JazzReview: I was so pleased to find you stepped outside the culture of debut spins to unclog the arteries of standard projects and push original selections. Describe your thought process, the selection, and any outside influences that helped birth the new Rosey.
Rosey: I’ve been writing pop songs for years now for kids half my age. It was so great to take a break from that and focus on the stories of my own head and heart. My earlier songs were all full of the angst of my childhood. Growing up, chilling out and finding happiness has definitely inspired the songwriting on this record. What a relief
JazzReview: Open our eyes to the songwriter that resides in you. I once was told the best ideas are those in which one closes one eyes then turns in any direction, then open those same eyes only to see the new idea. How do you energize an idea into a song?
Rosey: I think every chord progression tells a story. If I listen to the chords closely enough they dictate what the song is about and I take off from there with the words. . .alternatively some of my best song ideas happen right as I’m falling asleep. I keep a little hand held recorder by my bed so if some melody or words come into my brain I can record them w/out having to get up.
JazzReview: I have to ask this, Rosey. One of your new spins is a sexy-warning to those coming through the ranks of the mainstream mayhem of a music industry that can be defined as a pompous-provocateur at times. Describe the theory behind "It’s a Ruse." Is there a message?
Rosey: Just that, you don’t have to make it in music to make music. If you can deal with the heartbreak and the being broke and the endless amount of work, than go for it but if you’re too tender for this industry, make the music you love on your own time and find a decent job to pay the bills and rest easy at night as you dream away.
JazzReview: Let’s get into the Luckiest Girl. An intriguing yet calculated move for you, for the attempt to bridge two eras in perfect co-habitational harmony is not easy. You have constructed jazz for those of the years gone by and the ones (fans) to become, the new jazz generation as well as outside the genre. What is the personality of Luckiest Girl?
Rosey: Since I’m not really a jazz purist, and have never really been that mainstream of a pop writer, I just brought what I had to the table with Luckiest Girl. I always fashioned myself a blues singer, so the blues will always influence everything I do. This record is really just my take on jazz. and I’m sure that will change with every jazz record I make. If it influences pop audiences than my work is done!! Ha ha!
JazzReview: "The Old Fashioned Way" was in a way the catalyst for the whole project. It holds that feel of jazz in check as the foundation of the spin. Explain for us how the creation of this cut impacted the life of Luckiest Girl.
Rosey: I wrote "The Old Fashioned Way" with my old friend Hugh McCracken. We were hanging out having so much fun jamming some old standards and I started singing the intro to TOFW and we just took it and ran. The words tell a story of old time fun, singin’ and dancin’ and living the life of a happy free performer girl. I was hoping the story would foreshadow a long life of playing live jazz all over the world sweet.
JazzReview: With the abundance of critical pundits in the mix of the music world one thing is agreed on by all, the seduction of Rosey is memorable. That is proven spin after spin but more so on "Be Somebody Blues." "One minute your lonely the next minute you have no time of your own" is a line from the spin which heats up that seductive liberation. Let’s go into the writing process on this piece, from idea to performance.
Rosey: This song was one of those tracks I kinda wrote in 5-10 minutes or so. We were jamming some piano jazz stuff at my friend John Chin’s house in Brooklyn and I told him to play me a bluesy number. We worked for a while and I recorded him playing the basic progression. I took the instrumental back to the house in the country where I wrote most of the lyrics for the record. I just remember waking up that morning pouring a cup of coffee, lighting up a cigarette and thinking my voice sounded like gravel. I liked that, so I quick ran to my computer to start recording some vocals. I turned on the track and pretty much wrote all the words as I listened to it. It was excellent!! That doesn’t happen that often, so I felt like maybe that song was waiting for me to write it all along, and it’s time had finally come. Also I was happy and single and I guess that message really came through.
JazzReview: Are there any similarities with this project and that of your first venture Dirty Child?
Rosey: They were written so many years apart that it made their tone, energy level and production styles pretty different. One was an artsy pop record about the perils of my childhood, which took 2-1/2 years to record, and the latter is a mellow jazz record about the happiness of my adult life, which was recorded live in 2 weeks. The link would be the basic wish that lives in every song I write. The wish is one of hope. The hope is to find peace and truth, and the answers that come from that truth
JazzReview: Can we get a snapshot of who Rosey is by the lyrics contained in all or any one spin? If not define Rosey for us.
Rosey: I definitely write from my own experience, so that colors all of my songs. I’ve been writing more lately about some of my friend’s issues because sometimes I get tired of writing about my own stuff. But most of Luckiest Girl is about a girl who finds jazz and falls in love with jazz and a boy
JazzReview: The sound on the album I see trafficking in the classical sphere of jazz in years gone by. Is this the sound of a peaked performer as to technique only (seductive, sensual, and penetrating) or is the metamorphous of Rosey trending further? What is it you’re searching for that you would define as Rosey?
Rosey: I’m definitely looking forward to making a record that will define the kind of artist I really am through and through, underneath the layers that keep me from being completely free. It’s coming soon, maybe in a few years .when all of my hopes and visions converge into my dream songs .
JazzReview: "Live with the dream you dealt" is what I tell those off the launch pad of success. So if you had to go back and change anything in your career past what would it be? Any regrets thus far?
Rosey: I only wish I didn’t blow all that big major label money I should’ve bought myself a house. But there has been no shortage of fun and excitement in my life, so I really don’t have many regrets. I try not to think about that shoulda, coulda, woulda stuff Ever.
JazzReview: What would you tell those, just getting into their career, are the three do and three don’ts for a vocalist of any genre?
Rosey: Be happy, be brave and be able to heal yourself, when the times get tough.
JazzReview: Talk about the process of producing an album on your own at such an early stage in a career. What barriers did you meet with and how did you deal with those?
Rosey: It was great being in charge of the whole shebang. As long as I stayed within the budget I was the boss and nobody could tell me "NO!" being a daddy’s girl, I really dig that I had a great engineer who had my back and one of my best friends mixing the record who knew what I wanted and gave it to me. The only thing missing from not having a producer to boss me around was not having somebody more objective to bounce ideas off of. Looking back on the record making process I realize I did miss a few things, because I was so close to the project. Live and learn I guess right
JazzReview: What is next for Rosey? Not particularly referencing the album but more so as to new experiences. Is there a part of the industry you would like to conquer in the next few years and why?
Rosey: I’d like to have my own label. I realize anybody can start one these days but to run one well takes quite a lot of effort. If I can make enough money to hire a few employees, than I just may be in business! We’ll see.
JazzReview: Okay Rosey, tell us something we don’t know about your life and times?
Rosey: I love sewing and gardening. My Girls and I call each other "gramma." We wear vintage clothes and go to estate sales. I’m not super picky about my entertainment I like dive bars pool tables & good jukeboxes with lots of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and country music
The Word according to Rosey Profound thoughts? Oh dear, I hope I don’t disappoint. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Always choose the path of less resistance. Sounds cliché I know, but it’s so true. The brain can make life so much more complicated than it needs to be. We are not our feelings, thoughts or ideas .those things are always changing. If we can stand back and let emotions happen without getting so tied to them we can be any feeling we want and still step back and get some perspective and be free. Being an artist was something I became out of sheer need. I had to get out of my head and get away from my emotions. And writing songs was the only way I could free myself from myself. It’s been a hard road, and now I can do that without a song, but a simple thought of freedom and the need for peace of mind. It sounds a lot easier than it is, to stand back and watch your emotions fly by and not get completely wrapped up in them, but it’s an amazing practice and what doesn’t kill you truly does make you stronger and stronger and stronger.
JazzReview: Let’s slide out of the usual and into the unusual! Answer if you will these probing questions and be blatantly honest
1. If reincarnation was a fact, who were you in a past life or what for that matter? Hopefully, I was a Buddhist Monk or nun.
2. Favorite hot spot and what city? I love New York City. I always have fun there, wherever I go, but you can usually find me in the Lower East Side or Echo Park on the east side of LA.
3. When you’re out with the girls, what’s your pleasure? Dancing and Pool.
4. Hottest music star today? My latest faves are more underground, Jolie Holland, Jeska Hoop, Andrew Bird.
5. Your favorite vocalist in any genre? Maybe Nina Simone that’s hard to say.
6. Your film of choice to score, if you had the chance? Lady Sings the Blues?? Ha I don’t know.
7. Favorite entrée, desert, drink? I like burning hot, fresh vegetable soups with lots of greens and garlic. Not very fancy, but it always makes me feel good. I balance that out with lots of scotch and Irish whiskey.
8. Favorite curse phrase? I have a sailor mouth, not very proud of it. In fact, I’ve been working on my etiquette for quite some time now. (Laughing)
After Sets with Philip Bailey (Vocalist for Earth,Wind & Fire)
Philip Bailey: Rosey, as a singer, writer, artist, producer, or whatever she wills to do. In the short time I&&&ve had the privilege of working with Rosey, I&&&ve been delightfully amazed at her rare strength and sensitivity. Creatively, she is a Poetess. Rosey, as a vocalist, has found her very own voice, one that is very unique, soulful and sexy with edge. Her ability to find melody inside melodies is a true gift. She&&&s a beautiful flower to the ear, and to the eye.
Karl Stober is a freelance critic and journalist internationally who is still looking for the meaning of life through music.