In the spotlight, behind the piano, and underneath the halo of a signature “rose crown,” ROZES lets her voice, message, and spirit ring out as loudly as possible.
Within just five years, an unfiltered, unbridled, and undeniable musical release of emotion quietly established her as one of pop’s most ubiquitous voices—streamed over 1 billion-plus times and praised by everyone from Entertainment Weekly and Marie Claire to Paper Mag and Pitchfork.
2019 sees her open the floodgates of feeling as she fully embraces a natural approach like never before.
“I just need to sing and feel music,” she exclaims. “Organic creation is what I embrace as an artist. Over the past year, I’ve matured the most in my life. I’m actively an adult now. My songs had to embody the change. I’m the type of person who needs to go through phases. However, I always wanted to get to back to the way I started—sitting at the piano and writing.”
She set the stage for such progression by building an impressive discography since her debut in 2014. This growing catalog spans the artist’s Billboard Hot 100-breaking, triple-platinum collaboration with The Chainsmokers, “Roses,” as well as “Matches” with Cash Cash, “Girls On Boys” with Galantis, and more as well as her solo debut EP Burn Wild and the 2018 follow-up, i don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way. The latter spawned a solo smash in the form of “Where Would We Be.” Co-written alongside Toby Gad [Fergie, John Legend, Beyoncé] and produced by Nicky Romero, it clocked 10 million cumulative streams within a few months as she performed on Good Morning America, CONAN, and more.
In the midst of this whirlwind, she received an invite to attend Alicia Keys’ She Is The Music camp for a week during 2018. The trip proved nothing short of transformative.
“I feel like my ten-year-old self is freaking out I met Alicia Keys,” she smiles. “The camp was a very defining moment for me. I saw how raw and secure she is in herself. The experience made me pivot. I relaxed, held on to what I’m doing, and took a step on my new path.”
She made big strides with the single “Halfway There.” The emotionally charged anthem originally served as a “fight song” for her sister-in-law following a cancer diagnosis. Given its uplifting crescendo and empowering energy, the 2019 Women’s March adopted the track as its official theme. Among fifty women who rallied together to appear in the gripping music video, her mom, aunt, grandma, best friend, and best friend’s parents all showed up.
Straight out of the gate, it made an impact as the likes of Bustle predicted, “With ‘Halfway There’ proudly leading that charge, it seems that everything will, indeed, be coming up ROZES in 2019.”
The follow-up single “Call Me” illuminates ROZES’ marked growth as a songwriter and performer. In between resounding piano chords, her soulful delivery upholds an assuring message, “Just know that you can call me, and I’ll always be there.” Penned at She Is The Music the day of Kate Spade’s suicide, it addresses a cause close to the singer’s heart: raising awareness for and supporting those who struggle with mental health.
“I’ve always been somebody who struggled with my mental health,” she admits. “The lyrics discuss somebody laying in bed all day, going through depression and dealing with anxiety. I recognize those emotions, because I’ve been there too. I’m describing everything I’ve gone through in a way. I’ve stared blankly out of a window. I’ve gotten lost in my own mind and been trapped in my own thoughts. I try to be the voice for the people who need it. Opening up has helped me the most. I encourage fans to do the same. You can turn to friends, journaling, poetry or reading. I turn to songwriting.”
In doing so, ROZES ultimately makes a long-lasting impact and inspires with every song.
“I’m finally who I’m supposed to be,” she leaves off. “I feel more independent than I ever have. I’m stronger. I’m ready to really fight for what I believe in. I’m not afraid. I hope I can inspire others like I was inspired in the past year. If I can give you just a little bit of hope, that’s all I want. Music made me realize I could sit at a piano and use my voice for good. So, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Photographer: Adam Cantiello