You all know her voice by now.
It's the enthralling, Sia-esque one made famous by the Chainsmokers in their 2015 breakthrough hit "Roses." However, ROZES is no one-trick pony. The time has come for her to shed her snakeskin as a featured singer and rattle the pop music scene as a solo artist. Today she hits the ground running by unleashing her new single "Canyons," a heady dance-pop tune that bounces to a hypnotic moombah rhythm under vocals as cavernous as the title would suggest.
I had the distinct privilege of chatting with ROZES before her show in downtown Los Angeles about the road ahead, what inspires her, and her status as one of dance music's most sought after lyricists.
EM: You've become a go-to vocalist in the electronic world. How's life been since you dropped "Roses?"
R: It's been a hurricane. I think I'm constantly catching up and trying to understand life, and trying to give myself time to breathe but also letting myself feel the excitement. I feel like I've been a hamster in a ball. It's constant movement and I love it, but it's constant.
EM: Are you just getting feature requests left and right?
R: Yeah. It's hard too, because I write my own music. So I have a lot of stuff in my inbox that's like "I have the perfect song for you!" And I have to tell them, "that's awesome, I appreciate your art but I like to write."
"It was like 'BOOM.'"
EM: How did you first get into that world? Was there an "a-ha!" moment?
R: I originally wanted to go very alternative. I wanted to be like BANKS alternative. So I ended up doing a collaboration with this kid Just A Gent, and that was my first step into the electronic dance music world. He sent me a track, which ended up being "Limelight," and I didn't even consider it "EDM."
EM: That kid can really produce. Very talented.
R: Super talented. And this was the first time I've ever written to a track before. I was sitting in my room doing my makeup and getting ready to go out and I just had sent my manager a voice memo and said, "This is the song I wrote." So it got released, and then The Chainsmokers found me. It was like 'BOOM'.
"BOOM" is the perfect onomatopoeia to describe ROZES' impact on the electronic sphere since that first track. A mere one month after the release of the eponymous "Roses," the Philly-born crooner dropped her solo effort "R U Mine" before commissioning remixes from Lost Kings and StéLouse - two relatively unheralded acts at the time who are now staples in the dance-pop genre. In other words, she had a finger on the pulse of dance music and didn't even know it.
Her influence only grew stronger. She went on to pen and perform vocals for Louis Futon's "Wasted On You" and Big Gigantic's Brighter Future cut "All of Me," solidifying her reputation as a voracious workhorse and formidable songwriter. Eventually, she found herself in the studio with global dance trio Cash Cash.
EM: "Matches" is one of my favorite songs at the moment. How did that collaboration come to fruition and what was it like working with Cash Cash?
R: I met Cash Cash at Amp Radio's Let It Snow show, and I had already written "Matches" on my piano. I love the things they've done and I think they're so talented. They're also really genuine, nice guys and I love working with people like that. So I said "Hey, I have this demo I would love to send you and see what you can do with it. Because it's a sad song and I would like it to be uplifted a little bit." So they added their magic and it literally made the song ten times better.
"Matches" has been flat out dominating, with over 12.5M streams on Spotify alone.
EM: I'm sure you get asked about those two tracks enough, so let's move on. With "Canyons," you're shifting gears to become a solo artist. I can imagine proving yourself as a solo artist after being a featured singer is extremely difficult – how do you go about the transition?
R: Yes, it is, but I just signed a record deal! Honestly, it was a validation for me that what I'm doing is working. It was like getting a college degree. So I have them working with me to release "Canyons" and I'm super excited. I'm nervous because I don't know how people are going to take it, but I guess we'll see.
"It was like getting a college degree."