ROZES: THE GIRL BEHIND THE CHAINSMOKERS’ HIT

We sat down with Rozes on a couch studded with roses (unintended) at SXSW to learn more about the girl behind The Chainsmokers‘ mega-hit called…yup “Roses.”

The song rose to #6 on the Billboard charts, is a favorite of Justin Bieb‘s, and has become a radio hit, however for Rozes herself, finding so much success in the electronic scene was completely unexpected…

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So this is your first time at SXSW!

Yes, it’s very exciting. We drove from Philly tailing my brother’s band down and I drove with my drummer and my boyfriend.

Oh cool so you have a pretty musical family?  

Yeah we’re like the Partridge family.[Laughs] Well my parents actually work in the medical industry but my dad also teaches guitar lessons and everybody in my family plays at least two instruments so music has like always been our thing.

How many instruments do you play?

Well I started on piano, then I went to violin, then saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, guitar…

Wow quite the variety.

I know, I was in a jazz band too.

So how did you end up in the electronic scene?

I never planned to go the EDM route. It just kind of fell into my lap. My brothers were hit up by this DJ, Just A Gentand they were writing toplines and were like ‘hey you know we have a sister who writes music.’ So they sent them to me and then I just wrote this song called “Limelight” which went huge in the EDM world. Then The Chainsmokers found it and so literally what happened was they followed me and messaged me on Twitter that they wanted to work me. So I was just kind of like pushed toward that path, it just kind of happened.

Rozes_Polaroid_SXSWEverything happened so fast. 

Yeah it’s kind of like we never expected it because when we wrote it we were just like oh this is a cool jam. We didn’t think anything of it we definitely did not think radio, I didn’t think radio, I mean I would have never thought that that’s what was gonna happen, like I was gonna get signed or anything. It’s crazy.

Are you comfortable playing live?

Yeah I am, I’m so comfortable actually. Well, I’ve also grown up in theatre so it’s kind of been my home you know. I was the theatre geek that always felt most comfortable when I could throw life aside and put on my alter ego and just be.

Do you have any pre-show rituals you do before you go on stage?

A glass of wine and I put on my crown and my lipstick.

What is your writing process like?

I write all the songs, but I have a producer who I’ll send all of my songs over roughly on piano or guitar and be like ‘here this is kind of what I want to be like’ and they help build it up from there. I recorded the EP (Burn Wild) in a studio in Delaware with my brother’s guitarist, he goes by ETRON. Now when I go to LA I’ll have different producers and we’ll have writing sessions and record in their studios.

What has the music you’ve been writing lately been about?

I would say they’re kind of about how life is changing for me at the moment and it’s like trying to figure out who is real and who is not because I have a lot of people coming out of the woodwork pretending to be my best friend and wanting to catch up and stuff and it’s me trying to file through who’s actually being genuine or not. It’s also about me coping with the fact that people are going to come out just because I have a hit on the radio not because they want to be friends with me and it’s kind of a rough realization but it’s something that has obviously happened.

The personal experience of a sudden rise to fame has sort of become cliche but I still always find myself thinking about what it must be like for people like, say, Justin Bieber. What has it been like for you?

I’ve actually thought about that because I met Bieber when he came to my show with The Chainsmokers at the Shrine Theatre in LA. He’s such a super nice kid and I just wonder if sometimes he feels like are these people just my friends because I’m Justin Bieber, is anyone a real friend? Nobody is prepared for that life. He’s a kid in his twenties and he’s in the public eye all the time, he’s grown up in it. If people had followed me growing up they would definitely be saying “this girl is crazy.” Britney Spears went through it, Lindsay Lohan went through it. I think it’s good that it’s just happening now for me because I got to see life before it all and so I can stay level headed and I’ve got my people that I trust.

That’s so awesome he came to your show I heard he’s a huge fan of the song “Roses!” Has it opened up a lot of other crazy opportunities for you?

Yeah. It’s definitely like having a resume. Like people see your credentials and they are like ‘oh yeah I’ll write with her’ you know. It kind of sucks that it’s that way because people who don’t have that on their resume its just like ‘oh why should I write with that person’ but they could be an amazing writer. You just have to somehow get lucky and get your foot in the door. It’s not really like having a lot of connections, like a lot of people think it is, but mostly you have to make the way yourself.

So do you think you’re going to stay in the EDM route?

No. I definitely plan to get out of the EDM route. It’s just not really my scene. I keep ending up getting featured on tracks because in my free time I’ll just write to music and it’s just kind of how it goes. I think if I were to do another EDM feature it would have to be something different that allows me to keep growing with it.

Have you been writing since a very young age?

Yeah, I think I wrote my first real song in eighth grade.

Awe, do you remember it? What was it about? 

Oh yeah, I remember it. It was like I had been dating this guy, and you know how middle school relationships are you think you’re so in love like “we’re gonna get married!” But it was actually just a horrible relationship and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of it because I had never had a breakup before. So I just wrote a song called “I’ve Come A Long Way” all about realizing how he’s not good for me.

So that was your first real song. Do you find that you get inspired or tend to write about things you are going through?

Oh yeah totally. I’ll feel something and be like I just need to sit down at the piano. People always ask me “what’s the first thing you’ll do when you get home?” and I’m like honestly I’ll probably just sit down at the piano and write. It’s my hobby and my job, and it’s the best thing ever.

Is it harder to write about other people or even yourself knowing now that so many people are going to hear it and listen to it?

I don’t think so. It’s kind of therapeutic for me. It’s like someone accidentally finding my journal. It’s like being able to tell my secrets in a honest creative way and not being judged for it.

What’s next for Rozes?

I think I just want people to be prepared for something different and I don’t want them to expect anything of me, but I also want them to be ready for something that they’ll love, you know. Because what I’m coming out with is so honest and I always say I’m going to always write what’s true.  Whether it’s about somebody else and so hard core true they have to know it’s about them or whether it’s about myself. There’s this new song I wrote called “Under the Grave” that’s actually about myself. So it’s like I’m not even written off you know, I’ll write about myself good or bad too.

Rozes released a new EP Burn Wild in February and is currently working on finalizing her next release.