Just before Spring, I had a really interesting and insightful conversation with Rosé Petal — a smart, genuine and talented artist from Providence, Rhode Island.
Read the conversation below.
Hey, how are you doing?
I’m doing very well, thank you!
Your artist name; Rosé Petal, what’s the origin of that name?
It’s a play off of my middle name, Rose, and my last name which begins with a P. I was thinking of ideas that could coincide with my birth name. I love wine and I love flowers, I feel like it fits my personality *laughs*. I had just moved to my current city of Providence from a smaller suburb in Rhode Island which gave me the creative freedom to call myself whatever I wanted. So, when I began going to local art shows and music functions, I would introduce myself as “Rosé” and eventually that name became my identity.
That sounds really interesting. Did you have any other names in mind?
When I first started producing music I honestly never thought I would publish my music on the internet, let alone share it with the world. The name was kind of a playful idea that I was never completely set on. I would try to think of something more serious, or more eloquent but nothing ever came to mind.
Fair enough! So tell us a bit more about yourself, where did you grow up?
I grew up in a tiny suburban town called Smithfield in the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States; You can drive from one end to the other in about an hour. I moved from home at the age of 18 and eventually moved to Newport, Rhode Island where I lived with two of my closest friends. It was a sleepy beach town in the Winter and packed with tourists from all over the world in the Summer. Being so close to the ocean felt really powerful. At the time I was so used to being surrounded by trees and lakes; I still feel really inspired by that experience and the change of scenery. At 22 I moved to my current city of Providence, Rhode Island.
Newport, Rhode Island sounds like the perfect destination for a holiday. What’s the music scene like in your city?
Providence is known as “The Creative Capital”. I am surrounded by a lot of incredibly inspiring artists and musicians. The music scene here is small but compelling, and the city itself is only 20.6 square miles. There are different types of musical acts emerging from my city, a lot of punk and metal bands, different types of acoustic acts, and a raging hip-hop scene. From my experience here, I’ve noticed that everyone is very supportive of one another, even if they are opposing genres. Most of the events that are organised are primarily based around music and art which gives the talent here a means to perform and grow in their artistry. Providence is about and hour away from Boston and three hours from NYC which gives us accessibility to branch out to a major city.
Amazing stuff! Most cities have a well known artist, whose the most popular artist to come out of your city in recent years?
It’s really hard to say who is the most popular or well known, to be honest. In my opinion, Khary is doing big things and has aquired a great local as well as global fanbase. As far as signed artists, Mike Stud and Sage Francis are the two that come to mind.
Cool. Who are some of your biggest influences?
I’m influenced by a wide variety of genres and I feel that they have all contributed to my sound. Growing up, my mom listened to a lot of Madonna and Michael Jackson, so I was always dancing around the house and singing. I think just the energy I felt when I would listen to them inspired my love for music on a very deep and subconscious level at a very young age. As an adult I take a lot of influence from different witch-house and avant-garde hip-hop producers such as Shlohmo and oOoOO. I’m really inspired by alternative female artists like Banks and Tinashe. Along with indie acts such as Bon Iver and Lykke Li. I also really like hip-hop, post-hardcore, down-tempo and ambient music in general.
Nice! I love Banks! Did those artists inspire you to start making music?
When I first realised I was capable of creating my own original music and production I was listening to SBTRKT, Santigold, Major Lazer, Crystal Castles, Jamie xx, MIA and Purity Ring. I was laying in the grass in my backyard, it was summer; I was listening to music through my headphones and it just clicked. I started thinking about the instruments being used and I fell in love with the textures and the different aspects to their production. Then I thought to myself “How did they do this?”, and I began researching music production. Prior to that moment I never even considered that it was possible to make beats from home. So, I would say that these would be the artists that inspired me to explore music production. I have been making music since I can remember. Throughout school I was very involved in different choirs as well as music theory classes and acoustic acts. I’ve been infatuated with music and creating music in one way or another for as long as I can remember.
Wow, that’s really impressive! You also produce your own music, do you think female producers get the same amount of respect as male producers?
I think that (for the most part) respect is earned. When I first started producing, I would explain that I produced music and it would sometimes be overlooked. I think it’s probably the same way for a lot of people. You can say you do something, but until you have something to show for yourself people may not take you seriously. In my experience telling men that I’m a producer, the worst response I have heard is: “That’s so cute.” They probably don’t tell their bros that they’re “cute” for making music, so that was quite offensive to me, but I would brush it off and think to myself “This dude has no idea who he’s talking to” and carry on. *laughs*. Thankfully, since I’ve started releasing music people typically approach me in a more professional manner.
Is there any female producer out there you look up to or inspires you?
I’m really inspired by FKA Twigs. I watched an interview a while back where she explained her creative process in production, the sounds she uses and how she creates them along with her background as a dancer and how it influences the way she structures her drums. She also directs her music videos and they are all brilliant. Her confidence and creative control, in all aspects, inspires me greatly to keep pushing my vision and create what sounds good, looks good, and feels right to me. I’m honestly so inspired by female artists in general.
I’ll look out for that, it sounds like something I’d watch. How has your music evolved since you first started?
Since I first started creating music I’ve become more confident in my gifts and capabilities, therefore my music has progressed in a lot of ways. I’ve become more confident in experimenting with new sounds and trying different ways to structure my songs. I’m learning as I go, figuring out what works, what doesn’t and why. I’ve become very competitive with myself as well, I’m always trying to take my music to the next level and find new ways to share and display who I am as an artist. My music has evolved with me and where I am in my life which is why I feel art in general is so special. It’s a clear representation of my thought process from beginning to end considering its completely organically me.
Brilliant. Could you briefly describe your music making process?
Typically if I’m working on a new song I always start with the production first. I’ll start on my keyboard, playing with chords and different instruments that I like; I go with whatever feels and sounds right to my ears. When it comes to lyrics, I journal and write poetry a lot. So, sometimes if nothing comes to mind after listening to a completed idea for a beat, I will turn to my journals and see if any of my entries spark an idea for a song. Sometimes when I’m writing to a beat, I’ll write a free flow of thoughts, or record myself humming over the beat singing random words that feel fit. Then I’ll listen back and see if any of those ideas are salvageable. It’s interesting to write that way because it’s not until after the song is completed that I realise what I’m talking about.
I’d love to watch a Rosé Petal video tutorial one day! As an emerging artist I know how difficult it can be to be heard, how do you promote your music?
I take advantage of social media as much as possible. I try to be everywhere at once and make my music easily accessible. I think that the key way to promote is to be present while also working behind the scenes. The music is the most important thing, but it’s really important to interact with those who show love and support.
I couldn’t agree more. I love the visuals for “Coming Down”, I think I’ve watched it about 10 times *laughs* how did you come up with that idea?
Thank you! Honestly, I just wanted my first video to look like me in every way. I brought a lot of different props to the set: a bubble machine, tons of flowers, paint, glitter and candles. They are things that I always have surrounding me when I’m creating. I also invited two of my good friends to be in the video which made it a fun experience for everyone. I sat down with Alex before we filmed the video, we were planning, and I explained to him that I really wanted to showcase myself in two parts. I wanted the first part of the song to be in color, and the second part of the song when the tempo and key signature changes to feel different and represent me in more of an abstract way. I’m really drawn to black and white imagery in film, and when writing the last part of the song originally, I couldn’t picture it in color. I wanted it to represent who I am both inside and outside while showcasing my coy and meek nature in a way that was powerful and in control. In life I have always asserted myself in a reserved confidence, and I like showing that in my music.
Shout out to Alex Sandoval!. Can we expect more visuals from you this year?
Absolutely! I’m currently in the process of planning another visual for an unreleased single.
Are you working on any new music?
I’ve been sitting on a lot of completed music as well as working on new material. You can definitely expect a project from me in the near future.
Nice. Have you set yourself any goals for this year?
Yes! My main goal for this year is to live in the moment and take hold of the opportunities in front of me without hesitation. I want to continue to grow as an artist and take the necessary steps that would help me to share my music with more listeners. I want to travel in the near future as well and perform in different places in the US.
This is it, that’s the energy right there. How often do you perform?
Last year I performed at around twenty different shows, maybe more. I have a few shows lined up for this year as well.
Cool. Are you planning to perform overseas any time soon? People would love you here in London for sure!
I would love to perform overseas, it’s definitely one of my main goals. I love the idea of meeting people from around the world and seeing new things. It would be a huge blessing to see my music pave that path for me. London is on the top of my list, I would love to perform there!
We’ll make something happen. I tend to ask this question to a lot of international artists, do you check out any UK music?
Yes, I do! Sometimes I’ll stumble upon an artist from the UK when I’m searching for new music. But I also like checking out the UK Top 50; it’s cool knowing what’s considered popular in places other than the US.
That’s how I know you truly love music. Amazing. Is there any UK musician out there you’d love to work with?
I really love Sampha, James Blake, Jamie xx, and SBTRKT. I would love to work with any of them.
Follow Rosé Petal