Spin up “Mortal,” the lead single off Baby Rose’s 2019 debut album, and it’s the voice that gets you first. Husky, earthy, evocative, and soulful right down to its timber, her vocals ring out of blind, crippling desire against a spare and swooning R&B backbeat. In lines like "I pick the pieces up then come back running every time / You make it easy” there’s resignation and vulnerability, but more so resilience as it confronts emotions equally raw and blistering.
Such is the heart-wringing impact of the entire LP, To Myself. Written in the aftermath of a breakup, the record sees Baby Rose wear her heartbreak on her sleeve, channeling anguish, anger, and loss into 10 tender and stirring slow burns. This is a songwriter who knows her way around a song, after all. Rose has been writing and performing since she was 12-years-old and since relocating from Washington DC to Atlanta, has seriously come into her own. Her debut record marked her arrival—drawing critical attention and fannish love—as did notable collaborations with J.Cole, Childish Major, and Big K.R.I.T, among others. And her live shows? They’re perfect showcases for Rose’s resonant voice and energy, entrancing and moving in measures.
At this point, with a trove of 2020 tour dates already assembled, Rose’s momentum isn’t slowing down. But before she heads out onstage, she’s lining up her next single, “Ragrets,” a bold and cathartic breakup number. And here, just for you, we have the exclusive premiere of its video, which puts Rose and her rich vocal performance at the center. Treat yourself below.
We’re ready for Baby Rose’s Big Break and as it turns out, so is she. Below, we got talking with the singer-songwriter about finding her voice, taking the stage, and sending her music to the moon.
Hello Baby Rose! How psyched are you for your first 2020 tour dates?
I'm super excited for my first headlining tour. It’s surreal, honestly. But I can’t wait to connect with my fans on a deeper level than I ever have musically and also turn tf up.
What do you love most about performing for an audience? And what do you hope the audience takes away from a Baby Rose show?
I love that I’m able to perform and sing my life’s experiences out on the stage and see an audience of all walks of life sing along with me. I hope they feel full and have a great ass time.
Props on To Myself—it’s such an intimate and emotionally devastating listen. What was in your headspace while writing and recording the album?
I was in a fragile state of mind, going through a breakup and repurposing my life for what I feared the most at the time: being alone. I’m on a journey of self-discovery by the way and I’m taking the long way, was the theme of this album.
What did you learn about yourself during the making of the record?
I didn’t die, lol, so I can survive a heartbreak and walk away with a story to tell.
What’s the experience of performing these intensely personal songs live on stage? Did performing them live uncover new things about these songs?
When I perform them, it’s like a diary. So when I perform these personal entries in my life, I feel vulnerable more so than I ever have, but I also feel I’m in a safe space with people who feel or have felt the same way. I feel like I’m being of service, singing these songs live that have helped me understand who I am a little better and are helping others too.
\*\*We absolutely love your rich and distinct voice. What were some artists that first captured your imagination and made you think, “I want to do this professionally too”?\*\*
Some of the artists who gave me permission without knowing to think I had a shot with my unique voice and personal songwriting are Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Gladys Knight, Sia, Adele, Stevie Wonder, and Carole King.
You’ve also worked with a host of artists from J. Cole to Matt Martians. How were these collaborations instructive to you as a musician?
Working on the Dreamville album, Revenge of the Dreamers III, taught me to trust my first instinct and not to dim my light by any means, and Matt Martians inspired me to become more self-sufficient and put a setup in my room, and learn how to engineer and produce music on my own. I’ll forever be indebted because all of the collabs have made me better.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? How did it come about?
One of the first songs I ever wrote was called “Bonnie and Clyde.” I wrote it when I was 14 at the piano in my foyer. I based it off of my mom’s relationship with my dad, and my songs then off that or off of other stories of women and girls around me.
Why is songwriting important to you?
It’s important to have something to say. I’m no saint, but I’m not all bad and I wrote about who I am. And every time I step on stage, I’m confident in that much—that this is who I am.
How has Atlanta’s music scene inspired you, your craft, or your career?
Atlanta is a mecca of black art. Its scene influences the world and pop culture, and I am glad to have called it home for almost a decade. I know so many incredible artists of all mediums who are my dear friends. I support my peers and we have supported one another for years. Support meaning, opening the studio doors to create at all hours of the night, creating showcases, parties and art galleries to get each other out there, building our own table. There’s soul and camaraderie in Atlanta like nowhere else in the world.
What’s a new year’s resolution of yours that you hope to keep?
I hope to always let experiences like tours and festivals be new, and not lose that sense of awe in the menial tasks leading up to it. It’s hard when you’re in it sometimes because there can be a lot of distractions, but in those moments I want to count my blessings and look at the big picture. I want to stay balanced all 2020.
What comes to mind when you hear “Big Break”?
I think of my life changing in a way in which I can reach millions of people with my art that I have never dreamed of. I’m talking around the world my music is heard, all the way up to the moon. #1, lol. I think of widespread recognition, success, and the ability to call this my living and do it all over again if I choose.