Whether you’re a Rosie Lowe fan or a newcomer to her sweet sounds, there’s no denying that once you tap in, you’re hanging around.
With the new release of her second album, YU – pronounced both ‘YOU’ and ‘Why You’ (“I like that it has a double meaning“- we grabbed the opportunity to sit down with Rosie and chat about the journey from her 2016 debut album Control to now.
Growth. That’s what you feel when you recollect on her older tracks compared to her fresher material. Both albums equally transparent, it’s evident that a great deal of growth urged on the making of YU. Rosie Lowe switches up her power messages to all-encompassing love songs; songs of relationships and insecurities where that power she once voiced has had a shift, rebalancing in her favour.
Something a little different, slightly coincidental and incredibly suited to the vibe of the new album, I decided to pull a few questions from my last interview with Rosie 4.5 years ago, just before Control released. In the name of growth, we looked back through these questions (answers hidden) to see how much has changed and how much stays true to Rosie all this time on. In the name of curiosity, we chat more about the making of YU and all the bits that happen to bring it together, struggles and successes in all.
Sat backstage at the JägerHaus, All Points East (thanks Jäger for keeping our conversation flowing with much-appreciated Jägermeister Mule cocktails), we huddled on stools – wearing almost identical outfits (the 2nd coincidence) – and simultaneously celebrated and reminisced on Rosie’s triumphs.
Me: From the outside looking in, this album seems more authentic to you. The vibe is very different to Control.
Rosie: Both the albums are specific to where I was at that time. Most of my projects represent where I’ve been which is something I want – I’m always aiming for growth but I want each project to reflect my truth.
With Control, I was in much more of an insecure place; I was working things out; I was insular. I felt that I needed to do this album on my own – go to Devon where my parents live and write it all in my own space. For this album, I wanted it to be warmer, more alive. I wanted to collaborate and use my network and I managed to follow through on those choices.
Me: We love that you make such an effort to give your listeners a real understanding behind each of your songs. Do you feel like this is a journey you go on with them?
Rosie: That’s one of my favourite things. I’m a perfectionist in some aspects but I know a lot of artists who are such perfectionists that they never release anything because they’re always trying to make this perfect thing. In a year or two, I might look back and not feel like I did at the time, but I like that my audience can grow with me. I always say to my friends who don’t release music “give your audience the opportunity to grow with you”, because as a listener, that’s the most exciting thing.
Me: You’ve been mentioning how self-acceptance has been a big part of your life – is this reflected in YU?
Rosie: Yeah, lots. Between these albums, I started my studies in psychotherapy which has been a big part of self-acceptance and self-compassion. I’ve figured out that going forward, I’m going to do anything that terrifies me. If it scares me, I need to do it more than if it doesn’t scare me. Vocally, that’s been a challenge – I was terrified of doing full takes but I realised that it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. On my first album, I was recording verse by verse. For this album, I ended up re-recording the whole thing – 5 full takes of each song – and let my producer Dave pick the takes to use. You have to have a lot of self-compassion to feel like it’s ok to make mistakes.
Me: As part of YU’s campaign, you’ve been really keen to promote working alongside your music which is a great thing! Tell me about this.
Rosie: Last year I was struggling to buy milk. I thought “this is ridiculous.” I resisted going back to being a nanny and teaching piano because I thought it would be a step back which means I’ve failed. I literally had one conversation with someone who was like “get a job, everybody’s doing it but nobody is talking about it.” That gave me license, just like that.
Going into this campaign, I thought I am going to talk about it. I’m working around the clock and I’m getting 4 hours sleep a night just to make this work which sounds victimising but it’s not – It’s liberating because, when it comes to music, everything I do do, will be a choice (and having a choice is liberating as far as I’m concerned). I wish I’d heard it when I was younger because I wouldn’t have let it get to the point where I couldn’t put milk on the table.
Me: Let’s look back at some of the questions from 4.5 years ago. I asked, “what advice would you give young people on the creative scene?”
Rosie: Based on what we just talked about, I’d say don’t compromise, find a great team and hold on to the good ones (because there’s not enough of them). And don’t be afraid to get another job – it’s FINE.
Me: Back then you answered, “My advice would be to ignore what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on putting stuff out that you’re proud of.”
Rosie: Yeah, totally agree with myself!
Me: Next was “what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in your career so far?”
Rosie: Jay Electronica featuring on this album [The Way]. I’ve loved Jay since I can remember. Everyone assumed it wouldn’t happen but when that email landed in my inbox with his verse, it was one of my best moments. It was like “someone I adore understands what I’m doing.” It felt like I was being heard in the way that I’d always wanted to be heard.
Me: You answered, “Writing my debut album.”
Rosie: Then I guess I should have said writing my second one!
Me: The penultimate question, “What do you believe is the most important part in creating music?”
Rosie: Space. Giving myself space and giving myself the freedom for it to all fall apart – that’s where the magic is made.
Me: You told me, “To have an emotional output. Writing for me is my therapy. Often, I don’t know how I feel until I’ve written a song about it & then its clear as day.”
Rosie: That’s great advice, Rosie.
Me: Lastly “what are the biggest knockbacks you face?”
Rosie: I don’t feel like I get knocked back so much now. I never feel like I get knocked back because I’m never in a position where I’ll allow myself to be.
Me: Wow. Last time you said, “I mainly knock myself back. I’m my own worst critic – it’s a protection mechanism.”
Rosie: That makes me feel so great, let’s do this again in another 4 years!
Me: What can we look out for from you in the next few years?
Rosie: Lots of gigging – that’s my priority right now. I’ve got an amazing band so I’m doing as much as possible. Then I’m back in the studio writing. I’m also hoping to get over to America asap. This time I don’t want to disappear; I want to stay present.
Me: We can’t wait!
Rosie: Thanks so much!