Devon-born Rosie Lowe is relatively new on the scene, but with an incredible reception for her debut single ‘Me & Your Ghost’ from critics and the public alike, the jazz trained singer-songwriter looks like she’s adhering to her EP’s title and doing ‘The Right Thing’. Rosie talks to IDOL about empowering women and why British music is so exciting at the moment.
At what age did you start singing, and when was it that you started getting serious about music as a career path?
I was born into a very musical family so since day one really. I’m the youngest of six siblings. My dad is a jazz saxopinist and my mum is an artist. I’ve been singing ever since I can remember – I studied music throughout school and have always written music.
What genre of music did you grow up listening to?
Jazz, and from a very early age. That was kind of what my ears tuned to. And although my mum used to play a lot of R&B, I was always trained in jazz. So by the time I was seven or eight years old, I was obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. I used to transcribe sax solos, so I started scatting at a really young age. I was always into the art of songwriting. People like Joni Mitchell.
Does your image and sense of style reflect who you are as an artist?
Yeah, I would like to think that the images in my press shots reflect me as the artist I am. But its really important to me that music comes first. I’m really interested in androgyny because music has never been a gendered thing for me. I’ve always listened to music separate from the image, so it’s important for people not to focus on whether I’m female or male per say. But on the music itself. And that comes across in my work. I do a lot of pitch shifting and I play around with my voice to bring out my male counterpart, blurring the boundaries of gender.
Do you believe that young British artists are reviving our reputation of a nation of great musical talent?
Oh definitely! It’s really exciting! I have always loved British music. James Blake, I think has revolutionised music in an incredible way. Since then, a lot of female artists have come up which I find really exciting. I think it’s important we all support each other and stand together as women in music. Getting our voices heard.
What is your fondest musical memory to date?
It would have to be my first ever gig, which was the Spice Girls! My dad used to take us to every gig. Before that, I think I had been to see Lighthouse Family and Alanis Morissette. But as I was so young, I always used to fall asleep. A massive part of our upbringing was my dad taking us along to see music live, and that’s had a huge affect on me in the way that I’ve always loved performance and singing live.
You featured on Lil Silva’s track ‘no doubt’ earlier this year. How did this collaboration come about?
He was looking to work with some singers and so his manager contacted mine. He liked the vibe, so we met up and got on really well. Our first ever session we were supposed to go to the studio but instead we just sat in a café for like 5 hours just talking about music! He came to me a couple of months ago and asked me to feature on the track, and of course I said yes. I love the song and I love what he does. Another great British artist!
What was it like working with KWES and the invisible’s David Okumu on your debut single ‘me & your ghost’?
Incredible. ‘Me & Your Ghost’ was an incredible experience, because I wrote it with my friend Jack in a ten minute jam and the song came together really quickly. To be able to take a song that you feel an attachment to, and give it to someone is hard. But with those two, I trust them and I feel like they understand my music in a way that is very special. You don’t find that every day.
Is there a message behind the song?
It’s about feeling abandoned. The feeling of loss and rejection. I think a lot of people can relate to that. The lyrics and the melody spilled out of me within the space of two minutes, and I still find it really hard to sing because it does resonate somewhere within me.
Describe the process of laying down the vocals with the instrumentals?
I write the songs myself, and then I produce them to a certain level. I can put down all of the elements that I’m thinking. Whether that be the space or the instrumentation. So then I get it to as far as I can produce it, and then take it to David and Kwes. They hear it and they usually get it straight away. The three of us then work together, it’s so important to me that I’m there for every part of the process.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
David Okumu and Kwes! They are my dream team! If I could choose to do my album with anyone in the world I’d choose those two. Obviously there’s other artists: one day I really hope to do something with James Blake, and Jai Paul. I mean there are so many good artists out there, it’s impossible to pick.
You’ve been compared to Jessie ware and banks with your sultry r&b sounds, what do you make of this?
Being a young woman in music there’s always going to be comparisons. But I never take that as a negative because I think it’s important for us ladies to support each other. I think we’re all doing something different within our realms. Whether that be stylistically, vocally or sound wise. People always need comparisons as it gives them a platform to relate to other artists. But I think those women are fantastic and I have so much respect for them.
Can you describe the ep? Do the four tracks flow comparably or do they all have individual vibes?
I’d say they’re all snapshots of my last year. Narratively, they all have different vibes. But I’d like to think that they flow in terms of sound. One is really upbeat and one a lot less. So, I guess it’ll be interesting to see what people think about that.
Where would you place yourself and your ep on the music spectrum?
It’s so hard to say because when you’re “in it” you can hear it. And I’m so “in it” that I lose the capacity to hear it with fresh ears. It’s really interesting to hear what people say, and I’m always so touched by what they have to say. My favourite comparison so far has been with Little Dragon. I absolutely love her. But I find it very hard to say, I don’t like to put it in a box too much.
When does ‘the right thing’ ep get released?
On the 2nd of December, but my video and second release come out on the 4th of November.
Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline for the rest of 2013?
Album writing. I’m going into the studio with David and Kwes next week and carrying on with writing the album, which is really exciting. And also finally releasing the EP, as I’ve said it’s been quite a long process. We’re also supporting Glass Animals at Concrete on the 12th of November, and the 3rd of December is our release show at Birthdays in Dalston.
In ten years time, where do you see yourself?
I would like to think I’m a few albums down. I’d like to be producing my own stuff and then maybe producing for other people. I think that part of the process is so interesting. I get so much from it, and learn so much at the same time. I’d love to work with some upcoming female artists as well, and get them into producing their own music as I think it’s really important to have control with your own music.
Finally, who is your idol?
My mum and my dad. They’re incredible and so supportive. But I’d say any strong powerful woman who’s doing what she wants to do without adhering to social pressures. I’ve got a list as long as my arm, and I have long arms. Women who inspire me and make me proud to be a woman on a daily basis.
Download Rosie Lowe’s debut EP ‘The Right Thing’ on 2nd December via iTunes.
Interview by Natasha Fawn
Images courtesy of The Guardian