Interview: Rose Starring
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I first got into music by singing along while my dad played guitar. I loved to sing and joined the church choir when I was going into kindergarten. For Christmas one year, I received a keyboard and began to pick out songs on it by ear. From that moment on, my parents believed in my talents and decided to get me started in piano lessons.
If I hadn’t gotten into music, I believe I would still be doing something creative in some way. I love to write and even majored in English for a year before deciding to transfer to MTSU and major in Recording Industry instead. I think I would be writing for a music publication or perhaps writing poetry.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing music, I love to practice yoga, spend time with my cat Elvis, dance, swim, read, and spend time in nature with my friends. I adore spending time by any body of water, as it reminds me of my childhood spent at the lake and the beach. Taking care of myself in this way really helps restore the energy that I need to be creative, and my adventures give me new inspiration for my music.
How long has music been your career?
I started performing at weddings and funerals when I was in high school and started songwriting when I was 17, so I’d say about 5 years! However, I’ve only been releasing music as Rose Starring for about 2 and a half years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m currently based out of Nashville, Tennessee, but I spent my adolescent years in Florida! These two places have influenced my music in many ways. I feel like I get a lot of my aesthetic and lyrical inspiration from Florida, but Nashville is where I was able to find my producer, Omgprkr, and really find my sound. Living in this city also allows me to frequently witness other emerging artists hone in on their craft as well, which always refreshes me with new inspiration and makes me want to keep working hard.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
The best show I’ve played would be a writers round that MTSU hosted in 2019! I was able to perform alongside my two friends and fellow songwriting students Leanna Firestone and Nicolina Marra, and our music flowed so well together. I had such a great time getting to tell the stories behind my songs and share my music with a room full of like-minded souls.
The worst show I’ve played would definitely be my talent show in high school. I sang “The A Team” and accompanied myself on piano, but I was so shy and soft-spoken that the loud auditorium full of rowdy high schoolers drowned me out. In addition to that, the microphone that was set up for me didn’t work, so the host of the talent show had to stand there next to me the entire time holding his microphone up to my mouth. It was stressful.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I really enjoyed playing at Belcourt Taps in Nashville! It’s a small, intimate venue, which I find makes for an amazing, interactive show. I also loved Cafe Coco’s open mic nights and got some of my first performing experience in Nashville there. I would love to play at some of the other iconic Nashville spots such as The Bluebird and The Listening Room!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I would LOVE to open for Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, or Marina someday! I would also love to perform alongside BANKS, Sevdaliza, or Poppy. There are so many talented women in the music industry that I’d be honored to have the chance to perform with!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Don’t let anyone get into your head about your career. It is challenging and a tough business to break into, but it is so worth it to follow your own heart and your own dreams rather than be limited by someone else’s fears. It’s wise to work on your self-confidence and be rooted firmly in who you are so that no one’s criticism will throw you off track. Take risks and be yourself! That’s what people will love you for.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
You can do it. Anyone who discourages you or doesn’t support your music is most likely just jealous of how you are willing to take the risk to go for your dreams. And don’t bite your tongue - vulnerability and honesty are your strengths.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I’d probably have to say “Denial.” I was in such a bad place when I wrote “Denial” that I just literally had to live in a state of denial just to cope with getting through my everyday life. I was working two jobs and going to school full-time and didn’t have the luxury of TIME available to me to process a very sudden and severe breakup. However, I had the idea to write a song encapsulating that feeling, and the song ended up sparking the idea for my entire Stages of Grief EP. Writing that EP in my free time gave me the means to process my emotions in a healthy, productive way, and I’m very proud of myself for making something beautiful out of a painful situation.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love to perform “Ghost” because it’s just so fun to sing! People often request “The Suburbs,” which I am always happy to play as it was one of my very first babies. The creative process for me usually starts with an idea for a line or a title, or a melody popping into my head, which I jot down in my Notes app or take a voice memo of. Then, when I have time, I can turn that idea into a fully-fledged song! My inspiration comes from really anything - it could be a situation that I can’t get out of my mind, or simply a funny or clever concept. I like to romanticize the ordinary in life and see where I can harvest ideas from. It’s a fun game that songwriters seem to enjoy - collecting ideas from the ordinary things in life and transforming them into something extraordinary.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I try to send a message of perseverance through the pain in life. I like to own my sadness so that it doesn’t own me. Feel your feelings thoroughly so that you can process them correctly and move on. There’s always light to be found in a dark situation.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Honestly, very rarely! When I met my producer Omgprkr, it just felt like I was working with an extension of myself. We’re very honest and blunt with each other and I feel like that saves us from conflict. As for my songwriting, I usually collaborate with talented and kind people who know how to navigate disagreements without hurting anyone’s feelings! We always find a way to make the song work. Sometimes, you simply need a break from the music for the day so that you can come back with fresh ears.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My new EP Stages of Grief is coming out May 27th! Until then, I’ll be hard at work getting everything together to promote this new release! I also look forward to resuming in-person performances again after receiving the next dose of my COVID vaccine!