Erika Rose: Musical FreedomTuesday, August 07, 2007
Now the time has come for the bohemian siren and her angelic voice coupled with an authentic 70’s sound to let the realness of her debut album titled “Rosegarden” change the world. As the saying goes, a rose is still a rose and this Rose’s music will blossom into something great and beautiful as well as take listeners to a land of euphoric and bring the beauty of art to ‘musical freedom’ and excellence.
Singersroom: When did you realize that your creativity had to be released?
Erika Rose: It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that it really got to me. My parents really wanted me to be in Business so I studied Economics in college but I was very unhappy. At the time I was in a group and that was the only source of my joy and …It was then that I realized that if I didn’t wake up everyday to [make something] of my life [that] I wouldn’t really be happy at heart and so I decided to leave the school I was attending and to audition for a music program. That’s how I begun my journey and commitment.
Singersroom: You co- wrote “A Woman’s Worth” with Alicia Keys, so how did the two of you meet?
Erika Rose: We met [when] we were four years old; Alicia grew up in the same building as my uncles and cousins, so she became a family friend at a very early age.
Singersroom: You were Alicia Keys’ assistant, then her road manager, now you are a solo artist; why the transition? Did you feel like something was missing in your life and that you needed to do something about it?
Erika Rose: Basically, she [Alicia] was going on the road and she asked me to go with her. While we were on the road, the Road Manager left and so I took that position on and it just happened. The position was a blessing for me because I learned about the business. There was nothing but hands on experience and those four years of me working there was like getting my Masters Degree. I really got to learn the ins and outs of the business; that knowledge and experience has allowed me to do this project independently now, and know exactly what I need to do. If I did not have that experience I would have been a bit lost.
Singersroom: What have you learned from Alicia Keys since you share many similarities?
Erika Rose: I learned what it honestly takes to be in this business; and that’s a lot of hard work, strength, grace, and patience. Being able to watch her deal beyond the public eye and having to do everything that you have to do to get your music out [to] the world was really an incredible experience to see. Watching her was like I was being taught what it meant. She’s an incredible example of what it would take to really make your dreams come true.
Singersroom: I am sure that a lot of people would want to know what separates Erika Rose from Alicia Keys.
Erika Rose: We’re two different people …we share the same interest and ideas. Musically she has… a more of a classic soul style. I really come from more of a classic rock and pop vibe. We come from different places musically… and it shows in the music.
Singersroom: You are an award winning songwriter, why leave something so successful to become a singer when you know the ups and down of the business?
Erika Rose: I am not looking to settle in my life and just do something because it’s comfortable. I look to push myself to grow. I had dreams of singing, writing, dancing, and performing since I was a little girl. That’s not something I am willing to give up on. It was just a matter of time before I was going to pursue it. There is no struggle in the world that will keep me from singing because I know that is my destiny.
Singersroom: Talking about expressing yourself, when you co-wrote “A woman’s worth” did you think this song would have given your singing career an edge over somebody else?
Erika Rose: Of course, I think it gave me a certain level of credibility because it’s a song that people know and like. It definitely helps in being respected by people in the industry and by my peers to have been able to co-write on that song.
Singersroom: Your album titled “Rosegarden” was released on July 24th 2007, what is your biggest fear about it?
Erika Rose: I don’t have any fear about the album, I just have excitement about it, and I am ready for it to do well. It’s been a long time coming, I am just exited, and I can’t wait; no fear.
Singersroom: Why the name Rosegarden? Is it because you have something beautiful growing inside of you that you want to share it with everyone else?
Erika Rose: Yes it is something very similar to that. Obviously, my name is Rose and this whole process for me has been like cultivating and planting seeds and nourishing and growing. This incredible journey of watching something grow from beginning to end puts me in a position to take on a whole new life. When I think of a rose garden in my mind it’s an enchanted creation [of] butterflies and waterfalls. It’s very descriptive of the journey that got me here and my sentiments about where I am right now with this record.
Singersroom: You have collaborated on this album with music producer Om’Mas Keith of the group SA-RA, how did the two of you meet?
Erika: I went out to L.A to do some work and I got called in to come audition for this group and sing background vocals…I thought it was going to be fun, I went and met the band and everyone was really cool and I liked the music and the vibe and they gave me the job and that’s how we met.
Singersroom: You describe your music as being the music of freedom, why such affirmation?
Erika Rose: In the industry now they really try to impose standards on artists as to what kind of music they create and how they create it … ranging from rock to jazz, soul to pop, to funk and so on. I really wanted to thrive from all of those influences, making it into something that really was me …and that’s why it’s freedom. I didn’t go into this album with any preconceived ideas of it having to be a certain way so that people would like it or radio station would play it … I really took a free approach to it and I think that it’s what really guarded the making of this entire record.
Singersroom: You are also a humanitarian, how do you manage to find the time to help others?
Erika Rose: I feel like part of my existence is to be part of a community. It’s just part of ‘existence,’ it’s not all about me and my life and what I want. It has to be with the work I am in and how I’m contributing. Helping others is something that gives my life meaning at the end of the day … I feel like my life will be almost empty without that kind of purpose because there’s so much more than me and my little life.
Singersroom: Being bi-racial, did you encounter any racism in your life?
Erika Rose: The beautiful thing was that my parents really instilled a part of ‘acceptance’ at a young age and I didn’t know the difference. When I was living in New York it was nothing. It wasn’t until I got to Florida and I was going to a predominately white private school that I experienced minimal prejudice. I didn’t feel like I had enough black people in my life. It was like I was missing a little bit of who I was and being able to recognize [the] experience of what it is to be black …It wasn’t until I went on the road with Alicia that I really felt more comfortable with who I was because I was able to be around people [who understand me].
Singersroom: What does the future hold for you?
Erika Rose: Touring, marketing, and promoting everything I am doing in the business. I want to get the show on the road. There is a lot of humanitarian work to do. I feel this is only the beginning of my life. I just see a huge future ahead of me. I am behind the wheel driving this big ship, just set out to ocean, just set sail, it’s exciting. ------ By: Interview By Valerie Varasse