‘A Rose By Any Other Name...’
Blonde-haired beauty, Anna Rose is not your average 24-year old singer, songwriter, guitarist. Beneath her gentle exterior lies a hard-core rock ‘n roll chick. Born in Manhattan but raised in upstate New York, Rose has channeled her love for classic rock into an organic and paisley printed fabrication. Inspired by the thoughtful and carefree California of the 60’s and 70’s, she sings of light hearted lyrics while strumming along to groovy bohemian beats. With the recent release of her debut self-titled EP, Anna Rose bares her heart and soul in a psychedelic peepshow to the forthcoming release of her new album, 'Nomad'.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Rose and discussed the exciting new album, upcoming shows as well as her undying love for Jimi Hendrix and all things rock ‘n roll.
Your music has it’s roots in classic rock. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "My influences change from time to time, but there are certain musicians and writers that I always come back to. Those same artists have influenced me from the beginning. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan...if I feel lost or uninspired I always come back to classic rock, folk and blues because it is where I feel most at home."
As an up-and-coming artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your new album 'Nomad'? "I would say that the sound is rooted in classic rock, but branches into folk, alternative, and blues. I don't really like to say it's pop music, but I can't lie, the pop sound is definitely in my blood and it finds its way into my music sometimes."
Although the album isn’t out until 2010, your five-song EP is set for release September 29. How did you decide which songs to put on the EP and how is this release the best representation of your approach to music? "That was a really hard decision for me. Ultimately, I decided that I would treat the EP like an introduction and try to give the listener the best first impression that I could. I chose songs that I felt were easily approachable, if that makes sense. On the other hand, I also chose songs that tell my story a bit because I want people to get to know me through my music more than anything."
You’ve recently returned to your homestate of New York after living several years in Los Angeles to pursue your music career. Tell us a little bit about how this move influenced your writing style - and why you decided to take your life back to New York "A lot of my move back to New York had to do with this sense of completion I felt after finishing Nomad. Well...wait. Maybe that's a lie. I was pretty much ready to move back before we even recorded the album. I just felt like it was time. While L.A. was my homebase, I travelled a lot and never stayed in one place for very long, so coming back to New York was just my way of settling down."
"I feel like I became an adult in L.A., though, because I moved there having no family or friends in that city, so every experience was entirely my own. I initially went there for college and then left to pursue music full time, so I will always love the city of Los Angeles because it solidified my dream. New York has always been my home, though, so the decision to return wasn't a difficult one. In terms of my writing style, I think New York is challenging me, which is thrilling and terrifying at the same time."
Your father is Oscar and Grammy winning composer, Alan Menken. How do you think growing up in a musical household has factored into your talents as an artist? "I think having parents who are artists (my mom is a dancer) allowed me to feel comfortable pursuing music as my career. Frankly, they believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. My dad, in particular, always took me along to recording sessions when he could. He showed me all the work that goes into making music, which made me love it even more. I feel very lucky to have my parents."
You once got into a physical altercation after an argument over who was the better guitarist, Clapton or Hendrix. You were on Team Hendrix -- tell us a little about this passion of yours for the superstar musician "Hah, yeah that was a funny night. I still can't believe I did that, but it makes for a great story! I think I love Jimi Hendrix so much because I know I will never be able to play like that and his guitar playing just makes my heart feel like it's going to explode. There are whole lives lived in his solos. On a personal level, if I need to forget about my life for a minute, to ease some kind of pain, it will always be Jimi Hendrix that I put on. There's too much to say...I idolize him."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "I really can't think about music like that because it feels unnatural. I dont try to write songs to surpass others, I write because I love it and if there is even one person who relates to and/or enjoys my music, then that makes me feel really lucky. Trying to write with that kind of pressure attached puts this unattainable goal in front of me. A truly beloved song is timeless anyway and I could never even begin to compare myself against other artists."
You’re scheduled to play the Blender Theatre at Gramercy in NYC on September 21 along with the band, Die Pretty. Just a few days before the release of your EP, how do you think the show will help put your name, and more importantly your music, out there? "This particular show is really cool because it's a great venue and I am now actually opening for Jace Everett, who wrote and performs the theme song for True Blood. At this point in my career, any show is great, but opening for such a amazing artist allows people who listen to his music to, hopefully, discover mine."
Former ‘The Doors’ executive producer, Bruce Botnick, served as executive producer of your new release Nomad. How do you feel this iconic connection is reflected in the album itself? "Bruce is so awesome, having him work on this record as the executive producer was such an honor. I think the most important thing he did for me was encourage me to follow my instincts, actually, because I really wanted to use as many full takes as possible during the recording process, rather than cutting up the songs section-by-section. I once asked Bruce whether Jim Morrison would have liked my music and his response was, "I think he would have appreciated your neurosis." I will never forget that. I also will never be able to thank Bruce enough for his work on this record."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "There are two songs I actually really want to cover! One is 'Bette Davis Eyes' by Kim Carnes and the other is 'Take Me Home Tonight' by Eddie Money. I don't know why, they're just great songs!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins, do you? "Who DOESN'T love penguins!? I want to speak to a person who doesn't!"
To learn more about Anna Rose’s music and upcoming tour dates, check out her personal website and Myspace page.
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
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