Having crooned along to the gentle dripping of Old Man River and made many a bun rise with The Bakery, Sydney based songstress Rosie is ready to step out on her own as she prepares to launch her debut solo EP at SunSets at Fringe Bar on the 19th of April.
As we discuss the EP she makes it clear that to her it’s really more of a tiny taste. “Rather than calling it an EP, I think I would have to say this release is more of a little appetiser of ‘Rosie’ and what is to come! It is the entrée. What do you call an entrée in musical terms?” she asks pausing a moment in confusion.
“Anyway this is my debut solo release,” she continues. “It seems it has only been a few hours in the making, as I am frantically trying to finish it – but in reality I have been sitting on a whole bunch of songs since I was 15. I thought it was about time I got my act together. So I decided to set a launch date, before even conceiving the product, and got stuck into recording. I chose 3 songs, which seemed fairly representative of me and my current emotional/musical state. Then, with the engineering talents of my good friend Byron Mark and his ‘Springfield’ Studio, I laid down all the guitars, bass, vocals and sitar in about 2 sessions. Byron provided the keys and percussion. The final tracking and mixing was done at Albert’s Studio in Neutral Bay; the mastering by the awesome Mick Lynch – and then bam – the 3-track musical hors d’ouevre arrived,” she laughs, her face lighting up with mischief before leaning in and with a posh accent tells me, “for the entrée on today’s menu we have 3 tasty new songs for your aural pleasure. They were recorded on a full stomach on the back of Byron’s parent’s generous Greek hospitality, and completed via a few favours from some other special people.”
As I mentioned before, Rosie has been working with local 14-piece funk powerhouse The Bakery and indie folk troubadour Old Man River for a while now. With both projects flourishing, I was a little perplexed at her taking the difficult road of trying to launch a solo career. “I absolutely love doing the big band thing,” she explains enthusiastically, “but there is something organically appealing and satisfying about playing in a more intimate context. There is a completely different dynamic in my ‘Rosie’ project and a lot more space, sonically, for me to be my free-spirited self. Besides, in my live shows I commonly call upon many a guest artist to join me. For my launch show Byron will be playing percussion, Chris Arnott will be playing bass and there will be some other surprise guests too. I’ll give you a hint, they could possibly be related to me!”
“My solo project, although on the undercurrent, is what I’ve been doing from the very beginning. I’ve just been distracted of late by the waves of awesomeness that The Bakery and Old Man River have been riding, so I haven’t been able to fuel my solo project as much as I would like. It has kind of been in restless hibernation for the past couple of years. But the time is nigh. Brace yourselves!”
While it’s easy to see she’s loving the solo stuff, it’s never an easy task launching a new project, but luckily she’s had a little help from her fellow musos. “It can be rather hard to find motivation sometimes, to source out your own gigs, make fliers etc., and “sell yourself” as a solo entity. That’s why it’s great that I am in close musical association with Byron and a whole other menagerie of talented musicians who support me and are keen to hop on board for my live shows.”
With her all her projects varying widely in terms of influences and genres, it’s easy to see that Rosie was exposed to a variety of different music when growing up, all of which informs her music today. “I was brought up listening to a lot of different music, although I must say that old school soul and funk is what really resonates with me to date. My mum tells me that I was a nappy groover – dancing as a diaper-clad toddler to Aretha Franklin, and Paul Simon’s Graceland. Singing “awah awah”. I also love jazz and that genre they call ‘world music’. Having had a pretty crazy childhood spent in a boarding school in the Himalayas, Indian music (classical Hindustani as well as Bollywood) will always transport me to that warm fuzzy place, reminiscent of incense and colourful saris.”
So her music is obviously not exactly standard fare. “It sounds like a blend of exotic fruit in your favourite cocktail as you sip it on a tropical beach with the sultry summer breeze blowing off the Indian Ocean and the orange sun setting on the horizon. Now imagine this Postcard/Kodak moment wrapped up in a honey coated velvet package – and you have the sound of Rosie.”
Feeling slightly aroused and very hungry after that comment, I feel it’s time to bring the interview to a close. Before leaving, I enquire what’s on the cards for Rosie. “Well after this ‘EP’ I hope to actually release an EP or an album mid next year. But I am inclined to think that I may be tempted to release a range of men’s scented underwear. Or I might just become a nun and move in to hibernation in Switzerland.”