Here I interview singer-songwriter Roxze. She talks about her experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
It actually started when I was at university. I joined a band, and I sang in front of a crowd of 1,000 at the Sadler Wells theatre. From there I got the adrenaline addiction that comes with live music, and I also started working with a Portuguese guitarist, Miguel.
On one occasion we attended a gig and Miguel forgot his chord sheet, so we improvised. I made up a whole song on the spot and that's where this skill for improvisation became apparent, developed by a jazz tutor. I attended 100s and 100s of open mic nights and jams. At one stage 5 a week when living in London. Also recording at high profile music studios and I guess I continue to develop and grow daily. Now working with my new band FiveFiveSix and being booked up for gigs for the year.
Who are your influences?
I have so many influences. My ears are so delicate, so I listen attentively to everything. Bjork was the pioneer of ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response). She would record songs with a cricket mic, to pick up even the slightest sounds in her vocals. I find that incredible and so influential for my music because it reminds me there are no rules and even the slight rasp to your vocal is of importance.
David Bowie, I loved him immensely, his creativity, his demeanour, his music and vision. He would also fight for what was right, standing up against racism on MTV was a key moment I recall seeing. Other artists include Mick Jagger (we both studied at the LSE), so I was influenced in terms of pursuing a music career following my degree, Freddie Mercury, for his songwriting, Blood Orange for his unconventionality in songwriting, Madonna for continually reinventing herself, the list is endless....
With your music where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g. how do you start your songs & what's your process?
Life. I feel everything in such a deep way. I love, I experience breakups, I dance, I cry. I explore and then I write. I never create music if it feels forced. I took about a year out recently because I hadn't processed what I'd been through in life to warrant writing a song about it. Then a producer hits me up with a track I'll listen to it and if I feel it connects to what I've experienced then I'll run with it.
I just always catch a vibe first and foremost, does it feel like I'm getting something off my chest, yes. If not, then it's not for me. My music is like therapy, it helps to address my past. 'Inflicted' is a primary example of that, from the debut EP- This song encapsulated years of pain where I ran away to a new City to start afresh and ended up getting into more of a mess. I thought being intoxicated was the answer, it wasn't.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I think it's important to listen to everything and have an open mind to gain inspiration but whether you chose to immerse yourself in a certain sound is a different story altogether. I have always taken great influence from old music, rock, soul and rnb classics. Contemporary music I enjoy but if I were to say I was invested in this sound as I am the old school then I'd be lying. I'd say it's a 30% -70% split, I love my classics!
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Yes, most certainly. To learn techniques, body language, crowd control. There may even be instances where you may not connect with a performers delivery but watching them live teaches you why that's the case and what you wouldn't do as an artist.
I must say I do get itchy feet when I watch a live festival gig, as I always want to jump on the stage. I guess it's the same as a footballer at a major supporting event, you just want to get onto the pitch, but I always have a huge appreciation and respect for the artist doing their thing up there. It takes a lot for a singer to perform live, performers can be very underestimated by a crowd.
Roxze and her band FiveFiveSix
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to making music & performing live?
With performing live, I would say just go for it. You grow with experience. The highs and the lows. I'm not the same performer I was when I first started out. I remember one of my first performances; it was a pub gig, and I ran home, buried myself under the duvets and refused to come out I was so embarrassed by how bad it went. It's all a part of the process, you only get stronger and stronger until one day you are no longer aspiring to be a singer, you just are one.
When it comes to making music do what feels right for you, never compromise your creativity, or try to be anyone else. Just go with your gut, your heart and the overall vibe. Deep down you know what feels right.
Find out more about Roxze at www.Roxze.co.uk
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