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Issue 61 New Music: Roses Gabor

We first clocked on to Roses Gabor last year when SBTRKT released his much lauded debut album. Roses featured on one of the stand out tracks, ‘Pharoahs’ – her husky, playfully lush vocals had us hooked, so when she released a mixtape on her Soundcloud at the start of the year we got psyched for some original material. And it’s finally here, in the fantastically addictive, Redlight-produced single, ‘Stars’. New Music Ed, Bronya, met up with her recently, at the start of her solo career, to talk about her collaborations so far. Also in Notion Magazine Issue 61.

Can you explain what happened between when you first got into music and where you are now?
I worked in the city for a while and did music on the side. I thought I was giving it 100% but I wasn’t; I’d start at 10 o’clock at night and finish at 4am, or something, and then go to bed for 8am. I put a lot into it but I was still working full time. I decided to leave a couple of years ago, and Seiji (producer) sent me an instrumental for Redlight’s ‘Stupid’. I wrote the song and Red said he liked it. We went and recorded it – that was the underground song that introduced me.

You’ve grown up in London so how have you seen the music scene here change?
The internet has really brought people together – it’s very easy to contact people and it’s easy for people to find interesting music. Then it’s also made it easier to jump onto an opinion that one person has rather than enjoying the music and having your own mind about it.

How did the Gorillaz collab on ‘Dare’ come about? Do you reckon that was your career launch pad?
I don’t feel like it was a launch pad but it was an amazing experience. I met Noodle in a phone box in Earls Court, and she wanted me to sing the chorus because she said she couldn’t sing, and then we went to record it. I didn’t think anything of it – I was working at the time – and then I got a call asking if I had the album and if I could come and record the radio version of ‘Dare’. I was told it was the next single, and then the next call I got was asking where I wanted the platinum plaque delivered – it went to number one – so I got that sent to work. It was quite surreal. I do things like spend eight weeks on a bus with Bobby Womack and Little Dragon and then go back to doing normal, everyday stuff.

I didn’t even realise it was your vocal on ‘Dare’ until recently.
That’s the thing: hardly anyone does, and that’s cool ‘cause I can pull it out the bag at a party and be like ‘Guess what I can do?’

You’ve worked with Redlight quite a lot as well.
He moved to London from Bristol since we made ‘Stupid’, and then we started working together a lot. He works in a studio next to Toddla [T] as well, so when he’d need vocals he’d get me to do them – you’ll hear a couple of my secret appearances on his tracks.

You don’t DJ or produce do you?
Production-wise, I can tell you what sound I want. I feel things. I’m not very technical; I’m more instinctive. Producers are quite geeky.

Have you learnt anything from working with all these different people?
They tend to do their thing and I do mine – I write lyrics and melody. The first thing I do is write a melody, and then write the lyrics. Producers might start in the middle of the track – Redlight especially – but I always prefer to do the whole thing at once. In that sense, they’ve taught me to negotiate with parts of a song rather than to focus on the whole picture.

Is all of your music that we haven’t heard yet dance/bass oriented?
Currently, yeah, but I write a lot of pop songs for new artists. And that’s why my mixtape is so diverse. Being a Londoner as well, your influences are going to be diverse – like having an element of soul, or hip hop, dance, or Capital FM type of music. I’ve never been a person who likes to be restricted; I like to be free. Humans are always changing – we’re meant to grow and evolve rather than be one thing.

You’ve just released your debut single ‘Stars’; are you finally going to be making a solo album?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve written so many songs over the years, so I’ve always had a huge collection; it’s about having a sound where everything ties together. My album’s going to be quite diverse, and the common thread between songs, currently, is my voice, which is fine. But I feel they need a bit more gelling together. Hopefully I’ll release my second single around February.

Seeing as you worked in the City before going into music full time, do you reckon you’ll keep doing this for the foreseeable future now?
Yeah. My old mates from work came to see me at a gig the other day and were like, ‘What were you doing all this time?!’ I’m just a creative person.

Roses Gabor’s debut single, ‘Stars’, is out now through Girls Music.

-Bronya Francis

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