Rosie Webb is an up-and-coming neo soul singer songwriter from East London, with her second independent released on Friday. The first was ‘Sunday’, an incredibly deep glimpse into how heartbreak can destroy a person. The song is hauntingly beautiful, showcasing Rosie as the strong singer that she really is. Thinking about her second single ‘Does She Know?’, Rosie’s cheekiness starts to come through with her to-the-point story writing, but again we’re met with her vocal power as we reach the bridge.
I’ve spent the last few months working with Rosie in the run up to the song release, helping her create the visuals for ‘Does She Know?’. Today, I’m joined by Rosie as I talk with her about being an independent artist, her music inspirations, and to reveal more about working together on the visual storytelling for the song.
Anna: Hey Rosie! Thanks for wanting to chat with me on Close-Up Culture. I’d love to go back to the beginning, and ask you how you found your voice, and what made you decide that you wanted to sing?
Rosie: Hi Anna! Thank you for having me! I love this question. I have always loved music and grew up watching The X Factor, Top Of The Pops and listening to 2000’s pop RnB music. One of my earliest memories of singing to an audience is from a Haven holiday park with my family when I was 7 years old. I was called up to be the magician’s assistant, and after the show, he asked me to entertain the audience whilst he made balloon animals. I took this VERY literally and belted out Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis! I left the stage shaking but knew that was the start of something special.
Anna: Who are your favourite artists? Who and what inspires you?
Rosie: I look up to strong female vocalists and conscious writers when it comes to my music style. Amy Winehouse, Jazmine Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone are some of my favourites. I have always been inspired by the drive and determination of these women in music. There is nothing else I could ever see myself doing apart from music and singing, and I have never nor will let anything or anyone stop me!
Anna: What’s it like being an independent artist?
Rosie: Gosh, it is beautifully messy! Some moments are beautiful as an independent artist; Meeting like-minded creatives, performing to intimate crowds and having genuine support for my music. However, the flip side can be draining when working alone, navigating social media and rejection. But tough times never last! There’s a lot of support from other independent artists because we get it!
Anna: ‘Does She Know?’ is your second release of the year. Can you talk us through what 2023 has been like so far for you as an artist? What have the highlights been?
Rosie: This year I’ve developed so much as an artist and person through the experiences I’ve had so far, and put them all into my writing! I’ve been lucky enough to grow my craft through my recent place on The Collective this summer, an artist development programme set up by You Press charity. Working alongside like-minded musicians all summer and creating amazing music together has been a highlight. The biggest highlights have also been getting my original music released!
Anna: What inspired you to write ‘Does She Know’? And what was the song writing process like?
Rosie: Well, the short story is I was lied to by an ex who I got with after we broke up. The long story is he was in a relationship and having a baby at the same time and I didn’t know! Once me and the mother found out, I felt an immense amount of guilt for something that I couldn’t control, and the best way I know how to express my feelings is through song. Then, I got in touch with my good friend Jessy, Dragonking, who had posted a really beautiful guitar riff that I found myself singing these lyrics over, and it has been a healing, fun process collaborating with great artists such as Dragonking and our producer Lyves, who just let me say and feel what I needed to in a safe space.
Anna: The track features just your voice and a guitar, thanks to Dragonking. How did you decide to bring your lyrics to life in this way?
Rosie: I wanted it to feel like a conversation between me and the person I’m singing to. All of my lyrics come from real experiences, I feel I connect deeper with music when things are from the soul, and I love songs that have space for the singer to really sing! It is a conversation that has elements of reflection, guilt but owning my mistakes, as well as a haunting presence that lots of people hear on this record too!
Anna: Before we started chatting about the music video for the song, what visual style did you imagine for it?
Rosie: I always wanted an old-style movie opening scene for this as the guitar feels so classic. I wanted something that felt like you were right there watching an old video from a big 2000’s camcorder. I didn’t want anything super over budget or extravagant, cause that’s not my style of music. Does She Know is from the heart, raw and soulful so I knew I wanted something that could encapsulate those feelings, so the style in which it was filmed was perfect, the scenes that you curated and put together tell the story through film is better than I could have imagined.
Anna: Thank you, Rosie! It’s been so fun working on this project with you. I think it’s totally fair to say that it’s been a learning curve for both of us, but also an incredible creative journey that’s allowed us to input our creative opinions freely. What’s been your favourite part of working on the visuals together?
Rosie: This is my first female led project, from the production to the music video, it’s the first time I’ve worked with mostly female creatives on a track, so that has been really refreshing as this industry can be very male dominated! Working with you on not only the visuals, but the plans for release, the photography and the social media push has been such a dream because it has allowed me to reflect on all parts of the journey, where my strengths and weaknesses lie as an artist and I have had so much fun filming, even when I was sweating in the London heatwave! Reaching out for support is the best thing one can do and as the director, you have held a safe space for me to express myself through this video, and your ideas brought this to life! My favourite part was definitely creating the chaotic vibe with filming, the switches between Jazz, playing the other woman, being present and then disappearing, you captured it so well!
Anna: It’s wonderful to hear that from you Rosie! I think that my favourite part has been using a mixture of my camera collection. From my professional camera to a silly little digital camera I must have got when I was around 11, I’ve loved having the freedom to create with different video textures, and capture you in different ways to reflect you and the story behind the song. I just adore the look of disposable camera prints, the flicker of a camcorder, mirroring the footage from my childhood with what I’m making nowadays. So thank you Rosie for letting me experiment, and begin to solidify my shooting style!
I’m really proud of the final music video edit, and how we’ve been able to match up elements of the song with what the music video version of you is doing on screen. What’s it like watching yourself in the video and knowing that you went through similar feelings at one point?
Rosie: You should be so proud, I am so happy this all stemmed from a message on Instagram! I love the video so much, shooting it with you was a smooth and creative process, I had so much fun acting again too. Writing songs for me is almost like an out of body experience. I write what’s on my mind and in my soul and don’t think about it until I am done, so those feelings are always there, but not on the surface. Then to have the opportunity to explore Does She Know, dig deep and create a concept for this video, play with storyboards and ideas was something I’d love to do again! Especially shooting with people who believe in me and my music! Thank you Anna!
Anna: What are some of your favourite music videos? How do they inspire you?
Rosie: Oh I haven’t thought about this in years! I love a music video that takes a journey, tells a story, has a meaning to it. I loved Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran when it came out, I hadn’t seen a music video like it before! Tell Me by Spencer Sutherland is also a great concept, watering things that are dead in relationships, filling voids with things just to stay together. I also enjoy RAYE’s Flip a Switch music video, the rewind of the scenes paired with the sass in her music is brilliant!
Anna: You’ve only just released ‘Does She Know’, but I feel like every interview ends with the big question… What’s next? So Rosie Webb, what are you planning for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
Rosie: Does She Know has been my second release of the year, and I’m planning for one more before December! I’ve a few shows lined up, and I hope to be performing even more. My dream is to go on a tour and continue to release my music into the world and out of my song books! I love collaborating with artists and creatives too so there will definitely be lots of that happening! All with a splash of sass of course!
Find Rosie on Instagram.