Elizabeth Mencel, best known as the performer & singer, Rozes, hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known for her mega collaboration of 2015, "Roses," having partnered with The Chainsmokers. Last night, I had the opportunity to catch up with her and had a mini improv photo-session at The Fillmore in Philadelphia! Shout out to P.G. Photography for the amazing photos of Rozes!
You began your musical career at North Penn High School. Tell us about your musical background, and the many musical instruments your proficient in!
I was born into a very musical family, so I began learning to play and sing at a young age. I remember singing with my dad while he played guitar. Later, I joined a traveling children’s’ choir, school concert and jazz bands, musical theater, and school choral groups. Throughout life, I’ve learned to play piano, saxophone, clarinet, violin, guitar, flute, and now I’m learning the Ukulele.
When you collaborated with The Chainsmokers originally, what was running thru your mind at that time? Did you have this gut-feeling that the song would get all the attention & publicity, which it did?
I’m not really sure what I thought of it at the time, it all seems like a perfect blur now. I remember being really excited to work with them and hopeful for what we would come up with. When we wrote the song we had no clue that it was going to turn into what it did, we just thought it was a cool song that people might like and discover through online outlets such as Soundcloud.
From when Burn Wild first released “Under the Grave,” one can tell there is an evolution in your sound. How do you feel you’ve personally grown in your music?
I think that throughout my writing career thus far, I have developed different writing techniques and have experienced more mature and emotional life events. I myself have matured as well. Different things mean more to me than they used to. I’ve gotten to work with some of my most idolized producers, which has gained me more writing experience and growth musically.
What challenges have you faced musically? And how have you learned from and appreciated those moments?
The biggest challenge I face is writing a song without insulting someone. My motto is to always write what’s true, what’s almost killed me, and what’s keeping me alive. Sometimes people take my lyrics the wrong way, and sometimes don’t understand that I will dig into my past to break my heart so I can heel a listener who is going through what I once did. I’ve learned to be more sensitive to my personal listeners. Sometimes it’s not about who you’re heeling but who you’re unintentionally hurting along the way. I think this will always be a struggle for me, but at the same time, I owe it to my listeners to be honest about my emotions.
When one listens to “Under the Grave,” any listener gets an immediate sense that it strings from a personal emotion. Tell us a bit about the inspiration and background behind this song, and why you chose to write it?
“Under The Grave” is a very personal song for me. It’s my open apology to my friends for not being there when I should have been. It is so easy to get caught up in your own mind in this industry because sometimes it’s the only thing that can keep you sane. I needed to write this song because I needed to show myself, my friends, and my listeners that I write so honestly, I’m even willing to throw myself under the bus.
When you’re sitting at home and catch bits & pieces of yourself on national television shows, how does it make you feel? Did you ever, in you wildest dreams, think that when you wanted to leave Temple and fully pursue music that it would end up with such amazing results?
I still get butterflies. I don’t think that will ever end. It’s a dream coming true! I think it’s important for my fans to know that I do have an Associates degree and that when I was thinking about leaving school, I made sure that I was on the right track to my dream. I waited until music made me so busy; it was impossible to get to my classes. So I guess my answer to that is yes – I did know that when I chose to leave temple my pursuit of music would make it all worth it. A dream without a plan is just a dream.
What is your song-writing process? Do you require solitude? Or does a lively environment inspire you more?
I think I can write in any environment. When my emotions start to kick in, it’s like it’s the (or guitar) and I are the only thing in the room. That’s not to say I don’t have a favorite though, sometimes I love to just sit in my studio at home with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and just write.
When someone listens to your music, what is the one thing you hope they walk away with once they hear it?
Comfort. I want my listeners to feel less alone in their emotions. I want them to find a friend in me and in my music.
Who are some of your music inspirations?
I love Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones, The 1975, Fleetwood Mac, Twenty One Pilots, and old school No Doubt.
You have an amazing sense of style & fashion; who inspires you when it comes to fashion?
I grew up with all boys, so I’m lead to believe my sense of fashion is pure luck. I like to wear what I feel good in, and what I feel like a star in. It’s so important to feel beautiful and to feel like you; so I pick things that I love. I really don’t do well with having other people tell me what to wear. I love outrageous furs, sparkles, tall-healed shoes, rose crowns, lipstick, funky nails, gold, and black.
If we were to steal your phone and check your playlist, who would be on it right now?
I love the new Snakehips and MØ song, Don’t Leave; I also love Highly Suspect’s, Little One. I would also have John legend, Bruno Mars, 888, and Twenty One Pilots.
What are some things you have planned for 2017?
I plan to do lots or touring, writing, and releasing a full-length album or LP.
Bravura is an artistic word for exceptional; what about you as an artist and your music, do you feel is “bravura”?