ROZES Opens Up About Self-Care, Being a Role Model
It’s a Sunday afternoon in August and I’m waiting in the unseasonably chilly media lounge to speak with ROZES, the powerhouse female vocalist behind the hit song “Roses,” which she co-wrote and recorded with the ubiquitous EDM duo, The Chainsmokers. Breezing in with a huge smile on her face, Rozes (whose real name is Elizabeth Mencel) immediately comes over and greets me with a hug – which is not surprising. She really is as nice and fun as she seems on Instagram. “You look familiar,” she says, before we sit down to get started with the interview. “Well, we met once after my boyfriend interviewed you for HuffPost, and I’ve been to a couple of your shows.” “Of course – don’t you guys have a chihuahua?” At this point, I’m honestly surprised my jaw wasn’t on the floor. Not only was she an incredible performer with a wide vocal and musical range (seriously – this girl can play a host of instruments, including the piano, guitar, saxophone, drums…), she was also genuinely…nice. A true pleasure to speak to!
After her killer set at Billboard’s Hot 100 Fest, Rozes and I sat down to talk about her new single with StayLoose, Mean to Me, as well as what it’s like to be a role model to young girls and how she keeps herself mentally healthy in such a demanding industry.
Q: Looking at the crowd for your set during Billboard Hot 100 Fest, I noticed how young the crowd was – you have a lot of impressionable teenagers and high schoolers dancing along, listening to your music – and looking up to you. What is it like to be a role model for them?
ROZES: It’s hard because I want to impress them, and keep their attention, and at the same time, I want to show them that it’s okay to like…not feel the rhythm sometimes, you know? So it’s like I’m there, trying to show them my music, but also they’re teaching me. I mean, it’s amazing having a footprint in this industry and being able to have an influence and all that, but it’s also scary, because you don’t wanna mess up.
Q: Totally understandable. Sounds like a lot of pressure! Speaking of which…I know that you are a huge mental health and wellness advocate. What are some things that you do to keep yourself grounded and present?
ROZES: It varies. It’s funny because music is my insanity and my sanity. My work is also my hobby, so it’s hard to escape that in that way, but I do still escape with music, which is nice. I do yoga a lot, play with my dogs…I feel like they’ll love me forever, no matter what mess-ups I have or anxieties in my head. And I just try so hard to live in the moment and as hard as it is, it’s something that is teaching me to appreciate life.
Q: It’s tough, I do a lot of meditation and it’s helpful, but I always wonder if anxiety is something that will ever fully go away…
ROZES: I think the thing is, most of my anxiety is from like…aging. Like I get so nervous that I should be “here” at my age, or “there” at my age, and it just puts this pressure on myself that is so unrealistic, and so unmanageable. In this industry there’s no correlation between how that person made it and how it’s supposed to be, you know what I mean? It’s so scattered, there’s no formula.
Q: Switching gears a little bit, I wanted to ask you about all the instruments you play, and if you bring them out on stage – and then at your set at Billboard Hot 100 you jumped on the drums and brought out a saxophone and were jamming away! Is there a particular instrument that you find yourself drawn to more?
ROZES: See the thing is, I started on piano and I write on piano, but the saxophone I used to play rigorously. I was in jazz band, training for state bands, things like that, so for me that instrument’s also a release in its own way. And it’s so funny, because people say it’s a unique instrument, and I was bullied in school for playing the saxophone, and now I’m like so cool for playing it [laughs]. It’s such a turn around. Like… “If only they could see me now!” [laughs]
Q: It’s so true! And they actually ARE seeing you now…
ROZES: [laughs] That’s right! They are.
Q: One last thing before we go – I wanted to ask you about the album art for your new single with StayLoose, Mean to Me. The design is really cool and you recently posted a picture of it on Instagram. Were you involved in designing that art? How did it come about?
ROZES: I wasn’t involved in designing that but it’s so funny to see somebody else’s interpretation of the song, because you know the song is, to me, not about somebody picking on someone, it’s me with love – me battling with love being mean to me. I don’t usually like to say “this song is about X” because somebody is going to find their escape thinking it’s about something else…so it’s really cool to see their interpretation.