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Songtrust Spotlight: Bianca Rose

In 2017 British/Jamaican/Nigerian singer-songwriter Bianca Rose released her debut album "No Fear Here," which has, to date, received in excess of half a million streams, and was produced by critically acclaimed jazz musician and producer Femi Temowo. Following the release, Rose embarked on U.K. and European tours as well as continued to write for herself and other artists.  

Rose’s live shows have included sets for Sofar Sounds, Tigmus, London Jazz and Festival, City Showcase, The Vortex, and the CrimeJazz Festival in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. With additional performances for Playstation, OH TV, and radio play on Radio 1 and 1Xtra. She also toured the Czech Republic in 2019. 

Rose is also a talented songwriter and lyricist in the Ready Riters songwriting collective. She co-wrote X-Factor contestant Annastasia Baker’s debut album, resulting in Annastasia’s 2014 Mobo nomination. She also co-wrote a song for Jake Isaac's deluxe album, "Honesty," and co-wrote and performed on a collaborative single "Brother," released in 2020 with Jake Isaac, Guvna B, and Joshua Luke Smith. Rose is also a featured artist on Matthew Herbert's recent release "Musca." She was the vocalist on three tracks on the album, one of which, "Gold Dust," has received extensive radio support with features on Giles Peterson's and Jamie Cullum's (BBC Radio 2) shows. Rose collaborated with label Frtyfve records to release a cover of "Build Me Up Buttercup" which has almost 300,000 streams to date and was followed by a further cover of the Spice Girls song "Stop" released to support women in music.

Bianca Rose, a proud, independent artist also co-founded a company, I Am Independent, which serves to resource and support independent music artists, cross-pollinating advice, and experiences from artists and music industry members alike. 

In 2019 a new single, "Run & Hide," produced by Jake Isaac marked a significant change in Rose’s musical direction. The vibey track introduced synth and heavy bass to create an alternative RnB sound with melancholic undertones. Following up with another single "Home," she had carved for herself a unique sound that began to catch the ear of tastemakers.  

Then 2020 turned out to be a remarkably creative year for Bianca Rose, despite the trials and tribulations it brought. Fueling Rose’s creativity during the lockdown, she not only managed to release more singles but also wrote a mixtape which turned into her 2021 album release, "If You Knew, Would You Care?" The album, released in Mental Health Awareness Week, was largely an exploration of Rose’s own journey of processing 2020 as a Black woman and explores themes of mental health, race, identity, family, and healing. Receiving rave reviews and accompanied by a series of stunning videos, she was one of the artists who flourished despite the difficulties of the last few years. Following up with an instrumental E.P and a live E.P of some of the album tracks Bianca Rose has gone from strength to strength. She supported Jake Isaac on his U.K. tour in 2021 and The Kingdom Choir at The Roundhouse in January this year. With more live dates and a new project planned for 2022, Bianca Rose is firmly on the map so watch this space!

Bianca Rose

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?

I wanted to be a barrister until I actually studied law at uni and decided it wasn’t for me. The only other thing I loved to do was sing so I started writing. My uncle gave me a guitar and that’s when I really began to find my voice both lyrically and sonically.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?

I think my music and performance style is ever-evolving, as I think it should be. Lyrics and messages are really important to me and my performances reflect that. When I’m on stage, I try to forget that I’m on a stage, I try to create an atmosphere that feels like we’re having a conversation, an exchange of sorts. I like to share music and stories in response to the feeling in the room, so whilst I’m always really rehearsed, I try to leave room for spontaneity. 

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC? 

I’m driven by my need to express what I have to say, and music and song are my most effective way of doing this. If there was another way that felt more natural to me or effective then I’d do that. Success to me is being able to do this, make and share music for as long as I’d like to, to an interested and growing audience.  

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST WITH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT? 

I think my growth as an artist, runs parallel to my growth as a human, so my faith and family have been pivotal to my development. Authors have helped to shape my thinking and perspective, and therefore the content of my music massively. My manager and friend, Loretta, has been an incredible support, even before she became my manager. She believes so much in my music and my place in this business, and as an independent artist especially, that kind of support has been invaluable.

SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF? 

I think taking a long perspective on my music career has been really helpful. For example, when releasing new music, it can feel really exciting and that this particular single, EP, or album is your best work. Expectations can be really high, and if the world doesn’t respond as you think it should to this work, it can feel demoralising. I found it important to remember that I plan on making a lot more music and albums, and this is just one release in a long line of releases. I’m on a journey and this release is just a part of that story.  

HOW DO YOU THINK THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CAN DEVELOP INTO A MORE EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR WOMEN MUSIC CREATORS? 

I think things are slowly moving in the right direction, however, creating more space for female producers and engineers is really key, as well as employing more women in executive roles in the industry. I think women being in these positions of influence and decision-making can make change from the inside out.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED? 

I would say: be malleable, in a specific way. That is how the industry shifts and changes.  Understanding that people will continue to consume music in different ways over time is inevitable will make the need to adapt the way we deliver music less painful. I would also say to be confident in the fact that the female voice and perspective in all of its variety is very important and necessary.

WOMEN ARE BECOMING MORE EMPOWERED, NOT ONLY IN KNOWING THEIR VALUE BUT ALSO IN SETTING BOUNDARIES, GOING AFTER WHAT THEY WANT AND DESERVE, AND LIFTING UP OTHER WOMEN IN THE PROCESS. WHAT MOTTO, AFFIRMATION, OR QUOTE EMPOWERS YOU? 

"To live in the mind of another person is a foolish place to be."

This quote has helped me become less intimidated on stage, in sessions, and also in meetings with industry folk. I can never really know what anyone else is thinking so I might as well stop letting what they might be thinking of impact me.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP IN 2022?

After the release of my album, "If You Knew, Would You Care?," I’m focusing on live performance and writing for my next release. I’m also a voiceover artist, so I’m busy with that this year too!

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