ROZES, born Elizabeth Mencel, began inching towards this dream at just six-years-old. Between learning violin and piano, she became obsessed with Gwen Stefani, AliciaKeys, and Sara Bareilles. By high school, she started releasing music of her own. Junior year of college at Temple University saw her team up with Australian sensation Just A Gent for the viral hit, “Limelight.”Asher powerhouse voice turned heads around the world, The Chainsmokers took notice and tapped her to co-write and perform on“Roses.”Not only did it become a Top 40 smash and earn an RIAA triple-platinum certification, but it also led to performances on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden as well as Coachella and Billboard Hot 100Music Festival.
Unheard Gems: Welcome, ROZES, to Unheard Gems. We are honestly so happy to have the opportunity to talk with you. How are you doing?
ROZES: hi! Thank you, I’m good!
Unheard Gems: We are talking really just following the release of your newest song “Call Me”. I can’t say enough about how amazing this song is both in terms of the listening experience and the fact that it really is raising awareness for and supporting mental health. Can you tell us about this song and what it means to you?
ROZES: Thank you! This song is so important to me because as someone who struggles with mental health, I think it’s crucial that we speak about the importance of reaching out; the power of a phone call. I spend most of my time traveling, and can’t always be physically present for the people who need me to be. I think this is a reality for a lot of people, whether they’re at college, or away for work. When I wrote “Call Me”, I was away while someone I love was struggling with their mental health, and all I kept saying was “please call me,” all I could do was be there on the phone, which in the end, did make a difference. So many people reach out to me this way and it has saved me from a downward spiral many times.
Unheard Gems: What makes mental health such an important aspect of your songwriting and for the emphasis of this song in particular? I personally find music incredibly healing for me on my worst days. I could not really write or compose anything even if I tried but seeing and hearing artists take ownership of something (like mental health) that affects everyone, even in varying ways, and sharing that vulnerability and that understanding you hear in music, is really powerful, so thank you.
ROZES: I think the fact that mental health is a constant battle for me is something that makes it so important for me to speak about. There have been so many times where I have felt alone due to the isolation that my depression has forced me to feel, but the more I started speaking out about it, the more I realized that I truly wasn’t alone and there are people out there having the same feelings. I just really wanted to be there for anyone who has felt or is feeling the way I am, and I wanted to be a voice of hope. I wanted to be someone to show that struggles with mental health are okay, but also show the importance of finding healthy ways to weather the storm. I’m just trying to be honest with everyone about who I am, and hope that doing so can make a difference.
Unheard Gems: You released an EP last year and have already released a few songs this year. What can we expect from you in terms of more new music?
ROZES: I have lots of new music ready to go and I am so excited for everyone to hear them! This summer will be filled with new music, so stay tuned!
Unheard Gems: You have said you always try “to be ahead of the curve instead of following what’s popular now, I want to start trends.” That makes me so happy because we try and focus on what is next for music here on Unheard Gems. In your opinion, where is commercial music or pop-culture music heading?
ROZES: I think it’s all a giant experiment. I can’t really predict where I think pop-culture is heading, but I know where I am, and I’m just so excited to be releasing music that shows people exactly who I am and what I stand for. I think it’s super important to be speaking out, and standing up for a lot of things right now, and that’s where I think pop-culture should be heading.
Unheard Gems: You were really just around 20, I think, about four years ago when The Chainsmokers released ‘Roses’ which for me, age 14, became a song I had on non-stop. Knowing I was not the only one absolutely smitten with your voice from that point on, how do you think that song, or really any of your other features, shaped how people saw you as an artist and what was it like to suddenly have all of that attention.
ROZES: I spent a lot of time writing songs for EDM artists in the beginning of my career, and it opened a lot of doors for me, and is a huge contributor to the platform that I have today. I'm so thankful for having been able to showcase my writing and artistry in that way. I think it showed a lot of listeners who I am as an artist and writer and helped them understand my artistry.
Unheard Gems: You always are advocating and standing up for what you believe and feel is right and sharing that a lot through your music and the platforms you have but that can’t always be easy. Do you have any words of wisdom for your audience that you have learned along your way so far?
ROZES: You’re exactly right! Standing up for what you believe is not always easy, but it's always worth it. I think it’s important that people know that while you may face a lot of hardship in doing so, as long as you're staying true to yourself and promoting a positive and inclusive message, in the end, you are making a difference. Speaking up and standing up for yourself and the people you love is so freeing and crucial.
Unheard Gems: Just really wrapping up now, I love hearing what the artists we talk to are listening to. Who are some artists you think deserve more attention in the music industry and why?
ROZES: I have been loving the new Thomas Rhett album, it’s been on repeat in my house! I also am loving Lizzo, Ingrid Michaelson’s new material, and the new Jonas Brothers album.
Unheard Gems: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions?
ROZES: My music is available on all streaming platforms and make sure to follow me on socials @rozessounds!
Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube
“Call Me” - out NOW!
Interview by Hannah Schneider