Written by Ashley Friedman
Rose Cora Perry is a modern day example of an old school meets new world rockstar. With classic influences like Madonna, Norah Jones to MJ and Ian Thornley, Rose sings from the heart and shines from the stage. “A friend of mine once made the statement to me that your musical identity gets solidified around age 13 or 14 and it’s those bands that stick with you for life,” Rose says. “I can listen to any one of them and they still hit me like a ton of bricks in the same raw and real way they did when I first heard them as a teenager.”
At around four years old, Rose found herself singing “Castle on a Cloud” for a performance at Aeolian Hall in her hometown of London, Ontario. Rose recalls her first vocal recital, “I remember my legs were shaking so much from nerves that it added a bunch of extra (and unplanned) vibrato to my performance.”
In a digital world, tasks like keeping up with social media and managing press are things that are a part of every indie artist’s life nowadays. For an artist who is self-represented like Rose, factoring in things like marketing strategy, booking and press are just part of the everyday challenges of being a musician. “[It’s] running your band like a business – than actually writing songs or rehearsing,” says Rose. “…it’s frustrating at times how very little time I actually get to devote to my craft in comparison to everything else.”
When it comes to songwriting, Rose describes her process as nothing pre-planned or intentional. “It honestly just starts with an idea for a melody getting stuck in my head and me fleshing out whether or not a full song is there.”After figuring out a couple of words or phrases to go along with the vocal line, Rose will reach for her guitar and tab out an arrangement, letting the song tell its own story, in its own way. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I’ll go months without writing anything. Sometimes I’ll write several songs in one sitting. But it’s always very genuine, raw and real – it’s never something that’s “forced” or “constructed.”
Having had the experience of being a solo artist as well as being in bands, Rose talks about finding the right people if you want to make the jump from a solo career. “…[It] is far more about “fit” than talent. You might audition the next John Lennon, but if that person has a massive ego and isn’t willing to work as part of a “team” with a “we’re all in this together” attitude, it won’t work out in the long run.” Rose then goes on to talk about genuineness when it comes to bandmates. “Remember you’re going to spend a lot of time with these people on the road… You all have to be willing to divvy up responsibilities and pull your own weight. You become a family.”
Rose and her current band The Truth Untold put in the hard work and dedication it takes to deliver a solid live performance. “My favorite aspect about being a musician is being on stage and I think people often forget how much effort in other capacities it takes just to be able to sing and play for a mere 45 minutes in front of an audience.”
On a typical gig night, Rose loves to kick off the set with “For What It’s Worth,” a song that really gets the crowd going. Then to slow things down, Rose and The Truth Untold enjoy performing “Darkest Days.” “It’s a very personal song to me about my own struggle with mental illness and I know people can “feel” the emotion behind it when I sing it live.”
When asked about her pre-performance routines, Rose tells us that if possible, she prefers to do vocal warmups in a hotel bathroom, noting the awesome natural reverb. “I find it calming to be able to get into the right headspace by myself in a static setting,” she says. However, given the nature of how the band tours, they are typically on the road more often than not. “As a singer first and foremost, it’s really important for me in all scenarios to try and prevent myself from feeling stressed out or overwhelmed as it can and does affect one’s performance.”
If there is anything Rose wants fans to take away from her music it’s “a sense of hope” meaning “that there is someone else out there that “gets” them, that they are not alone in their struggles and that we can all connect through the universal language and power of music.”
Rose is the owner of her own record label Her Records. The hope for the label is to offer publicity services, advice etc. to young, aspiring female musicians. In the meantime, owning and operating Her Records has lessons in and of itself. “You can never stop learning, improving nor growing as an artist or an individual. “Make mistakes but learn from them,” says Rose. “Be willing to listen to others who have more experience than you. Take risks but be practical and ALWAYS always trust your gut. If it sounds “too good to be true”, it probably is.”
For Rose, even though she’s performed at places like The Whisky A Go Go, Summer NAMM and Vans Warped Tour, it’s not about the places she’s been, but the connections she’s made with the audience. “I’d rather touch a mere crowd of five people with my music than play to an audience of thousands who are disinterested or distracted. Live music is about the experience – not necessarily about how many people you play to.”
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” It’s a saying that inspires Rose on a daily basis. In this ever-evolving world of indie musicians, Rose stands out above the rest, not only is she a musician, but a businesswoman. The combination of both of those things is a star. “Don’t ever expect anyone to work harder at your career and your dreams than you. If you want something done, do it yourself,” says Rose.
Rose Cora Perry & The Truth Untold will be playing in our city of Buffalo, NY tomorrow at Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St, Buffalo, NY 14201, USA). The show is 21+ with a $5 cover. Doors open at 8 pm!
Follow Rose Cora Perry