Big Music Meets: Rose Gray

Rose Gray is a rising star in the UK music scene. we caught up with her just before the release of her second single to get an insight into what to expect…

From Brit school drop-out to one of the UK’s next rising stars, this young singer has shown that talent will always rise to the surface.

By reading Rose’s press release, she reminds us of Raye. She dropped out of Brit school, got an opportunity with a record label and is now ready to show the world her talent!

Rose! Great to meet you! 

Thanks for having me here!

So, you grew up in East London, how did that influence your music?

Okay, well my Dad is very into music and from a young age, I was listening to Radiohead and Prince all the time! I didn’t even know who they were, I just remember their music. I would say that listening to them and having a musical upbringing influenced my music more-so than my neighbourhood.

But given that East London is so diverse and full of life, it is fair to say that my music is very eclectic.

That’s awesome, we can definitely hear those influences in your music. When did you realise you wanted to sing as a career?

My parents ran a small performing arts centre so I remember going there from the age of 6. I used to love it! But it was only when I went to the Brit school that I realised that singing and writing music was what I wanted to do as a job, I started to meet creatives and be inspired that it’s more than possible.

Brit school has created some of the world’s biggest stars, it must’ve been amazing going there!

Oh absolutely, Brit school was amazing. I made a lot of friends and everyone was so talented and ambitious. I was only there for a year though, but while I was there I really enjoyed it.

Only one year? Why such a short period?

Well, because I started going to the studio a lot more when I was at Brit school and then an opportunity came up for me to go to New York with a label, so I took the risk and left!  I started working in the studio and writing lots. I guess I wanted to focus solely on music.

So, when did you learn to start writing your owns songs?  

In all honesty, I always wrote poetry and stories as a kid but when I was 13, I began to turn my poems into music. Not very good music to be honest!

Haha! Do you still remember any of those songs?

I do! As much as I’d like to forget!

Go on, sing one for us! 

Haha. Oh, god no! But the lyrics to one of my early songs were literally ‘Be, be, who you wanna be, be. Be, be, who you wanna be, be’. So cringe! When my friends remind me, I just want to crawl up with embarrassment!

Haha, that sounds like a No.1 hit to me. I hope that’s on your EP! On another note, have you faced any massive hurdles so far?

Oh, I will keep that song far away from my EP!

Career-wise, I have definitely faced hurdles. A lot of the time, they are ones I have created. When I was 16, I wanted it all and thought that I could get on the radio overnight but it doesn’t work that way.

So, I’d say one of the hurdles I faced was facing the reality of the music industry and accepting that it could take years to even be heard!

Also, finding my sound took a while. I’d recommend that anyone who wants to break into the industry take their time to find their sound.

Another hurdle is that people put a lot of pressure on you, whether it’s that they don’t believe in your dream or they pressure you to be more commercial. That can be very frustrating.

So how did you deal with that?

If I am not comfortable with something, I will not do it. I always try to go with what feels right.

That’s good. Is that what you would recommend to other aspiring musicians too?

Yeah definitely. I would recommend that they stay true to themselves. In the end, authenticity is priceless.

What’s also interesting is how you signed to your record label. Loads of singers dream of that day! How did it all go down?

Well, I’ve been working with the independent record label, Atlantic Records for a while now.

What happened was, I recorded with them three or four times a week growing up, we went to New York for opportunities. Then, they gave me a year off to go and find myself musically etc. Finally, last year I went back into the studios more confident and ready and I started working with record producer Alan Nglish (Alessia Cara/CeeLo Green/Patrice). I then got signed!

Wow, you make it sound so easy! What has been the most shocking thing about the music business?

It sounds it, but it’s a lot of work! I am also aware that this is just the beginning for me.

I think the most shocking thing is that there is actually a lot of business! You really must be a businesswoman and know exactly what you are getting yourself into. I’m learning, but it is still new to me.

It’s working well for you so far because you have recently released your first single. Congrats! How is that going for you?

Thank you! It is so good to have something finally out because it has been a long time coming!

What is even better was that my Dad directed my music video with me. It was a long 15-hour day of filming, 12 costume changes, but we did it.

That’s really cute. The single sounds like it is blues inspired?

Yeah definitely! I would say my biggest influences for the song are Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin and Shirley Bassey. I love their music and take a lot of inspiration from them.

Your EP is out soon, when shall we expect it?

Yes, my EP will be out within the next 3 months and I should have an album out by Christmas, I hope. My next track is set to be released 16th June –‘Give it all to you’.

Expect a very orchestral type of album. There are hip-hop influences there too. Also, I love a good ballad, so a ballad or two will most likely be in the mix! Coming soon…

We look forward to it! So nice speaking with you Rose, thanks for coming to see us! 

Thanks, Big Music, anytime!


Keep up with the latest news and releases from Rose through her website. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter!

Feel inspired to break into the music scene? Keep your eyes posted on our jobs board for opportunities to help you to make that first step into the tricky music world! Also, make sure you have a read of when rising star, Dee Ajayi stopped by our offices!