Rosie Lowe transposes feminism to music

The rising synth-soul producer will leave you hypnotized.

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She’s been evenly compared to Sade, James Blake, The xx and Jessie Ware—but who’s that girl? Growing up in a countryside family, Rosie Lowe played six different instruments and performed with various bands and orchestras. Yet it was only while studying at Goldsmiths in London that Rosie found her distinctive voice. Glamcult met the artist in Amsterdam during her very first tour.

You grew up in a family of artists, how has that influenced you?

I was born in Devon as the youngest of six children. We lived in the countryside and my dad built our house himself about 40 years ago. It’s been quit simplistic there, and still is. But I think it’s normal. People are always shocked when they come and see it. It’ll take you more than an hour to walk to the nearest shop. I think that’s amazing—total freedom! The only thing I missed growing up was a TV, so we had to make our own entertainment. People often think that I didn’t see much of the world, but that’s not true. My father took me to London constantly and we travelled a lot. He also took me to see gigs since I was two years old.

And then you went to university in London.

Yes, to explore what I actually wanted to do with music. I already knew I wanted to work in the music industry and play music…

Your first album, Control, was just released. When did you realise: this is the kind of music I want to make.

I was kind of trained in jazz music and also doing a lot of song writing. I’m really passionate about that! I listen a lot to Joni Mitchell and Carole King but I like hip-hop and R&B as well. So I was like: argh, what’s my style? I was really confused, partly because I was in a class with lots of characters who all had a very clear vision. I felt really lost, and in my fourth year I was like: “fuck being an artist, I just want to write anyway.” But then I discovered how to write songs and produce them myself. At that point everything got really exciting.

Tell us more about your love for R&B.

My mom listened to a lot of R&B music and she introduced me to it, really. Erykah Badu was my biggest inspiration at that time, she’s phenomenal. Because I listened to it so often during my youth it really got me. I never expected that my music would also become a bit R&B-ish, but I like it.

You’re wearing a ‘feminist’ necklace.

I’m a huge feminist! I’m passionate about gender equality and surrounded by beautiful and talented people—influential women. Also, there is this sort of unrealistic myth about women and beauty, that’s why I’m worried about young women and men. It’s a big part of my life and runs through my music. I’m very passionate about it.

What’s your experience with music as (male-dominated) industry?

It’s so important for a woman how she looks, acts and performs on stage. I see it happening all the time. Male musicians don’t need that, at least not as much. Men get the credit for everything. It’s still an issue, but luckily I have a great team around me. And I think my vision on that is really clear, so they don’t push back.

Can you elaborate on the—minimal—artwork of your first record?

That was totally my choice. I love space. The picture is small and dark; I didn’t want a beauty shot. What’s very important is that the audience can control it, in a way.

By Leendert Sonnevelt

Photography: Michelle Janssen

www.rosielowe.com

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