Emily Rose, a star on the rise, has a voice reminiscent of Emmylou Harris and The Chicks’ Natalie Maines. And although she grew up a native of New Jersey, country music has always been in her DNA.
“My dad was a pretty big country music fan. We both loved Shania Twain, and I remember loving the (Chicks) Dixie Chicks,” Rose tells Country Now. “Honestly, where I grew up was kind of rural. I grew up surrounded by farms, so our county had that, and everyone in my circle listened to country music, which has shocked a lot of people.
Rose fell in love with both music and the art of performance not long after working up enough courage to participate in her kindergarten talent contest, which saw her singing the lyrics to Twain’s 1995 hit, “Any Man of Mine.” With a promising set of vocals, Rose would eventually go on to perfect her craft while playing in a Conway Twitty tribute band.
At age 18, Rose moved to Nashville, where she began recording her music, got acquainted with other songwriters in the community, and signed on as a songwriter for SESAC. In 2019, she dropped her debut single, “My Way Home,” via her Growing Rose Recording Company imprint, distributed by Symphonic, and later followed that up with songs like Joe South’s “Games People Play,” “Go to the Moon” and “Hey Child.”
Now, fans are getting to know Rose even more through her debut EP entitled, The Heart. The project, which dropped on Friday, (Oct. 23), features six tracks, all co-written and co-produced by Rose.
Country Now caught up with Rose to find out more about her background, new EP, and upcoming plans.
Read on to learn more about Emily Rose in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
I’ve been singing since I can remember. The first time I ever performed for a live audience was in kindergarten for a talent show. I sang Shania Twain’s ‘Any Man of Mine.’ It was so cute because I had made up these little dance moves, and I had no idea what I was singing. Since then, I’ve always kept singing. Then, I picked up the guitar when I was 13 years old and started singing for this live radio show that played classic country. My dad got me on there, and it was fun. Then, I joined these guys, who were in a Conway Twitty tribute band. I played with them throughout high school, and they taught me the ropes about performing. I was lucky to have that experience. They all told me, ‘If you want to do this, you have to move to Nashville.’ So I did. I was like, ‘Well, I guess I don’t have to take the SAT’s because I’m going to move to Nashville.’
Did your parents support your decision to move to Nashville?
They did! I think my parents knew I was going to go no matter what. So, they supported it instead of fighting it, and they’ve been great with everything. They’ve always been so supportive of my music. But, I do think they were terrified of me moving. My mom cried a lot when she left me because she stayed with me for about two weeks when I moved here.
What were some of the first things you did to launch your music career when you moved to Nashville?
I was lucky enough to know Shannan Hatch from SESAC. I met her through a family friend who works in the business. So she was one of the first people I met with when I came to Nashville. She helped me learn about co-writing, and they set me up with tons of co-writes. That helped me get into that scene. Then, I also got into playing downtown at Tootsies [Orchid Lounge], Rippy’s Bar & Grill, and Honky Tonk Central. I did that for a little over a year and made friends through that. I was shocked at how friendly everybody was!
You recently released your EP, The Heart. Congratulations! How does it feel to have new music out?
It feels exciting! It feels good to finally have something out that is honest and represents who I am. I love it! I’ve listened to it a ton already, and hopefully, people like it!
How did you come up with The Heart as the title for this project?
One of the songs is called “The Heart,” which helped. But, my idea was that it’s the heart of the matter. I have a track on the EP about feeling nostalgic, a song about moving on, and a song about wanting a change in life. So all of those songs, to me, are the different emotions that I feel. So I was like, ‘That feels right!’ So, it is like looking into my heart and my soul. So, you are getting to know me a little bit more in that way.
Was it difficult picking songs for the project?
We had a whole different set of songs that we were going to use for the EP, and I was thinking about it, and I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ We had been releasing singles so far, and, to me, the project felt like a bunch of singles. I wanted to have more of a concept. I wanted these songs to flow. As soon as I rethought the songs, it fell together, and I was like, ‘This makes sense!’ So, it’s very cohesive and all about emotions and the heart and what different things I’ve felt in life and gone through.
You recently released the music video for “Windshield.” Can you tell me the inspiration behind that song?
I sat down with my co-writers, Donnie Skaggs and Ed Hill. Ed had the idea and the title, and I was like, ‘Well, that seems like a weird title, to begin with.’ You know, because you wonder what the song would be about.’ But, when he started seeing his idea, it sat with me because I was in a place where I was trying to move on from a job that I had previously committed myself to. I was at a point where I had to either move on from that job or allow it to keep distracting me from music. So, for me, that day was writing about moving on from a job I might miss, which is funny because it was not about a break-up, but, in a way, it is about a break-up. So, we wrote it in that vein, and I have been there where it is just so hard to let go of something.
What about “Always Something.” How did that song come about?
That’s a funny one because I was getting ready for my co-write, and my husband had already left the house, so it was just me. Then, I went out to get into my car, and I realized I had a flat tire! I was freaking out and stressing out about it because I didn’t want to be late for my co-write. Thankfully, the other writers were like, ‘It’s okay.’ So my neighbor helped me change my tire. So, I’m all flustered, and I get to my co-write, and they’re giggling at me because I’m like a mess. So, I was like, ‘It’s always something!’ Then, my co-writer was like, ‘That’s the title! That’s what we’re going to write today.’ So, I wanted to write it as this funny thing like with a tire going flat, and things like that. But he was like, ‘Why don’t we make it positive? Like, there’s always a positive thing to look for at the end of the day.’ I loved that idea! That’s what I needed at that moment was some positivity. So, I think it turned out so good, and it’s one of my favorite songs!
Where do you draw inspiration when it comes to songwriting?
I feel like I’m usually writing from personal experience. I’m not good at conjuring up fantasies or fake scenarios. So, my songs come from observing my friends or just going through the things I’ve experienced or writing about things my co-writers experienced. So, I tend to draw from real life.
What do you want fans to take away from your new EP?
I want them to feel connected to somebody and feel like they’re not alone in any of their feelings. Then, at the end of the EP, I feel like ‘Always Something’ leaves listeners with a warm heart and a smile. So it’s like, you can go through all of these emotions, but at the end of the day, you’re going to be okay, and you’re not alone.
Aside from new music, what sort of things are you doing to keep busy during quarantine?
Well, I have been playing the Listening Room Cafe every once in a while. They have done a great job of social distancing and promoting all of the COVID-19 protocols and everything, so that has been good. I have also been doing different virtual stuff. Then, I will be playing the Unlock Virtual Festival, which is for The Prince’s Trust. I will be playing the last weekend of the festival, which is the first weekend of November. I am so excited because it is my first festival!
What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2020?
I am looking forward to keeping writing. My husband is a touring musician, so since no one is touring, I am excited to be able to spend more time with him over the holidays. I will also be looking forward to putting out more music in the next year or so! I am excited to keep growing and connecting with my listeners.