Ragen Henderson

ROSIE: In Her Healing Era

The Healing Tour kicked off last night in Boston, comes to Philadelphia tonight, and heads to New York later this month for the final show, the hometown spectacular, on June 21.

The Bowery Ballroom has seen everyone from Lana Del Rey and Amy Winehouse to The Black Keys and The Roots take their stage. With a capacity limit well under 1,000, the storied Manhattan venue is loved for its enveloping sense of intimacy (regardless of its high ceilings) and how that gets juxtaposed by its bustling basement bar with Big Apple-style exposed brick. Visiting that stage for a show of her own, in true hometown fashion, is ROSIE. “New York is my home, my friends and family are going to be there and it’s going to feel so nice.”

The singer-songwriter, NYC native, and prodigious powerhouse performer headlines the Bowery on June 21 – the perfect, full-circle moment for a grand run on the road. ROSIE doesn’t feel all too nervous about such a show… at least, not more than she should feel in regard to touring as a whole. “[I don’t] feel too much pressure. There are always things to worry about and I do have a lot of anxieties about things going wrong – or going right – but the chance to play the Bowery, which is iconic and in my hometown, is everything. That is the dream.”

We got into all of this and more during our lively conversation with the gracious musician, humble lyricist, and young superstar.

What does a ROSIE show feel like? From start to finish – building a setlist to taking it to the stage?

Spiritual and deeply emotional and very sensitive. I really wanted to create an experience with a crowd that felt like a literal healing experience, so that’s a lot of what went into creating this set list.

I love that so much. There is a great theme to the music that you’re making; even when you think about some of the earlier songs, like “Social Stamina,” to a song that’s out now like “Start Over,” there is a sort of rebirth. It still feels original and like you, but like anybody on this earth, there are changes you have to get through to grow through. There’s a great arc – emotional, but true.

Thank you so much. That means so much to hear. I appreciate it.

You’re welcome. Speaking of the new songs and those that are on the way, you have a new single out now and an EP on the way. When you’re picking singles to lean into a project or an event, how do you know what is going to get that solo single release?

Hmm…. Well, first and foremost, I think a lot of what determines it is the primary feeling in the room when creating it, because there’s this kind of magic that happens where there’s a state of flow when everything is just going exactly as it’s supposed to and everything feels so amazing. There’s this adrenaline rush and this dopamine then, and when I get that feeling in the session, like I did with “Potential,” this single, that’s the first sign. The next thing for me is I show it to my manager, who isalso my closest collaborator and the person I trust most. It kind of gave him a kind of excitement and usually – I’d say 99% of the time – when I feel passionate about something, he’s right there with me. And, again, with “Potential,” he heard it and he was like, “Wow, this is a song.”

Next it goes to my label and my team around me who I also love and trust so much. You know, when the song is right, I think a lot of the time we’re all on the same page. With “Potential,” again, we sent it around and they were so excited about it. They loved it. Then David Matthew, the president of the label, heard it and he, too, loved it. For me, I’m all about teamwork and just being team-oriented. It means so much to me that if I’m gonna put something out, the team around me and my community feelsequally as passionate about it. That’s really what gauges it for me – starting from creating it to showing it to the people I love and trust most to my amazing team. From there, it turns into a single or a song that I’m gonna put out that we all really push and can be excited for.

We’ve loved all the singles that you have released, especially in this kind of ‘healing era,’ as you mentioned. I think that “Potential” is going to further that, further this moment – especially on tour.

Oh, for sure! That song specifically is just such a banger live. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it live because it just goes so hard [Laughs].

Last month we saw the release of Love Again, the new movie starring Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, which you had a little hand in. I did get to see the movie, listen to the soundtrack, hear your song, done by Celine Dion, the whole nine yards. It’s so stellar and so beautiful. I’m curious – for you, as someone who sings and writes for both yourself and others, is it more difficult in any way to create a song that is not really your story that you’re telling, or someone else is gonna be telling it for you?

Wow. Well, first of all, thank you. Thank you so much for the interest and for asking. It’s really interesting because, for me, my relationship to writing versus my relationship to being an artist is quite opposite in the way of being an artist is all about being super, super attached to the outcome and attached to my music and how to market it and how to turn it into content. There’s so much growth and development that goes into being an artist and putting out a song – it feels really like a baby. I’m taking care of this baby, so as a writer I find it not only refreshing, but rewarding, because I know that what I’m creating is going yo turn into someone else’s baby. It’s like adoption. There is a really big sense of relief when I get to create a song knowing that someone else gets to embody it and make it their own. So, actually, I wouldn’t say it’s difficult. I would say, if anything, it’s the opposite. It feels really natural because I usually have a good sense of if a song is for me or for someone else, right? These are two opposite processes for me, but both are really rewarding.

That is mesmerizing. As a writer – a journalist, not a songwriter – I’m attached to what I do, but it only has one purpose. It’s cool how you’re saying that when you get to write a song, it can have many lives, whether it be under your parenting in a way or someone else’s.

Thank you. Yeah, and it’s so true, really; I really do find both experiences so rewarding. I love being an artist more than anything, but I also love creating music to just create music. To be watching other people who are artists bloom from my music and turn something that I wrote into a big part of their life… I really do love both and I wouldn’t be one without the other.

Absolutely. With that song specifically, the title track of “Love Again,” how did that come about? Will we ever hear kind of your take on the number? Not that Celine Dion is anybody to try and out-do, but the origins of the song, maybe?

So I wrote this song and created it with Dan Wilson, who is an incredible songwriter and human being. We were connected in late 2020 and we had written before, but with this specific song, he was sent a brief about the movie and he had tried the song with a couple different people. He wanted to know if I wanted to try writing it, as well. I said, “Yes, of course! I’d be honored.” We wrote it, I recorded it, and it became pretty clear pretty early on that we created something that felt really good . Even though in the original demo I’m singing it, it was very clear to me that my voice was just filling the place of Celine or whoever was going to sing it. So yes, my voice was on it for a while and that was interesting, but, truly, the second that I heard Celine singing on it and I heard Dan’s incredible production – just all of what they had turned the song into, I knew that while my voice is important for awhile, the way she sings it and who she is and just what she put into it is so, so, so incredible and so much more important.

That being said, I will be singing it on tour and there will be an opportunity to hear my voice on it, but now when I sing it, it feels like it’s just one big tribute to Celine and everything she is and how incredible she is, because she truly is. To have a song that she sings be one that I wrote is just such an honor. I will be singing it, but like I said, it’s more of like a homage to her. […] I’m so excited to sing it live, though, and the song is so special to me. I said it, but it’s my first ever movie sync and it’s just been such an awesome year and such an awesome experience working with Dan and everyone on his side as well as working with Celine and everyone on her side.