Sally Rose is one helluva songstress and performer, and only in her early 20s. Frequenting gigs at local favorite Blue Moon Diner, the “witchbaby” and her band conjure up their set lists, guaranteed to cast you under their spell.
For this month’s local musician check-in, I was able to ask her a few questions about her music and why she loves being a singer/songwriter.
Born and raised in the beautiful mountains of Nelson County, VA!
When and why did you start playing music? What instruments do you play?
Music has always been a part of me. When I was in the womb, my wild song-bird mother took African Dance. I found rhythm in her belly. I sang before I could speak & I danced before I could walk. I picked up the guitar when I was 12 years old and began writing. My voice and my arch top are my main two instruments, but I pluck a little banjo on my porch swing (where no one can hear me but my hound dog, Arno).
Most influential artist: Child? Teen? Adult?
As a child, my most influential artist was most definitely James Brown. Hands down. As a teen: Bob Dylan, Beck, Wilco, Cake. As an adult, Sarah White, Bonnie Raitt, Southern Culture on The Skids, Little Joy, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Feist, Jenny Lewis, Sheryl Crow, Blondie…
When did you write your first song?
I have a personal archive of song books. The first one dates back to when I was just eight years old. Some where I have it saved on an old tape recorder.
What influences your songwriting?
As most American songstresses, my material usually revolves around falling in love, falling out, jealousy and envy, admiration and lust. However I do try to step out of that young blood jabber and expand my repertoire. I’ve written songs about loss, new beginnings, lower middle class struggles, and the sweet country charm of my home town. I just wrote a song called “Banshee”, it’s about being on my moon! Right now I’m working on a song to donate to Project Haiti with County Wide Records.
What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections/fuel your passions? (i.e. nature, heartbreak, joy, pain, relationships, serenity…)
My last studio record, “heat lightning” was based entirely off of heart break. A year’s worth of various relationships; all that ended epically harsh. This EP that the full band is putting out in the summer however, covers a weird range from sweet twitterpation to spooky, witchy, rockin’ ballads.
When did you play your first gig? What emotions/thoughts ran through your head after finishing?
12 years old. Rapunzel’s Open Mic night. I was hooked. I felt like a shaky, giddy mess and knew right then I was born to perform.
Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?
If it’s a really big show & I’m nervous about killing it, I have this amazing ability to lose my voice the night before. But I always get pumped. I like to have one vodka grapefruit juice, a big pretty set list, and my kick ass family/band tickled pink about the show before we swing it.
What does a day in the life of a modern day songwriter look like from your perspective?
During the week: Wake up early, go to work at Trager Brothers Coffee Roastery for 8 hours. After work, head to Martial Arts for 2 ½ hours. After class, drive into town to Jesse Fiske’s studio and record a late night session. Sleep & start over. On the weekend: Sleep in. Cook my chicken’s eggs and the garden’s taties. Romp around outside with my lead guitarist Sweet Pete. Play gigs.
What do you want people to take from hearing your music?
I want to move people; whether it be physically or emotionally. I want people to feel beautiful in my music. I want them to feel spoken for. I want them to boogie.
What does the not-so-distant future hold for Sally Rose?
We just signed with County Wide Records, so that’s neato! I’m wrapping up my first full-band EP, which will be released by early summer… And it sounds golden! I’m in the midst of designing beer coozies for the band. They have a silhouette of my cartoon mullet captioning, “Have a beer and mullet over.” I just love puns!
10 words to describe myself?
1. southern belle 2. witchbaby 3. feisty 4. funky 5. space-cadete 6. hard-working 7. animal 8. cancerian 9. uber-goof 10. honest
Check out Sally Rose on ReverbNation!