We spoke to Rozes about her rising hit “Roses” and her pop stardom dreams
In 2015, Elizabeth Mencel, better known as Rozes, met up with the Chainsmokers (whom you might know from “#SELFIE”) to write a song, “Roses.” Not to be confused with the artist herself, the song has made her a constant name on the radio — and now, “Roses” is #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is selling high on iTunes, making her the artist to look out for in 2016.
The 22-year-old Rozes, who wants to “be as big as Taylor Swift” and “as timeless” as Adele, believes now is the time for her solo career to take off. HelloGiggles had the chance to sit down with her to chat about what 2016 will bring and what comes after the success of her feature with the Chainsmokers.
HelloGiggles (HG): For those who do not know you apart from “Roses” with The Chainsmokers, can you describe yourself as an artist?
Rozes (R): I feel like the Chainsmokers’ stuff is definitely more catered to the radio. It’s more pop and I am trying to go that way where I can mesh what I was to what “Roses” has made me. It’s a tough process, but I’m trying to be consistent.
I’m just an emotional song writer. We did “Rozes” for a reason. We wanted to have a little mystery behind it. It’s kind of like who is this person, you have to look into it to understand [why it’s plural]. You have to get to know me and build your own relationship, as far as just looking up the name. I would say that I want to say the words that people are sometimes not strong enough to say.
HG: How did you get involved with The Chainsmokers?
R: They had found a song that I did with an Australian DJ Just a Gent, so they followed me on Twitter and messaged me and asked if I wanted to write with them. It was a very organic process, which is really cool because that doesn’t really happen that often in today’s music industry.
We met up in Manhattan in Drew [Taggart, one half of the Chainsmokers]’s apartment, and we just wrote it there and recorded it there. We didn’t have anything in mind that we were exactly going for; we just wanted to vibe and see what we came up with, and we ended up writing “Roses.” I had some lyrics in mind, but it was pretty much all spur of the moment.
As far as the blogosphere, it really took off, but the Chainsmokers have a bunch of followers and they have fans already. So they had been ready for their next release. I definitely think that getting it to radio was a process and it did take a lot of time for people to hear it. We released it on June 16 and it started really taking off in September.
HG: What was your reaction to that success? With Justin Bieber Snapchatting your song to One Republic saying that you were on their favorite album out right now.
R: It’s been surreal because Ryan Tedder of One Republic is one of my most idolized writers, so for me I was totally fangirling. I was freaking out. And of course Justin Bieber — he’s huge. I knew that would bump up the listens to the song when someone that big recognizes the song. I met him on my last LA trip in November and he had came out to our show, so I ended up getting to chat with him and build a friendship there. He’s really cool. He’s down to earth. You can tell he just wants to be a normal kid in their 20s.
HG: When you look back at trying to get your career to take off, was there any inspiration that you kept in mind?
R: Well, my brothers are in a big band named Bel Heir, and they had gotten signed about a year and a half ago, so I guess me seeing them pursuing their dream and getting signed, even though things are working opposite for me. I am not signed yet but on the radio and they are signed and not on the radio, it just I guess we both look up to each other for the industry. I want to be as big as Taylor Swift. I want to be timeless, like Adele. There’s a lot of things that I want to be, it’s just all scary to think about because it’s so huge.
HG: Does it help having brothers in the industry already?
R: Sure. One of my brothers is one of my managers so it’s good to have a loyal person that’s in the industry working on my team that I can trust and that does have my best interest in mind. And with my other brother, Pat, he helps me write sometimes and he helps me really stay down to earth and humble.
HG: Your fans are sending you pictures and making remixes of your songs. How does that make you feel as an artist?
R: It’s definitely funny that people could admire me like that, I’m just like a human. I had played at Echostage [a venue in Washington, DC] with The Chainsmokers and some girl reached out to touch my hand and started crying. That’s never happened to me before and to think that somebody could see me in that way, that’s crazy.
I’ve had a couple fans cry so far and I still don’t know how to react to it all. I want to tell them that as nervous as they are, that’s just as nervous as I am to meet them. They’re nervous to meet me, but I’m nervous to meet them also. Then they start crying and I just get weird.
HG: Going forward, what do you hope for “Roses”?
R: It still feels like it’s not really happening. It still feels like it’s pretend. I hope that it continues to grow and it becomes more popular and we get the recognition that the song deserves, as far as awards go. But I just see it growing and definitely growing mine and the Chainsmokers’ careers.
HG: And what’s next for Rozes?
R: I am doing a bunch of college shows coming up. I am playing South by Southwest down in Texas as Rozes. I am doing a lot of television performances with The Chainsmokers. I’m releasing my EP on Valentine’s Day, which I am excited about because I’m excited to get that old stuff out and release everything new that I have been working on. The EP, Burn Wild, is a bundle of all the songs I’ve already released, but as far as past that we have a song in mind that we’re going to release, and it’s definitely less like Lana Del Ray and more pop. That’s under wraps for now.
HG: What was your biggest moment of 2015?
R: I think hearing myself on the radio for the first time and not realizing that it was going to happen; just listening to the radio like an average person, being like oh I’m so sick of the radio, and then my song comes on. I was in the car and it was so weird to me. I almost had to pull over because this is my song!
It happens every time. I was in an Uber and my song came on and I said this is my song and I think the guy thought I was saying that yeah it’s my jam, but I was trying to describe to him that it was me singing the song. It was so cool.
HG: Looking at 2016, what do you hope to accomplish?
R: I am still looking to get signed, of course. I have people that are interested, but the industry definitely takes its time and rightfully so because it’s a big deal, getting signed. I hope to get my own song on the radio without a feature, even though I love what The Chainsmokers have done for me. I would really love for my solo career to take off as much as I want it to.
HG: As you look forward, what do you hope your fans are going to get out of you as an artist?
R: I hope that they realize that being an emotional human being is just part of human nature. And it’s okay to talk about your feelings whether it be in songs, poems, books, texts, tweets, whatever. I want them to take from me that it’s okay to be emotional and it’s okay to not be okay.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.