Rozes Talks Mental Health and Being ‘Famous': Interview
Her breakout on The Chainsmokers’ “Roses” came at the wildest time in her career. Rozes (real name Elizabeth Mencel) seized an opportunity which has since defined her burgeoning career. Nearing 600 million streams, the slick dance track opened her world up more than she could have imagined. Earlier this month, she teamed up with of-the-moment Swedish duo Galantis for “Girls on Boys,” which zig-zags from sparse piano ballad into a fiery house anthem. Both collaborations fit nicely in her back pocket and have introduced her to new listeners.
“I never collaborated with anybody out of the U.S., so I’m just super excited to have a fan base built in the U.K., which is awesome, especially as far as touring goes,” she shares.
“With The Chainsmokers, I would probably be 10,000 steps backwards without ‘Roses.’ But it’s opened me to the world of EDM, and it’s provided for amazing support,” she adds. That built-in fan base will come in handy when she heads out on the road with MAX on thirty dates, beginning in early October.
“It’s the longest tour I’ve ever done,” she says. Reflecting on preparations for the run, which spans shows in Vancouver, San Francisco and Boston, she admits she’ll never “be ready to leave home for that long."
In addition to major touring, she plans to release a string of brand new music, including the sparkling “Famous,” which contains the hook “you make me feel so goddamn famous.” The song, an indication of her next stylistic leap, makes a statement about what she needs in her life to feel satisfied: “I wanted to write something that was saying no matter how many fans I have, no matter how many songs or diamonds or plays or likes on Instagram, there’s really only one person that will make me feel more famous than anybody else... I can have it all but it means nothing without you, that kind of thing.”
“Famous” samples her forthcoming new EP (tentatively slated for 2018), the follow-up to 2016’s Burn Wild EP.
Below, Rozes teases her new project and chats about mental health, what we can do better and her new single.
How does the new EP serve as an extension of Burn Wild?
I consider Burn Wild to be a chapter of my life that I needed to put out there in order for me to move on from that specific heartbreak. The new EP is the way I’ve grown since putting [that out] and how my life has been since the hit with The Chainsmokers. It’s a lot of growth and new sounds, and my creative methods have expanded. It's the second chapter.
Will there be any other explicitly-political songs?
I don’t know. “Canyons” was political for me. So, I think that song said what I needed to say. But as far as my women empowerment and mental health, I will definitely be harping on those through this EP.
How did the collaboration with Galantis come together?
I had written the song previous to meeting them, actually. They heard it through... I guess my manager—and loved it. It was just piano at that time. That’s when their production came into play.
Did you have any stipulations about how you wanted the song to sound or feel?
I didn’t really know what I wanted. I knew I wanted to add a fun spin to it. It’s quite an emotional song but the song itself has that spin of partying. There was a lot of back and forth, as far as “no, I don’t like this” or “yes, I like this.” It was a long process.
Did you have a heartbreak which inspired the song?
I didn’t but somebody who I was writing it with, Josh Cumbee, he had recently went through a breakup. I really wanted to play on his feelings and draw from his experience. He was saying one way he was trying to cope was going out with friends and getting back out there and drinking and going to clubs. In the end, he was kind of realizing that it did make him feel empty, like I have all these things but I just want to share them with this one person.
How can brokenness and heartbreak lead you to feeling free?
It forces to be by yourself and understand who you are without anyone. It leads you to sit there by yourself and really look inward to who you are and rely on the things that make you happy.
What has your experience with heartbreak been like?
It’s been years since I’ve went through a real, bad heartbreak. I go through my daily heartbreaks of mental health, of friendships, of not feeling good enough, that kind of thing. That’s the stuff I draw upon and what I tried to put into “Girls on Boys.” As far as my music goes, I really try to talk about my personal heartbreaks, not necessarily the romantic ones.
On Twitter, you've spoken out about your struggles with mental health quite often. How do you navigate an industry as demanding as this one?
Honestly, it’s really hard. There’s a lot of times when I have to put on a happy face, and I’m not happy. It’s understanding who I am besides my music. It’s being able to put that world away for a little bit, whether that’s through yoga or even if it is through songwriting, I have to figure out my own coping mechanisms. Sometimes, it’s different every day.
What are the biggest misconceptions of mental health you’ve noticed from your experiences?
A lot of people are ashamed of their mental health. Not a lot of people will talk about it, especially men. A lot of people suffer on the inside because they are so determined to be strong and provide this courageous character. That’s one of the biggest problems we have. As far as women go, mental health is hard because we are wired to compete with other women. So, that already puts some sort of perfectionism in our minds and breaks down our mental health.
How can we (as a society) be better in addressing mental health and offering solutions?
People in the limelight need to be more aware of their actions in how they reciprocate drama or how they react to it. Even though it’s hard and we all face situations that we jump right into and don’t act the way we should, it’s something to be very aware of. We have youth of every nation [with] their eyes on [us] and taking note from how you react to things. It all has to do with who you look up to.
What advice would you give to others suffering from mental illness to help them cope?
Find something they’re passionate about and put yourself out there, whether it be volunteering at an animal shelter or other things that make you happy. It could be as tiny as eating an orange or an apple or sitting down just to say “thank you” to whatever you believe in. At least take ten minutes a day to do something you enjoy or research something you enjoy and find something to be passionate about other than your career.
What other producers would you like to collaborate with someday?
Well, the obvious ones: Diplo, Calvin Harris, Bloodpop. They would all be fun to collaborate with. I would love to expand my musical genre into Nicki Minaj or G-Eazy, where I’m testing my creative abilities.
How does the music reflect your current headspace?
It definitely reflects how I feel and how I’m starting to catch up in this hurricane that has been my life the past two years. It’s me stepping back and trying to dig into some real feelings.
The Best Songs of 2017 (So Far!)