Rozzi Talks Berry, Performing Sold-Out Shows in L.A. and New York, and Growing After Heartbreak
If you haven’t heard of Rozzi, you’ve been sleeping on one of the most talented upcoming artists of today. Rozzi is a multi-faceted artist who has performed with the likes of Katy Perry, Joss Stone, Betty Who, Nile Rogers, Maroon 5, and Duran Duran and has made appearances on major TV programs such as Jimmy Kimmel Live. A powerhouse of a vocalist, and a seasoned performer, Rozzi is also a skilled songwriter who creates heartbreakingly beautiful music that carries a soulful flair with an R&B tone. Having just performed sold out shows in L.A. and New York, Rozzi celebrates the recent release of her latest album Berry (Deluxe).
The album includes all tracks from Rozzi’s past two releases, Hymn For Tomorrow and Berry, in a carefully curated, cohesive manner. Now, listeners can experience these songs in the way they were originally intended with the addition of four new tracks, including a new rendition of Alanis Morisette’s “One Hand in my Pocket.” Berry (Deluxe) is a gorgeous work that highlight’s Rozzi’s own experiences with love and heartbreak – finding love, exploring it, learning from heartbreak, and moving on. A stark contrast from her earlier release Bad Together in 2018, Berry (Deluxe) comes with the perspective that comes with hindsight and learning from both the good and the bad that come with relationships and breakups.
We sat down with Rozzi to learn more about Berry (Deluxe) and what she’s working on.
Congratulations on releasing Berry (Deluxe)! For its release, you’ve done a series of shows – How has this experience been for you? Yeah I have to say these shows this past two weeks kind of overwhelmed me in a good way. I’ve spent a lot of my career trying to get people’s attention; I’m used to opening for people and trying to win them over. And you would think that would be the scarier version, but for some reason for me, the stakes are lower there – there’s nothing to lose.
Now I’m starting to have people who know my songs and who are coming to see me, which is obviously a dream come true. But it’s just like all of a sudden I feel this pressure to deliver because I’m like these people paid to come, and I want to give them the show they deserve. So in L.A. and New York, everybody was paying attention and knew all the words. And obviously that’s an amazing thing, but sometimes, I think the things you’ve been waiting for to happen – it just caught me off guard.
How do you deal with that pressure? Like, do you have any pre-show rituals? Yeah, like a lot of anxiety; I mean like the moment I booked these shows, I was already anxious. I can’t avoid it; I get really nervous and it’s just excitement. I’m really excited to do it, and I care so much, and it’s my favorite thing in the world, so it just really matters to me that it goes really well.
So, for me that means a ton of alone time beforehand. I like to be alone as much as possible and just like aggressively chill because I’m energetic and chatty and kind of fast moving naturally, so I need silence to chill me out a bit. That’s the main thing I need which can be confusing a lot of the people that I work with.
You released the first version of your album Berry in April, and now today you’ve added four more songs. Could you tell us more about these songs? Do you have a favorite song? Basically, I released part one of this album, actually last year. It’s called the Hymn For Tomorrow EP. Then I released Berry the second-half of the album, earlier this year. And then today, finally, both of those EP’s are put together in the order I always intended the album to be, plus the four new songs.
Basically, I wrote an album, and then the label wanted to release it in pieces and spread stuff out. So what’s impactful about today for me is like, it’s the vision I had from the beginning finally realized, and all the songs will now live on forever, in one place, and in the order I intended. It’s like a snapshot of my life over the past few years, you know. And that’s always really trippy about writing. I write such personal songs like those in my last album Bad Together – It just captures this moment in my life. It’s surreal to have; it’s like an audio journal.
In terms of my favorite song, I change my mind all the time. I think Hymn For Tomorrow is one of my favorites. It’s just a song I wrote for myself when I really needed some optimism. I needed to feel like the next day was going to be better than yesterday, and that’s a continuous need. I have to feel like good things are coming, and I feel that as a world and as a society we need to feel that way. So I really like when I sing live and I can spread that message.
Has your writing process changed at all between your last album Bad Together? The only thing that’s really changed is like, the further along in my career I get, the closer and closer I get to the optimal way that I like to write. I just make it more and more like ‘my way’ if that makes sense. But it’s still the same – I start with lyrics. I always journal first and then write poems. Then I bring those poems to whoever I’m co-writing with and we jam on the poems together. I don’t know if that will ever change because for me, music is all about expressing an emotion.
And I’m very chatty, so it’s all about words for me. It’s like trying to find a way to express myself with language, so I kind of think that will be forever. But even now, as I’m already starting to write my next record, I’m getting even closer to what works for me, which is to make it feel really natural and live, and just like me in the room with a musician or two just playing live music. That’s the way that I like to perform and create. And I think that I get closer and closer to that with each record.
You shared at your LA show that a lot of your friends have told you that your song ‘fflow’ gave them hope in terms of self-growth and finding love. And with your own growth – there’s an overall shift in message between Bad Together and Berry. What’s behind that for you? Yeah, I guess it’s as simple as heartbreak to then falling in love again. I totally hear my maturity – like I’m sure I’ll look back on this and think it sounds super young and mature when I’m older. But like ‘Never Over You’ and like ‘Bad Together’ – it’s all about this kind of toxic love that can’t be, which I’m so grateful for because I think that’s character building. But that’s a younger kind of love.
What I said about ‘fflow’ at my show is that I had dinner with three different single girlfriends and all three of them said ‘fflow’ was their favorite one of my songs. Even though it’s a love song, it’s not like a single anthem. They were like “it just made me really hopeful.” The lyric is “thank God I didn’t meet you 10 years ago”, and they were like “It makes me hopeful that I wasn’t supposed to meet someone yet. And maybe by the time I do, it will be the right time.” I love that angle on it, because I never thought about it that way. But it’s really true. If I had met my boyfriend earlier, I would have not been ready for it at all, and who knows what would have happened? We probably wouldn’t have dated at all.
I wrote Berry over a fairly long stretch of time, so I also can hear myself getting over my ex-boyfriend and then meeting my current boyfriend. I hope people can hear that too, because it can feel so isolating when you’re heartbroken. You think you will never not be heartbroken. You really think there’s no way you could ever love someone the way you love this person. And then you do, and it’s so much better. If I could send that message through this album to anybody, that would be awesome. Because I definitely needed that message at one point.
And your boyfriend, Alex
Wolff, was also in the music video for ‘fflow’. Seeing as he’s an actor, what
was that like to work together on this? I just felt so lucky that he was willing to do that.
He’s so talented. But I almost felt like when it comes to being on camera and
being free on camera, I don’t deserve to be in his presence. He’s just gifted
at that, you know. And so, it was really fun and amazing to have him in that
video. If I had tried to make that with a paid actor I couldn’t do it. It’s
very authentic. There’s this whole little dance sequence that happens in my
pajamas in the living room that we completely improvised, and it’s only because
we know each other and how each other moves that it was really easy. The whole
day just felt like it embodied the song; it was romantic and fun and natural.
And so that’s my favorite video I’ve ever made. I’m really proud of that video.
Your song, “Best Friend Song” was also recently placed in Kevin Hart’s new film. Can you share more about that? I have no idea how that happened. Netflix just reached out to my label and requested the song to use for this movie. It’s Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg, and it’s in the opening credits of the movie. It’s really funny because it’s over a montage of Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg being best friends, and I wrote this song about my literal best friend Tati. Like all my songs, it’s very real. And so it’s just so funny to me to see my words about my best friend being portrayed as if it’s about Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg. It was awesome. The Shazam’s for the song I think went up like 700 something or 7000 something percent. It was something crazy – like the Shazam’s went up so much from that movie, so that was really amazing.
The definition of contrast is “to be strikingly different.” What does “contrast” mean for you? For whatever reason, I think Yin and Yang, and just that two things can be true at the same time; two opposites can exist at the same time. I think for me, one of the themes of my music is that being soft and vulnerable is a strength – there’s nothing braver than sharing your emotions. And I think sometimes those seem like opposites, and it seems like a contrast, but they’re actually the same. Maybe that’s what it means. Like two things can be true at once.
Stream Berry (Deluxe) now wherever you listen to music and follow Rozzi on Instagram (@thisisrozzi). You can find the vinyl and other merchandise at thisisrozzi.com.