Baby Rose means business.
Video directed by Angie Scarpa, all photos by Bailey Robb.

Baby Rose: KCRW Live from HQ

Intimate performances, fresh sounds, and candid conversations with a view.

LA-based, Washington D.C. native songstress Baby Rose haunts The Annenberg Performance Studio at KCRW HQ with the potently woozy R&B of her sophomore album Through and Through (released earlier this year via Secretly Canadian). Zoom in for jammed out versions of “Fight Club,” “I Won’t Tell,” and “Stop The Bleeding.” The latter of which calls to mind a killer future James Bond theme, and makes us hope that a collab between Rose and Danielle Ponder is imminent. Wanna own a piece of the magic forever? We’re giving you this show-stopping rendition of “Stop The Bleeding” as a FREE DOWNLOAD until midnight tonight. Grab it now as part of Today’s Top Tune

Plus, she gets real with Morning Becomes Eclectic co-host Anthony Valadez about fear, poetry, and her deep connection to the rich artistic traditions of the American South. 

More: Danielle Ponder: KCRW Live From HQ

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

KCRW: You’ve shared that you were teased for your voice in your youth, while performing as part of school talent shows. How does that happen? How does someone with a voice like yours get teased?

Baby Rose: You know, kids are weird. I always felt like there was something special to [my voice]. But growing up when you're a little one, like four or five, you know … those things kind of made an imprint on me. For the longest time, I felt like there was something wrong. [Even] some music teachers told me something was wrong. It made me feel isolated, or like I had a lot up against me.




So how did you take that feedback, and turn music into an escape, and eventually a career?

I started to go through more iconic music, and be put on by music that my dad was listening to, my mom was listening to, and find refuge and voices like Nina Simone or Janis Joplin. Or even when Amy [Winehouse] came out, I was a kid so I was like “Oh, my God!” … Just finding comfort in knowing that there’s a space for me to tell my own story.

You are quite a storyteller. Does that come from loving literature, or just loving great songwriting?

Well, I started off with poetry. That was my first love. Most of my aunts are English teachers so they saw the knack for that early, and got me journals. Before I was singing for my family, I was reading little poems. 

What were they about?

[Laughs] I don't know… Like, the sun… a rainbow or something [laughs]. [My songwriting] blossomed from that, and then I just felt drawn to the piano. Putting chords to the poetry and stanzas became my process. That was my first process in writing.

More: Okay Kaya: KCRW Live from HQ

Your formative years were spent moving around from DC to North Carolina to Atlanta — all places that refuse to be boxed and culturally, musically, artistically. Do you feel the spirit of these spaces coming through your music?

I think that there's something special about the South, in the history of the South. I feel like it gives me even more encouragement to push because my ancestors are cheering me on from afar, like: “Go farther, go harder, don't get scared.”

Can you tell us a bit about how your collaboration with Georgia Anne Muldrow, “Fight Club,” came together?

Georgia’s playing that higher power, nudging me on. I'm no longer comfortable with where I'm at, and I want to push forward and just abandon fear. Really, like, face it and abandon it. And so I love her for being my ace on that.

Do you still face fear today?

Everyday [laughs]. Oh my gosh, I get super nervous, but then I just remember: “Fall in.”

Were there challenges that you faced with your new album Through and Through that are different from what you faced with your first album To Myself?  

This album was made in the pandemic. And so there was so much uncertainty, and so much had to fall apart before it came together. When I look around and I see the people that have been here with me from day one, like the architects of this album, I feel so good. It makes me feel so good because although a lot of things fell apart, some things are going to stand the test of time. So I'm very grateful.

More: Explore KCRW Live From sessions





Credits:

KCRW Music Director: Anne Litt
Interview: Anthony Valadez  
Director / Editor/ Color : Angie Scarpa
Directors of Photography : Dalton Blanco and Vice Cooler
Camera Operators : Dalton Blanco, Vice Cooler, Angie Scarpa, Miko Scarpa
Recording / Mix Engineer: Hope Brush 
Assistant Recording Engineer: Henry D'Ambrosio
Producers: Liv Surnow and Anna Chang 
Lighting Design: Jason Groman
Art Director: Evan Solano
Executive Producer: Ariana Morgenstern 
Digital Producer: Andrea Domanick

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