I have been finding out more about Ramona Rose…
as her new single, High Water, is out. She talks about how the track came together and whether there is more material coming along. The songwriter discusses how she got into music and which albums are most important to her.
Ramona Rose looks ahead to gigs and tells me what it feels like being on stage; which rising, Leeds-based artists we should get involved with; if she has time to chill away from music – she selects a recent song to end the interview with.
Hi, Ramona Rose. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello! I’m very well, thanks. Hope you are too! My week has been pretty busy gearing up for the single release - I’ve been up to my eyeballs in admin most days, but I’m feeling good!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Ramona Rose. I’m a singer/songwriter based in Leeds (but originally from Oxfordshire) and I make Folk-Rock music. I’ve been gigging across the North for around five years, touring and writing as much as I possibly can! I‘m a solo artist, gigging with just a loop pedal and my guitar. I’ve just finished my third U.K. tour and I’ve just released my brand new single!
High Water is your new track. What can you reveal regarding its influence and story?
High Water is, essentially, a song about not letting the world get you down. When I wrote this record, I had just graduated from university and suddenly found myself out in the big wide world with absolutely no idea what I was doing with my life; generally feeling pretty lost.
It took me to quite a strange and confusing place but it was from that experience that I felt really compelled to write a song that fought back against the negativity of it all. It’s quite a defiant ‘don’t give up’ kind of message, but positive nonetheless.
It is an energised and catchy track. Was it quite an easy and quick track to put together?!
It literally took one day! It was the easiest record I’ve ever worked on in the sense that everything about it felt right. Myself and my friend Mak, who used to play bass in my band, headed over to Greenmount Studios in Leeds, where we got to work with the wonderful Lee Smith and Jamie Lockhart. I only brought a rough demo into the session but had a really clear idea of how I wanted it to sound - and the guys were so great with letting me explore that.
By the end of the day, we had what is, essentially, the track you have now. I’d never worked on a record that way before, but it was brilliant - it really just forces you to make instinctive decisions and go with your gut on what works and what doesn’t.
Might there be an E.P. or album next year? How far ahead are you looking?
Well...there are definitely plans for an E.P. in the works. I’m so happy with where the sound is right now and I can’t wait to keep making more music. Next year is, hopefully, going to be a productive one!
Do you recall when you got into music? Which artists did you grow up around?
I’ve been into music since I was super-little. My family had a huge vinyl collection and I was utterly obsessed with guitars as a kid, so it was there from the start really. I grew up listening to a huge range of artists; everything from Carly Simon to The Who to Shania Twain which has, ultimately, really informed the way I think about music today. I tend to draw on a lot of different influences when I write and so having that initial exposure to so many styles had a huge impact.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
My big priority is to keep writing and recording, so definitely to start working on the next release! I’ve also been working hard on the music video for High Water - which will be making an appearance before the year is out.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
So far, the biggest highlight has been playing at O2 Academy Sheffield, where I had the joy of supporting CoCo and the Butterfields. The crowd were wonderful; a load of my friends were there and it was just a wonderful night. It was one of those gigs where you can’t quite believe you’re there.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Ooh; that’s tough! I’d have to say Rumours by Fleetwood Mac first and foremost
I learned an awful lot about good songwriting from this record and some of my all-time favourite songs are on there.
Another would have to be Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall
Because it was the first album I ever owned on C.D. As a kid, I would have the disc permanently in my little Walkman playing on a loop. I still revisit it to this day. I just think they’re beautifully-written songs.
And, finally, I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty
Pure lyrical genius just dripping with satire and cynicism. Before listening to this album, I’d never heard songs written in that way, and it really had an effect on me.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Back in 2014, I formally added ‘support Jack White’ to the bucket list. His live show is outrageously good and his music has inspired me so much over the years. So, I’m formally putting that one out into the universe!
As for a rider…I’m a pretty low-maintenance gal. I’d say WiFi, a phone charger and Yorkshire Tea. Rock on.
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
I’ve got plans in the works for an early 2019 tour - so keep an eye out for that - but I also have a few stand-alone shows on the horizon! My next few shows are:
27/09 - York’s Little Festival of Live Music
28/10 - Sofar Sounds, London
20/11 - Blues Bar, Harrogate
Is the stage the most important place for you? How does it feel being up there?
I think the stage is the place that challenges me the most, but in the best possible way. When you play live, you’ve got so much adrenaline racing through your body that it almost feels like a fight-or-flight situation.
So, when I’m up there, I can easily feel like the most confident version of myself or the most vulnerable. It’s two sides of the same coin but that’s what makes the entire experience so exciting. I always write my songs with the number one intention of playing them live; there’s just nothing like it.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Do what feels right, make your own decisions; protect your self-esteem and never give up.
IN THIS PHOTO: Huw Eddy & The Carnival/PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Lee Turton
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Absolutely! Check out Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Ben Bickley and AGI. All brilliant musicians emerging from the Leeds music scene (where I’m based). They’re just a few of many great artists smashing it right now so I highly recommend checking them out.
IN THIS PHOTO: AGI
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I try and take time out whenever I can - I’m a great believer that you can have too much of a good thing and sometimes the only way to fuel your love for something is by stepping away from it. So, I read a lot; I watch Netflix, I attempt to go the gym and I occasionally try my hand at baking (although that can sometimes stress me out in equal measure!)
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thanks for having me! I recommend a song called Psycho by Lauren Aquilina. I’ve had it on-repeat ever since its release a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed with it!
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