- Words Nicola Davies
Singer-songwriter Baby Rose details the inspirations behind her new album ‘Through and Through’, touching upon her collaborative experiences.
On a grey February evening in a candle-lit lounge in Camden Town, Baby Rose is performing her new album. The tiny room is packed, and her buttery voice is hypnotising every person lucky enough to be there. A few months later on another sunny London April evening, I’m speaking to the singer-songwriter in LA.
“I was given the advice that to make it in the industry, I would have to go in like a trojan horse. And then once I got my foot in the door, I could be myself,” she explains. Starting to write poetry at the age of nine, and later putting her words to music, Baby Rose, real name Jasmine Rose Wilson, began attending recording studios aged 12 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Being advised to make music that “kids could listen to” widened her skillset and made her a better songwriter. “It made me a little bit more versatile and gave me a chip on my shoulder; I knew that I wanted to be successful.” This has shaped her style ever since, utilising an active approach in the studio to leave with more than she came with.
“I was teased a lot for my voice when I was a kid. But the irony is now it’s the vehicle in which I can do my work.” It’s this drive with which Baby Rose found her true sound, coinciding with a move to Atlanta for college where she felt more at home. Here, she met Daijah Ross and Trey Best, who became close friends and co-writers. The artist credits their friendships for the safety she feels to create: “A lot of my writing is getting things off my chest that affect me deeply and shining a light on my deepest fears, so I don’t feel so alone in them.”
Baby Rose doesn’t make music with just anyone, but she thrives in collaborative situations. She keeps a tight inner circle and looks out for those she believes in. “It’s nice being seen by people that I respect love, and to know that they’re rooting for me.” Even then, Baby Rose admits it can be lonely as a solo artist, especially during the pandemic. ““All To Myself” was opening so many doors for me. Things were happening that I couldn’t imagine and then everything stopped still.”
She started working on her second album, Through and Through, towards the end of 2020 and only completed it earlier this year. Baby Rose was front and centre for the entire process, taking charge of her narrative, “I’m always in the thick of it. I take pride in being a part of things from start to finish.” The three years she’s worked on this album has been nothing short of a journey, and the overwhelming sentiment is gratitude, especially for friends and mentors. “I’m grateful for the time that I had to really refine what I wanted to say,” she offers reflectively.
Recorded between LA, Atlanta and Nashville, Baby Rose orchestrated writing camps for intensive periods. In Atlanta, she hired the entire Astro Studios for a week and turned three rooms into five. With the pandemic in the background, and playing artist documentaries for inspiration, she was more determined than ever. “I’m having this resounding mantra, like, if this is the last thing that we’re going to put out, what is it going to feel like? Am I going to play it cool, or go for the edge of my comfort zone?”
Nashville was chosen for Baby Rose’s love of traditional country music. Working with songwriters like Shannon Sanders and Jesse Wilson, she enjoyed being on “‘Nashville time”, and “stripping records down to their bones.” She’s clearly a sponge and the experience has opened her up to the possibility of visits elsewhere.
The new album name, Through and Through, expresses the cyclical nature of life and love. Although the record has been refined to her exacting standards, it’s also a product of healing and rawness. The polished sound sits in contrast to their emotive lyrics. Each of the 11 tracks could stand alone, with Baby’s story-telling intention coming in waves.
Although her voice is as distinctive as ever, she uses it differently on the album. On “To Myself”, it’s as if Baby Rose’s voice leads her, overwhelming the narrative with cinematic power. But on Through and Through, she’s harnessed her gift and learnt how to bend her voice to her advantage.
Beyond her projects, Baby Rose features in multiple compilations, including Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III, Fuck Yo Feelings by Robert Glasper and the Creed III: Soundtrack. The projects garnered Grammy nominations, and her input hasn’t gone unnoticed: “I am able to read the room and add where I can, and never let it be about the ego, but about the song or record instead.”
But Baby Rose is never on the sidelines looking in. The singer is admired and loved by those she waxes lyrical about. She talks of a current renaissance in music, citing Steve Lacey, Little Simz and Q Marsden, with whom she is co-headlining. Through and Through will solidify a rightful place amongst these mentors, proving the doubters that she’s worthy of her success so far.