Rosie Lowe’s ephemeral R&B explores “the realm between male and female”

May 20, 2014

“There hasn’t ever been anything else,” Rosie Lowe says via an East London recording studio where she’s working on material for her debut album. “There was never a plan B.”

This singular focus has served the jazz-trained, Devon-born singer-songwriter well; from sound to style, her remarkably gorgeous late-2013 EP Right Thing is a standout.

Controlled and edgy, with a distinct timbre, Lowe’s brand of minimalist R&B—influenced by genre mixers like Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, and Jill Scott—plays with the remoteness of James Blake (“Me & Your Ghost”), and at times has an ephemeral kinship with Laura Mvula (“10k Balloons”).

After posting self-produced tracks on her SoundCloud, Lowe caught the attention of management and Domino Publishing. Right Thing, produced by Kwes and Dave Okumu (Jessie Ware), was released on 37 Adventures, “a lovely little indie” label that allowed her to explore and put out an album that was “real to that moment.” Since the release, Lowe has charted number 14 on Billboard’s Next Big Sound list, and recently announced that her debut album will come out on Paul Epworth’s (Adele, Florence and the Machine) label,Wolf Tone. In anticipation of her debut, she is focused on gigging with her band and musically challenging herself in unusual ways.

“I love kind of pitching my vocals down, I always call it my male counterpoint,” says Lowe of the genderless vocal quality she seeks. “To me music isn’t gendered-it never has been. I am interested in that realm between male and female, and kind of trying to find almost a mutual point.”

Raised the youngest of six by artistically inclined parents in the countryside, Lowe had no TV or internet until later in her youth and never knew whether it was female or male musicians playing the jazz she enjoyed; this mystery still appeals to her today. “I love being a female but I guess it’s almost that it doesn’t matter that I’m a female and I shouldn’t be judged on the fact that I’m a female – or a male. This is my music and this comes from my heart and I want men and women to be able to relate with it in whichever way they hope to.”

As with her sound, Lowe wants her lyrics to transcend, too. “One of the biggest parts of me is that I write the music myself, and that it comes from the depths of me really. That’s when I like to sing, when I feel it, [when] it resonates with me. I just want this album to be every part of me as possible.”

[magazine month=”May” year=”2014″]

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