ROZES Talks Mental Health, Writing Music, And Her Passion For Women’s Rights

If you’ve never heard of ROZES, think again… because I guarantee you have. In 2015, an EDM duo called The Chainsmokers released a song that broke down pop barriers and pushed EDM to the forefront of the radio waves. “Roses” became an instant hit and fan favorite, garnering over 6 million plays on Spotify. The song was written by Elizabeth Mencel (ROZES) and The Chainsmokers and continues to amp up fans whenever it’s played live. But do you know who ROZES really is?

This Philadelphia native has made a name for herself since her radio hit with The Chainsmokers and continues to keep her voice and music as personal and real as possible. This year alone, ROZES has released three songs, all incredibly beautiful and meaningful to the singer. As a mental health advocate and woman in the music business, ROZES has a lot to say and she says it well.

I asked some questions about her latest single “Call Me“, her time at Alicia Keys’ writing camp, and what the rest of 2019 looks like for her music career:

Have you always been passionate about social and mental health issues? When did you feel comfortable including those themes into your music? (“Call Me” “Halfway There”)

“I have always had the fight for social and mental health issues inside of me. I grew up bullied and started struggling with mental health from an early age because of it. As I grew older and felt more comfortable in my skin, I started using music to speak out about the things I was feeling and what I believed in. I was never going to fit in, so I decided to stand out.

My music always has a deeper meaning to it than what is shown (or heard) on the surface, a lot of my earlier songs are about my struggles with love. But I think I started getting frustrated with writing about the same thing as everyone else, when the world is  struggling with much deeper things beyond that. I started to recognize that my words had weight to them, and the things I believe in, and the people I love, need to be supported, too. I guess I’m trying to be the hero I never had. ‘Halfway There‘ and ‘Call Me’ are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m refusing to write about anything ‘easy,’ now is the time to speak out, so I’m going to.”

Explain being a part of the “She Is The Music” writing camp? How did you get involved? How was the experience?

“I was invited to the join the writing camp by someone who was setting it up, and I’m so thankful. This experience was so empowering and inspiring. We got to sit down with Alicia Keys and discuss music and our favorite artists that have inspired us as music makers. Being a part of this camp made me realize that we have to be the change we want to see. It starts with us. As an artist, it is my responsibility to be inviting females into the studio to create- we have to help each other. I worked with some of the best writers and producers and wrote some of my favorite music, including my latest single ‘Call Me’.”

Do most of your songs start on the piano? What does your writing process look like?

“I think it’s pretty evenly split between piano and guitar. I typically have a concept that I want to write about. I have a running list of words and concepts in my phone that I write down when I feel inspired by something and depending on who I am writing with or if I’m writing by myself, I’ll  pick a specific concept. Then I settle on some chords and the melodies and lyrics follow! My process does change, but that is the typical skeleton.”

What’s inspiring you these days?

“I am truly inspired by the world around me and the struggles each human must face in their lives. I am very strong in my beliefs, and that plays a huge factor in my writing. I’m inspired by my fight as a woman be to seen and treated equally,  by the LGBTQ+ community and their fight to love freely, by my honest and true struggles with mental health and the determination to channel it into something healthy (music), by the heartbreak and injustice that modern day racism is still causing in our country, and so much more that daily life shows me.”

What does the rest of 2019 look like for ROZES?

“I’ve got lots of music and collaborations I’m really excited about! I hope to be playing shows and getting on a tour for fall!”





Q&A with Ace Motel!

(image via

You may not know Ace Motel yet, but you will soon. Dreamy soft guitars seem to guide their sound into a sweet pop escape. The duo hails from Manchester and is comprised of vocalist Georgia Phillips and producer Kamil McCabe. I asked the band about their latest single, “Still With Me” and what their inspiration has been throughout this process.

Let’s talk about your latest single, “Still With Me”; the writing process & inspiration behind it!

“The idea for the song was inspired by the feeling of moving on in life but still keeping the people you love around you no matter what. The guts of the instrumental came about first; we wanted to produce something for the EP that had an all-consuming, pulsing vibe – something more upbeat but would still maintain the generally laid-back nature of the rest of the EP. Once Kammy had composed an instrumental we were happy with, the lyrics honestly came naturally and was very much a collaborative process because of the experiences in life we’re both facing at the moment. The whole song came together fairly rapidly and once it was finished we definitely felt like the EP was then complete.”


Tell me about your intro to music? Did you always want to be in a band/singing?

“Throughout his teens, Kammy played the guitar and dabbled in production. I have always sung but never considered pursuing it as a career until I began singing and writing with him. When we met at uni, we started doing open mic nights together before he really delved into production and we began writing and recording our own music. From then we’ve continued to produce our own songs, and the EP consists of some of the major work we’ve made this past year.”


How would you describe your sound?

“Atmospheric, authentic and laid back; we like to produce an organic, clean sound that, when played, is recognizable as ours. We love music that blends all kinds of unique sounds, and so aim to achieve a similar vibe in our own music.”


Where did the name Ace Motel come from?

“It took us about a year after we formed as a band to actually come up with the name! It was ultimately adapted from one of our favorite lyrics from one of our favorite songs, ’33 God’ by Bon Iver, where they mention the Ace Hotel. The lyrics to that song always stuck with us, so we thought it was perfect to derive our name from that. We even went to visit the actual Ace Hotel in Downtown LA a few weeks after deciding on the name.”


What can fans expect this year?

“Ace motel is going to continue making music. Unfortunately, however, I’m going off to pursue my own passion project, so, for now, my time with the band is over. However, Kammy is going to continue the band independently and we’ll have to wait and see what direction he takes it in, but definitely be excited. Ace Motel has just begun.”


Q&A with Alice Gray

Alice Gray is one to watch. With one single under her belt and a striking new collab titled “Front Row” just released, 2018 is her year to shine. I spoke with the pop singer about her inspirations, come-up to music, and plans for the rest of the year.

alice gray
image via

“Front Row” is such a romantic fun song. How did this collab come about? And do you hope to do more EDM/Pop tracks like this in the future?

“I met VALNTN only this past fall when my friend and mixing engineer, Andi Inadomi, asked me to join their session. We had a fun time and wrote a great song so we continued writing together. Val and 5ALVO had produced the instrumental for ‘Front Row’ almost a year ago and had many song writers take a crack at top line, but nothing stuck so he asked me to try my hand at it. I brought in my trustee songwriting collaborator Stephen Conley who co-wrote ‘Pink Cadillac’ to add his magic and the three of us wrote and cut vocals for ‘Front Row’ over the course of one session. It was my first experience recording ‘gang vocals,’ – hysterical.”

Who are you currently listening to a lot? And why? 

“I have a fascination with Francis and the Lights. I saw his video for “Friends” when he released his album Farewell, Starlite! and I was immediately drawn to his uninhibited dance moves and mysterious demeanor. He’s even better onstage! 

I will forever love my dream pop ladies Lana and Lorde. My new favorite is SZA – she has no filter and writes in a non-formulaic way that is very inspiring to me. It’s easy to get caught up writing a formulaic pop song.”

Has music always been your passion? 

“It has. I sang ‘Part of Your World’ from the Little Mermaid constantly as a child. My mom gave me a tape recorder that I’d carry around- singing into it, playing it back, and listening with pure joy. I had a little trio band in elementary school called the GAP Girls (acronym of all our last names and we all wore GAP sweatshirts A LOT) I’d write songs and choreograph these strange little dances to go with them that we’d perform for our teachers on the school lawn at recess.

However, I became very shy in middle school and stopped singing. I’d wait until I knew for sure no one was around to sing. I’d write these angsty little love songs on pads of paper all around the house. I was the go-to playlist girl- I’d spend hours on Limewire downloading bootleg music and burning CD’s for my friends. When I got my first MacBook in High school I started making songs on garage band, but I wouldn’t show anyone. Instead I pursued my other, more introverted love; drawing and painting. It wasn’t until I was about to graduate with a degree in fine arts that I needed to get over my fear and took a songwriting class. That class changed my life.”

Tell me about “Pink Cadillac” and where the inspiration came from

“‘Pink Cadillac’ is a complicated song to explain. I walked into my first session with Stephen Conley and told him I wanted to write a song inspired by Angelyne, the infamous woman that drives around Hollywood in her pink corvette. I’d seen her around my neighborhood a lot so I looked her up and watched a little documentary on her. I found her to be both fascinating and fearless, but also sad and I wanted to use this really unique imagery in a song. We came up with a scenario that reflected what I was going through at the time, but colored it in Angelyne’s world. I ended up having a meeting with Angelyne to discuss her making an appearance in the music video. She loves ‘Pink Cadillac’ and agreed to be in it, but as an independent artist I didn’t have the funds to create the music video I envision for that song. I plan to change that very soon.”

What’re your plans for 2018? Is there an EP or full length album on the way? And if so, how is the process coming along? 

“2018 is going to be a big one. I’ve got a bunch of songs lined up, brand collaborations, in pre-production for a music video and starting to play a lot of shows. I have more than 5 songs lined up, enough to make an album, but we are going to give them each their own day in the sun and release them month by month as singles. When I create my first album, I want to go about it very purposefully and craft songs that are meant to be released together as a single piece of art.”