Interview: Rozzi Crane
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:34:48
Rozzi Crane recently dropped her Space EP [iTunes link], and she’s currently on the road supporting Maroon 5. She’s happy to open up about it below, but Rozzi remains one our favorite new pop songstress. She’s got a massive soulful voice and a whole lot of spunk, coupling this undeniable delivery with a raw honesty. Space illuminates multiple facets of her sound, but there’s a whole lot more to come when she drops her full-length debut later this year. Make sure you pay attention, because Rozzi’s on track to becoming one of pop’s biggest presences.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Rozzi Crane talks Space, touring with Maroon 5, and so much more.
Where do you feel like Space’s cohesion comes from?
The big picture for me is this album, and the EP is a piece of it. I wanted those four songs to flow nicely together. I definitely put them in that order for a specific reason. The real cohesion and vision will come on the full record. These four are just a snippet. It’s harder for me to say that I really had a big goal for them. Obviously, I wanted to give a good taste of what the full-length will feel like. You have to wait for the whole thing to get the big picture!
What is that picture so far, even with these four songs? Space already does showcase all of the different sides and vibes you excel at musically.
Totally! That was really important to me too. It was very important to me specifically to include “Half the Man.” Obviously, I work with a great team, and everybody has great ideas. However, putting “Half the Man” on the EP was something I was certain about and definitely made sure happened. Exactly like you said—even with these four songs—I wanted to make sure people could get a good sense of the different sides of me. “Psycho” and “Crazy A** B****” are so up-tempo and fun. I hope they make everyone feel powerful and strong. “Half the Man” is a lot more personal to me—the most on the EP. I produced it with two of my friends, Brian Green and Sam Wilkes. It was super fun. There are a lot more songs made in that way on the album. I wanted to make sure there was at least one song on the EP that gave people a look into what that sound would be like, in addition to the fun, up-tempo songs.
What’s “Half the Man” about for you?
You hear that phrase, “Man up!” when someone’s being a wussy. I guess, as a girl, I still know what that means. When someone says, “Man up” to me, I know what it means, but it’s kind of f***ed up [Laughs]. I loved that line “Half the man I am.” I think this is what it’s about—you’re dating somebody who’s totally falling short of what he is supposed to do and you feel more capable than him. I’m not saying we as girls should be filling the man’s role. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just saying, “You’re supposed to be the man. I’m supposed to be the woman. In this role, I feel more capable than you at your own job!” I think a lot of girls feel that way sometimes, and it’s very frustrating. It was a combination of those two things that spoke to me about that song. It’s a play on the word. When people say, “Be a man,” it feels really sexist. It’s not just my personal experience, but it’s also my friends’ experience dating and being generally frustrated with someone’s inability to be everything you need him to be.
It shows your vocal range too.
Thank you! That was important to me. We recorded that song differently than we recorded the others. I recorded that in a different studio. Usually, we’ll take some of the songs section by section and be super picky. I’m totally a perfectionist so I’ll get really particular about every moment of every phrase. With this song, I just wanted to sing it the way I’d sing it at a show. I wanted it to feel raw. It’s very personal to me. It was more about saying it, feeling it, and really putting myself in that place in my mind where I was singing. I’m glad it translates into feeling raw.
Has the meaning of “Psycho” changed since you’ve been performing it?
I love “Psycho.” What I love about it is it can mean whatever you want it to mean. For me personally, what it means now is pretty much what it’s always meant to me. When you get to sing it live, you get to live it. It solidifies the meaning. “Psycho” is about having a really ridiculous dream or crazy aspiration for yourself, knowing it’s unlikely, and not giving a f***. That’s the point! Growing up, since I was a six-year-old, I would say I wanted to be a singer professionally. A lot of people, understandably, would be like, “That’s pretty unlikely. Think of a Plan B.” When I was 15 I still said it, and my dad was like, “Oh s***!” Even though something’s unlikely, it’s not impossible. It’s important to listen to those ideas even if they’re crazy. I close my show with that. I hope it makes everyone feel they’re capable and whatever ideas they have are doable. If someone’s really listening, I hope that’s what they take away from the song.
What’s been inspiring you lately, even outside of music?
I’m a walker. On this tour, what I do every day is I walk in circles around the arena. It’s my meditation. It’s freezing outside so you can’t really go out there. I’m literally sitting by the merch stand in the concourse. I walk around every day, and I listen to music. When I feel most inspired every day is when I’m on stage. I see a different venue. Traveling, I meet so many people. That is very inspiring. I do these meet-n-greets every night. I meet a whole bunch of people outside by the merch booth. That’s cool for me because I don’t get to see much of each city, but I do get to meet a lot of people. That’s really cool. That inspires me. Musically, I love the new Kendrick Lamar album, To Pimp a Butterfly. I’m a very big Kendrick Lamar fan. I love Jazmine Sullivan’s album, Reality Show. I’ve been listening to that a lot. I made a Spotify playlist that you can share with people and totally creep on. Kendrick is so special, and I feel so crazy lucky that I got him on a song. That’s insane to me because I’m such a big fan. He’s such an important artist. He has so much to say.
What can you say about the album?
It’s almost finished. We’re tying things up, and I can’t wait to share the whole thing. I’ve had a strong vision of what the album would be. I like that we released the EP. Artistically, I’m even more excited for people to hear the whole thing. Lyrically, it’s similar to the EP, but it’s a little more subtle and nuanced. “Crazy A** B****” is about dating someone who’s a little too into it, a little too soon. That’s a real story. I wrote about it in a much more subtle way on the rest of the record. It’s funny. I always liked how funny it is. Dating someone who wants something from you that you can’t give them is also really heartbreaking. Even if it seems like they’re the ones who are heartbroken, it’s still heartbreaking. I wrote about that a lot. I want people to have fun, like it, and put it on when they hang out. Beyond that, if I were to have an honest goal for what happens to listeners, I’d really hope that people would feel really strong and capable. One of the reasons I love Beyoncé so much is she makes me feel like, “F*** yeah! I can do whatever I want” when I listen to hear. I’d love to pass that on. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than music that can make me feel like I can do anything. I hope the underlying message and tone is basically, “You can do it!”
Being on the road with Maroon 5, what has been the biggest, “OMG moment?”
It’s so crazy that it’s my third tour with them. In a crazy, weird universe, it’s started to feel normal, which is weird! I can’t believe it. Every night I sing “Moves Like Jagger” with Adam Levine, I do the Christina Aguilera part. It trips me out that I’ve become sort of nonchalant about it. I remember the first time I was terrified. I was like freaking out in a good way the whole tour. Now, it feels like summer camp. I come here once a year, we all hang out, and sing “Moves Like Jagger.” It’s awesome [Laughs]. The biggest moment really is the fact that all of these people come and meet me every night. Every tour I’ve done, I meet people at the merch booth after my set. On this tour, I’ve been out there from like 45 minutes to an hour every night. That blows my mind. Because I’ve been to all of these cities multiple times, it’s not everyone’s first time hearing about me, and that’s crazy. On this tour, there are some people who know who I am, and that’s cool! At one show, during “Psycho,” all of these people in the pit held up these signs that said, “I’m happy here,” which is the hook. That was such a cool moment. Not only do all of these people know the song, but they put in the effort to show me!
For more with Rozzi check out our acoustic performance and video interview!