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Rozes From the Hit Song 'Roses' With The Chainsmokers Talks Life, Love & Mental Illness

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When Elizabeth Mencel was growing up in Philadelphia, PA, she never imagined that one day she would be performing at Coachella, on Jimmy Kimmel, and hearing herself on the radio. But when she started skipping her classes at Temple University to write songs with the notorious Chainsmokers, things started to fall into place for her. Now, Rozes (as she calls herself) has become a universal sensation and the powerhouse voice behind the Chainsmokers hit track “Roses.” I got a chance to hang out with Rozes in New York City to talk life, love, and mental illness—and you are going to love what she has to say.

How did you first get into music and when did you know that that was what you wanted to do as a career?

Rozes: I was born into music; it really was a family thing. And so I started playing piano at a six and then the violin and then saxophone, clarinet, and guitar. Like it just all started to snowball from there. But with playing piano and guitar, I learned how to play all my favorite songs and I loved that. Actually, I'm pretty sure the first song I learned on the guitar was Wonderwall and I would play it at all the bonfires like trying to be the cool kid. And then at one point I went through a really bad breakup and music seemed to be there for me when I didn't feel like anybody else was. So before I knew it I was skipping my classes at Temple University to write songs with The Chainsmokers. 

Were people always supportive of that decision or did you receive backlash? 

Rozes: I think by the time I made the decision, I didn't care what other people thought. So I I was prepared for people to say “are you sure? Like is this really what you want?” But there are only certain times in life that you can pursue your dream and sometimes it's when you're young. I know in this industry there really is an age when you're in your prime and it's hard to see how to build your way up if you miss that. So you've got to start early, I guess. I always knew that I could go back to college but I couldn't restart my music career. So it was now or never.

Your music video for "Under the Grave" premiered on Marie Claire last week and besides being incredibly beautiful, it is also very personal. Are most of your songs made up of personal experiences and moments?

Rozes: My songs are always, more or less, about my personal experiences. I mean, "Under the Grave" obviously is about my own experience, but I've been drawing from a lot of my friend’s relationships and things like that because I've seemed to hit a spot where I'm steady in my relationship and completely in love. So right now it's fun to draw from my friends and the struggles that they've been facing. 

Going off of that, you talk a lot about female empowerment on your Instagram. Can you tell us a bit about your thoughts on women in modern society?

Rozes: My definite stance is that women belong in positions of power and I don't think that anybody should be denied a position based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. You know, regardless of who you are or where you came from we should all have equal opportunities. And I think that a lot of the world has been denying women of that; of having the same opportunities and maybe at this point it's not even intentional. Within the music industry, for instance, I could see so many things being so much easier by just being best buds with somebody you know, but as a girl, it's hard to do that because there's a line that people are afraid to cross. 

You also talk a lot about anxiety and depression. Do you think there is still a negative stigma in the world around people who suffer from mental illnesses, particularly women?

Rozes: Oh, definitely. I think that a lot of people see me as unstable and most of that is through my songs. But to me, it's a feeling that a lot of people don't admit. And that's why I'm here. I want to be here for that girl, the girl that I was. When I was a girl, I couldn't admit that I was sad for no reason and it's something that needs to be talked about.

 

Serotonin. Because you can have happiness even when you have anxiety & depression 

A photo posted by ROZES (@rozessounds) on

Do you have any advice for people who are also suffering who haven't gotten to that that place yet where they're comfortable talking about it?

Rozes: Write in a diary. Definitely write everything down and know that nobody's going to judge you for you saying that you're sad even when life is so great and awesome. It's a feeling we have all had and it really sucks. 

What kind of things do you do to treat yourself if you know you're having a bad day or just having a breakdown? How do you feel better when things feel so dark?

Rozes: Honestly, I play music. A lot of people ask me what my other hobbies are and literally, in my free time, I will sit down and write music because that's my hobby. It's my career and my life. It's my first love. It's just everything to me. 

You can watch Rozes talk about her favorite celebrities, inspirations, and more below—and stream "Under the Grave" on iTunes and Spotify now. 

 


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