Rossy is a Los Angeles based producer taking the trap music world by storm. Her most recent single, a collaboration with We Rose titled “See Through,” is out now. I spoke to her about “See Through” and her recent rise to stardom.
Tell me a little bit about you and what got you making music.
My real name is also Rossy, so we’ll start there. It was just me and my mom my whole life, and at really young age music kind of became just like, my thing throughout life. It’s what I latched onto. We moved a lot, so I would sit in the backseat of my mom’s car and yell, “Play Spice Girls! Play Shania Twain!” Ever since I was little I just always loved music. But when I got into fifth grade, I got really into grunge and punk music. I was in love with Kurt Cobain. He had already passed away but I was like, in love with Kurt Cobain. So I went to my mom and told her that I wanted to learn the guitar and drums. She told me I had to pick one. So I picked guitar and I started taking lessons. Kept doing that throughout my years growing up and everything and I didn’t even know electronic music existed. At this point, we were living in a really small, hippie, cool town, and it was just not anything close to what my world was doing. Then I graduated high school and moved to college, and everyone was listening to electronic music. I completely fell in love and fully taught myself how to do everything. I did not know what I was doing. The first thing I did was buy a controller, I DJed before I produced music. That’s how I got here. I feel like a lot of people had their “a-ha” moment seeing Skrillex at some time in their life. But that was my pretty big a-ha moment like, this is what I want to do. And now here I am!
How long have you been producing?
I haven’t been producing that long. I’ve been producing for three years. I’ve been DJing for six.
What was it like trying to make that jump focusing mostly on DJing to then starting to produce? What challenges did you face?
Even when I started DJing, I knew I wanted to produce. I was just really intimidated. I don’t have a reason why I was intimidated. I feel like… I mean now it’s obviously getting more diverse, which I’m so thankful for, but back then it was so male-dominated. I felt like I was so intimidated by how the DAW looked, I remember opening Ableton and just shutting my laptop. I just felt intimidated and a lot of pressure and then one day I was just like, why am I so scared? I had no reason to be scared. So then I was like, “You can do this, you can do anything,” and I just made myself dive into it. That was what really pushed me to do the leap. Now I can’t believe I was so scared of this thing. I think the first step of being confident in myself and knowing I can do it is what really pushed me to go there, which I love more than anything, so I’m so glad I did. I always wanted to do something with music, and I always have had a really strong creative vision as far as just for myself. I also have lots of emotions, so the idea that I can finally put all me into something was something I really wanted to pursue. This is completely my own art and my vision, and what I want to put into the world.
So tell me about your vision for your project. What is your mission in the art that you create?
I feel like there’s so many different ways I could answer that. In the sense of what I want to do creatively, the world has no bounds. I definitely want to push myself and push what any artist—I hate saying female artist because I feel like that really narrows us to a box. We are just starting to kind of open the feeling of what females are doing compared to what men do, and I just want to be a part of pushing that and growing that so that anyone feels that they can do anything. Even if that’s doing a stadium tour, things like that. I feel like things like that are so achievable. I just want to really just help break some records and make people feel like they can do anything, because I feel like there’s a lot of people in this world that don’t feel that way. Just because they’re scared or intimidated, like I was. Creatively, the music I want to make and the brand I want to put into the world, I want to be the trap queen. I feel like that genre too, women are just starting to break out into that realm, and I just want to do it. I love it more than anything and I want to do it in a way that feels special and unique to me. I want to be innovative, I want to be forward-thinking, and I want to bring something new to the table that makes people stoked on music or whatever they feel inspired by.
I think that’s pretty great. I wanted to ask you a little bit about this new song. We’ve talked a little about your experience producing, but you do vocals on this song.
Was it intimidating to sing on a song? Is it your first time singing?
Oh my gosh, yes, so intimidating. It’s not my first time singing. I’ve sang on my track “Flowers,” “It Is You,” and “What Do You Want,” so this is my fourth time singing. I’ve definitely noticed, I’m getting better as I go on, but I am not a singer. Like, I do not have range, I do not have pipes. I’m really fortunate, one of my best friends in the entire world, Pauline Herr, is an incredible vocalist. She totally pushed me to be able to do it, and helped me as far as vocal processing and vocal comping because I’ve never been a vocalist and I’ve never produced or worked with vocals. If it wasn’t for her, I honestly don’t know if I would be singing, because she definitely gave me the confidence to. But it’s been a cool journey because I didn’t even know I had any pitch or range inside of me, even though I feel like—I feel like it’s kind of like talk-singing? Like it’s kind of a breathy… because I’m definitely no Mariah Carey.
I mean, I feel there’s very few that are like Mariah Carey.
Right? Exactly. It’s really cool because I love writing lyrics. I wrote all the lyrics for all my own songs, so being able to sing those is just a really cool feeling. It makes it feel that much more personal! It’s a pretty incredible feeling to know that not only did I completely make this song, but I also sing the lyrics and I wrote everything. It’s a pretty satisfying and rewarding feeling.
It’s really cool to, like you said, have a hand in every part of it. So, what is the songwriting process like—as in, writing lyrics versus writing the actual instrumentation. Do they differ? Are they similar? What do you feel the creative process is for you?
I definitely think I’m pretty emotion-forward. Like, all of my songs I could definitely tell you why or who they were written about, so my best lyrics typically come from being sad. Like something that’s hurt me, or emotions or something I’m going through. If I like the lyrics, I usually write them all in twenty minutes. That’s how I know it’s flowing and it’s a good song. But if I’m sitting there for a really long time and can’t really get into the flow or am not feeling it, it isn’t meant to be. So music is kind of the same, producing in that way. If I’m trying to work on a song and it’s just not flowing right, I decide to [take a break and] come back to it, maybe it’s just not the right song. But most of my favorite songs I’ve made in a day. It’s like a long day though, like eight hours to fourteen hours, you never know. But there are also songs where I have, not lyric wise, but production wise that I’ve worked on for like a week, or a couple days. I’ve never had a song take me a month or anything like that. And production—I don’t want to say it is harder, but lyrics if I’m really feeling it intuitively like it’s something I can physically write down. Sometimes with production, it’s like you have an idea in your head and you’re just sitting there [wondering] how am I going to execute this? Like I know what I want this to be, but how am I going to do it? They’re both challenging and both rewarding in their own way. But [writing] lyrics is new, I honestly don’t feel like I started writing lyrics that weren’t totally corny until probably the last year and a half. Before I was like, this is so bad.
Personally, one of the most intimidating things about starting something new is knowing that I’m not going to be immediately good at it. How do you find that diligence to keep working at something, or inspire yourself to keep working?
Honestly, there’s so many cool up and coming artists in electronic music that inspire the heck out of me. That definitely inspires me to keep going. And I just like, love music. I just love what I do and do not want to do anything else in this world. It means so much to me that I’m like… I just want to spend my time doing this. So I just take the time, and have the due diligence, and then also, I’m fortunate to have some incredible friends that are way more talented than me [who can give me feedback]. We’re all so supportive and so there for each other that I don’t know if I would even be making what I’m making without their help because we’re all just there for each other. Which I feel like you have to be. We have to be in this together, you know.
Totally. It’s a lot easier to work at something when you have a community around you that’s also doing the same thing. You’re all pushing each other. You mentioned that things have changed for women in the industry and that there is more of a space for female artists, but what do you think can be done to create more opportunities for women in the industry?
I think people just also need to be more aware. When you’re booking talent, or when promoters are booking shows, I think people are really naive to the fact that there are so many girls in every single genre, at every single level, who could easily be playing these shows, and I think they kind of get a cold shoulder because [promoters] don’t put in the effort to see what’s out there. Doing due diligence and knowing that there are more artists in these places that could be filling this spot, rather than just having the same people play the same shows over and over and over. I also think something that’s huge is that, I think that girls, I can say this for myself included, we’re conditioned to think that girls are competition. Now, there’s been such a huge shift in that we’re all so supportive of each other that I feel like it’s kind of like making a roar in the industry. Like, we’re here, you’re gonna see us, you’re gonna listen to us, and we’re not going to leave. We’re going to change the game.
I really love that. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but girls can be really not nice, and that’s just how we’re conditioned to grow up. Now, we’re [doing] away with that, we love each other. If I am successful, it is not going to determine your success. You are going to be as successful as you want, as you are meant to be, and anything I do is not going to impact that. There’s no reason why we can’t support each other and be there for each other, because we all are capable and we all can do whatever we want to do. There’s enough space for us all. I think having that idea shift and having people be more aware and having people actually listen and care is going to be, to me, the big things.
I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s come such a long way—I’ve been writing about electronic music for about seven years now, and from the point that I started to where we are now, it’s so dramatically different. Women are more supportive of each other. I think that ultimately we have to remember that a win for one of us is a win for all of us. We all have to work at getting ourselves out there, because I feel like there’s some tokenism sometimes, where it’s like somebody thinks that because they work with one woman, that’s all they need to have. That drives me crazy!
That is 100% a thing. I won’t name names obviously, but I’ve literally had people say like, “Oh you’re a girl, it will be good for the show.” It’s just crazy! Or I’ve had people say, “Oh, hate to say it, but like having you be a girl is a positive for us,” things like that. That is the problem—how they’re delivering this is the problem.
Yeah, exactly. It’s literally like, white male mediocracy just failing upwards, whereas women have to work so hard to be heard and respected.
Yeah, I always say that we have to work twice as hard to even be noticed or considered. On top of that, being respectfully noticed.
For sure, 100%. What do you consider as your “big break,” or first big milestone?
I feel like the big two things that come to mind when that happened was… I was living in Chico at the time, I went to Chico State. We have a really good show circulation there of electronic artists that would come. The people who put on the shows, the local promoters, they did a Facebook post looking for local openers. One of my coworkers actually emailed them my music, I didn’t even do it.
Really? That’s awesome.
She emailed them my music. I had no idea she did it. The promoter reached out to me and said [that they] listened to [my] music and really liked it. So we got on a call, and he said “I want to book you, this is who we have coming.” At the time, it was Krewella, Audien, Gareth Emery, and Borgore. He [asked which] two I wanted to play. I picked Krewella and I picked Audien. Those were the two that seemed the most fitting for me. My favorite part was, he was about to hang up and he [asked], “Have you ever played on CDJs?” I’ve literally never touched CDJs in my life at this point. I remember I had a college teacher who told my class that men get jobs more than women, because men will say I can if they don’t know how to do it and women will say I’ll learn. So in my head, I was like, “Do not say you’ll learn, say you can.” I was like, “Yes I can.” We hung up the phone and then I called my friend who I knew had CDJs and I was like “I have to learn how to use CDJs”.
But then I opened for Krewella and I opened for Audien, and it went so incredibly, so they kept bringing me back for shows. I feel like getting to do those shows was the first big step of me breaking in and getting to the level of not playing in college backyards anymore, and actually doing more legitimate things. So yeah, that was how I got more legitimately into it and then I was very fortunate to keep growing and move forward to do things with Brownies [& Lemonade], and Space Yacht, and all of that. I think as far as like, when I think about something that changed my life, I would definitely say my release on Sable Valley. I got it tattooed on me—I have “Euphoria” tattooed on me. I definitely think that release is what made people be like, “She means business, she’s here to stay.” When that happened, as far as future things that are coming that I cannot really say, it definitely is… it definitely set that in motion. I got signed to Paradigm after that which also—
Yeah! Congratulations, I saw that. That’s huge!
Thank you so much, I still can’t believe it’s true. I definitely think it brought me to a different level as far as people who were listening to me, the way other people were perceiving me as an artist. I definitely think it’s going to be the song that changed my life for the way I want to go.
It does feel like you’re blowing up. And I know that overnight success is usually five years in the making, so it’s kind of amazing how this journey has taken you here and how much work you’ve put in, and now you’re ready to go.
Yup. That’s how I feel. I want to work 365 on music. That’s all I want to do.
How did the song come together? How did you and We Rose link up, and where did the inspiration from the song come from?
They did an official remix for “Time” by Alison Wonderland and QUIX, and I was obsessed with it. We ended up becoming friends and then they were like “Oh, we have this song, we think you might like it if you want to check it out.” Then they sent me the song, then I worked on it, and that’s what it is now! I remember I actually played a Brownies [& Lemonade] show, it was on March 8th, almost a full year ago. They came to it and it was the first time we ever met in person, and it was so much fun. The nicest guys, such nice guys. They sent me the song and I was like this is really sick, I think I could do something sick with this. I did that, and then I obviously did the vocals, and now here it is!
Where did the lyrics come from? What’s the message of the song?
Yeah. I was in a relationship at the time, and I wasn’t feeling seen or heard. When you really care about someone so much and you’re like, “I would ride for you, I would die for you, but I feel see-through.” You know what I mean? It’s kind of like that inner battle of, “I care about you so much, but I’m really neglecting what I need right now,” and just trying to figure out how to navigate that. Especially with this song, I felt like it was such a pretty and melodic song, I just wanted it to feel really impactful and relatable. It all came together so well. The lyrics and the vocal melody matched so well with the progression of the song. It felt like that was how it was always supposed to sound. Sometimes when I make songs or work on songs with vocals, it feels like you’re trying to fit a puzzle piece together that isn’t exactly fitting, and that song just felt like it was supposed to be together. That’s how that one came to be! I honestly love songs like that too, because it’s just a little reminder of where you were at in your life, and that no matter what you’re going through, typically you can make something beautiful out of it. Sometimes, the hardest things make the most beautiful things.
That’s a great way to frame it. It is kind of like a little time capsule. I’m sure that your songs must trigger memories.
Oh yeah, absolutely. Especially my older songs. I remember I named these four songs subconsciously, and then I realized it was an exact timeline of what my life was like. It’s really cool to look back on now and see the progression. To look back and see what I was thinking and feeling and where I thought I wanted to go, compared to what I’m making now and everything. It’s pretty cool.
How did you go from grunge to trap?
Don’t get me wrong, I still love some grunge. Kurt Cobain’s still my first love. But I think I’ve always been a very independent person. I think I got that from my mom being a single parent, so I never anticipated being in a band or anything. I really love energy and the way that you feel when you feel music, and so when I went to an electronic show for the first time, it felt very—I always say this, I feel like EDM and punk and grunge and metal are really relatable, in the sense that the people who listen and the shows are so devoted. There’s so much energy. When I first started listening to electronic music like heavily, I automatically veered toward trap. Like I just loved it. I loved the energy, the vibe, and all of it. Even then, I was like, I want to be a freaking trap queen!
What does the rest of the year look like for you so far?
Unfortunately, none of them I can say with detail, but I will say I have the most music I’ve ever had in my entire life ready. It is going to be coming. It is going to be a good year. If you would’ve asked me last year that things that are happening this year are happening, I would’ve been like, “You’re crazy, there’s no way.” So, I’m very thankful and really excited to see beyond what is planned right now what is going to happen. It’s pretty freaking crazy, and I’m excited.
Follow Rossy on Spotify.