The exceptionally talented Rose Cora Perry got in touch recently so we could talk a little about her extremely busy schedule and the new album she’s been working on. This interview is a little longer than some of our others but it is well worth the read with Perry’s infectious enthusiasm and passion for music so make a cuppa and put your feet up to learn a little more about Rose Cora Perry and Onto the Floor.
Hi Rose, welcome back to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking to us.
We interviewed you for the launch of your debut album “Off of the Pages” back in 2010. It’s been a long time between albums, can you tell us a little about what you’ve been up to in the meantime?
Haha indeed it has! I know that it’s not typical in today’s digital era for musicians to have timespans of several years between albums. However, this was quite the norm when I was growing up and in my view, it makes for stronger material overall as the music has time to grow and evolve as you do as an artist. This is exactly what happened with “Onto the Floor”.
I released “Off Of the Pages” in 2010 and toured with it that year as well as in 2011. In 2012, I sat down and started penning “Onto the Floor”. It was a bit of a different process however as I collaborated with jazz/classical pianist Ariel Kasler for a lot of the arrangements and accordingly, what I had originally conceived of for many of the songs changed tremendously…in a good way of course. We then teamed up with session drummer Ted Peacock to come up with rhythm section ideas and from there laid down the barebone structures of the songs.
While originally I had intended to create another experimental acoustic album in the same vein as “Off Of the Pages”, because I spread out the recording of “Onto the Floor” over several years, my vision changed over time.
Following the reunion of my all time favourite band, Veruca Salt – which resulted in a chance to not only see them live but meet them in person and share my discography with them! – it became clear to me that I needed to revisit my former incarnation as Anti-Hero’s front woman and bring forth some distortion and rock elements to “Onto the Floor”.
All of this resulted in what I personally feel is my best material yet and an album that truly reflects my multi-faceted background as a performer/songwriter. Elements of my classical vocal training, love for jazz and harmony as well as my hard rock attitude can all be heard on “Onto the Floor”. While it doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, it reflects me very accurately in that I’ve never been one who enjoys being pigeonholed. I’m hopeful that it will appeal to a wide ranging audience because of its diversity and I’m glad that I took my time in allowing it to become its own creation.
Beyond chipping away at this recording for the last few years, I’ve been lending my time as an Emcee to a variety of non-for-profit causes that are near and dear to my heart including VegFest London and Defeat Depression and I launched a new column series that focuses on assessing everyday situations from a sociological perspective entitled, “Fork in the Road.”
From 2012-2013, I got a gig hosting two local TV programs which was a blast. That same time period, I also got heavily involved with my local acting/theatre scene just for fun! I ended up landing lead roles in a variety of short films and a starring role in my first ever stage production.
In other words, I like to keep busy and I like to explore and express myself creatively in a variety of ways.
The new album is ‘Onto The Floor’, can you tell us a little about it?
Absolutely! “Onto the Floor” is my sophomore solo album which I feel “marries” my artistic past and present. It is both hard and soft, acoustic and electric, dramatic and happy. In other words, it’s a truly personal album that reflects my journey as an artist and as an individual – how I’ve grown, what I’ve gone through and where I am now.
As with “Off Of the Pages”, each track contains within it lyrical, melodic and rhythmic homages to different artists who have influenced me along the way: from The Offspring to Michael Jackson and even random French waltzes akin to what you hear in the opening credits of Woody Allen films.
As with “Off Of the Pages”, all of the proceeds from the sale of the disc will be going toward my non-for-profit foundation, Music Saves. The end goal is to be able to raise enough proceeds so that I can conduct a nationwide tour across high schools speaking about my struggles with depression, anorexia and general teenage angst as well as performing the songs that were inspired from said struggles/allowed me to heal.
In fact, my favourite song on the new album entitled, “Darkest Days” overviews quite vividly my personal battle with manic depression. I’d love to be able to perform it live and discuss it lyrically as I’m sure many others could relate to it.
When is the album released and where can we get it? Are any of the tracks available to preview?
My new live backing band, The Truth Untold, and I are currently doing a pre-release tour throughout which limited edition hardcopies of the album will be available in person only. However, I won’t be making the album available digitally until we release our first music video and submit the first single for radio airplay later on this year.
Our focus at present is to be able to rock through the summer and generate buzz to make for an exciting Fall release. You’ll just have to be patient!
How would you describe your sound?
As my music melds a variety of wide-ranging influences together, I consider it a form of “alternative” in that it tends to defy traditional genre conventions and deviate from songwriting “rules”. The album is very much driven by dynamic acoustic and piano melodies as well as vocal harmonies so I feel it falls under the “acoustic” genre. Put the two together and you get “acoustic alternative”: a term I denoted myself, which I feel represents what I’m all about.
My live band, The Truth Untold, on the other hand, has taken all of the tracks and made stripped down straight up rock versions for live performance purposes as we’re a three piece. So… if you come see us live AND buy the record, you’ll get the best taste of who I am as an artist and the kind of tunes I write.
We spoke last time about MusicSaves, the not-for-profit you were setting up. Can you tell us a little about that and where the organization is at now?
Sure thing! I founded MusicSaves in 2010 in conjunction with the release of “Off Of the Pages”. I was successful in selling ALL of the discs I got manufactured for that release (yay!) and accordingly raising donation monies for my cause. Doing so has allowed me to volunteer my time repeatedly to Defeat Depression as their official Emcee, write columns on a variety of mental health topics as well as do guest speaking on my own personal struggles.
I look forward to releasing “Onto the Floor” and expanding my reach with MusicSaves and my mission as an artist: to inspire, to provoke thought and to relate.
You have done a lot in your career and in a wide-reaching capacity. What is your career highlight to date?
Oooh! Never a simple question to answer. In truth, I would like to think I have not yet peaked and that there is still plenty of excitement to come. I feel it’s important to continually challenge oneself in new and interesting ways and to keep growing and learning.
I’ve had the privilege of performing at a number of major music industry events as well as have been featured in a slew of media outlets. I am BEYOND grateful for these opportunities and appreciative toward everyone who has offered support with respect to my career endeavours along the way.
While I’m very proud of the accolades I achieved with my past bands, Anti-Hero and HER, I’m still trying to find my “home” as a solo artist. I’m excited about having a new amazing band together and sharing “Onto the Floor” with the world.
Can you tell us a little about MindYourMind.ca and your role as an official spokesperson?
I teamed up with MindYourMind.ca in 2005 (back in the Anti-Hero days) to conduct a series of guest video seminars with them about transitioning to high school and dealing with some of the difficulties that you may experience as a teen trying to find your own identity/place in the world.
It was a very fulfilling experience – to be able to share my own story and reach out to teens who may be struggling like I once did. It was through my association with MindYourMind.ca and the Thames Valley District Schoolboard that I was given the designation as a “Youth Rolemodel”: a badge that I continue to wear proudly.
One of my personal goals has always been to represent a different breed of rock musician: one that is NOT all about the glamorization of sex and drugs, but in fact is simply about the MUSIC!
You have been a songwriter for many years, can you tell us about your inspiration and your process?
Ah…I actually have an unreleased song that begins with the lyrics, “Inspiration…where have you gone?” which in its simplicity actually reflects a very profound truth in my life; that being that I have never had “control” over my songwriting. In other words, it kinda just happens.
I’ve never been able to simply sit down and pen a song. Instead, I have to wait until it “comes” to me – which often times happens when I’m sleeping!
I have found that my songwriting is typically inspired by my strong dark emotions – anger and sadness. Despite this however, I always try to find a means of resolution through my songwriting in order to leave both listeners (and myself) with a feeling of peace and hope.
Songwriting is a powerful tool – not simply for personal healing but also for relating to the experiences of others. There have been several songs that have touched my own life that you could swear I wrote myself but in fact came from the shared experiences of others.
I always try to keep that in mind when I’m coming up with lyrics (melodies always pop into my head first) because I want people to understand what I’m talking about rather than using abstract imagery that might get misconstrued.
Can you tell us a little about forming the live touring band The Truth Untold?
Well it’d be awesome to tell you that we met in some sort of Mexican standoff at a guitar shop, but the “truth” behind The Truth Untold is that quite simply the gents in my group responded to classified ads I had placed seeking musicians to help me promote my upcoming release.
It was a bit of a “weird” thing to put a band together AFTER having already recorded an album as usually it happens the other way around. However, the gents love my tunes, are very supportive and have been amazing to work with as far as creating live arrangements of my tracks.
I LOVE their energy and humour and am truly honoured and thankful to finally have found professionals to work with. I’d like to think that we’ve all made each other better musicians.
What music are you loving listening to at the moment?
I’ve been on a good Melanie Martinez and Veruca Salt (their new album “Ghost Notes” is phenom!) kick lately. Of course, any time an awesome track from the 90s comes on my playlist, I get giddy like a kid again. There are some songs that I could truly listen to on repeat 500 times over and never get sick of.
I also REALLY dig Within Temptation’s covers of Skyfall and Radioactive: female fronted badassery at its finest.
Good luck with the release and the live shows, and I’m sitting here wishing I could get to one…. are you playing any South Australian shows by any chance?