A few years ago, while promoting Sonic Highways, Dave Grohl told the Television Critics Association, “I don’t want my kid to think that the only way you can be a musician is to stand in line at a song contest audition, and then wind up having a bazillionaire tell you you’re not a good singer. Don’t get me started. To me, that’s not what music’s about.” In a facebook post, he further explained, “Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy and old fucking drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll fucking start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana.”
Singer Lexie Rose likely took note because that’s the route to stardom she’s been on so far. She booked her first club gigs at the age of 13 and recorded some of her first songs with Sheldon Gromberg, the GRAMMY-winning engineer, mixer and co-producer of Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite’s album, Get Up! “It’s a mind blowing experience to be in the studio and be part of the process as a song that started in a raw, simple form comes to life as a full blown production,” Rose said in an announcement for her new EP’s release.
Rose honed her live skills on such legendary LA stages as the Hotel CafÁ©, Genghis Cohen and The Troubadour. She also plays acoustic guitar in her brother’s alt rock band, Night Talks; their debut album, In Dreams, came out a year ago this week. Now, it’s time for Rose’s voice to sing out from coast to coast and around the world. On My Own was produced by Max Allyn at the Outpost Studio in Topanga Canyon; it features five original songs, including an early critical favorite, “20 Weeks”:
While “20 Weeks” hooks you with its story from the first line and groove from the first beat, the rest of the tracks jettison traditional modern pop trappings — they first feel the room, stretch out a bit, and then find their groove with heartfelt and passionate choruses. Not your typical Selena Gomez or Swifty jam, but emotionally gripping and captivating like her musical heroes Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, Thom Yorke, and Bon Iver.
POPDOSE: In the pop and rock and roll arenas, image is as much a part of the overall rock and roll package as music — especially in the era of Instagram which has an insatiable thirst for fashion and hot makeup trends. Is the “lipstick tomboy” image you’ve created exclusively for the stage and your socials, or is she also the girl seen in the hallways at school?
LEXIE ROSE: My image on stage is a reflection of who I am in everyday life. You’ll definitely see me in band tee and oversized jeans just as much as you’d see me in a cute dress with my makeup done up. I’m a tomboy at heart. I work on my own car, grew up with an older brother, and my band is all guys. People who see me on stage may think of me as more of a girly-girl which lead me to come up with ”lipstick tomboy.”
You’re not old enough to patronize nightclubs, yet you’ve landed some “big gets” in terms of gigs; including Hotel CafÁ© (where I saw pre-fame Katy Perry, Sara Bareilles, and Eric Hutchinson, among others) and the legendary Troubadour. How did you hustle your way onto these iconic stages?
I booked my first show at 13 years-old at a nightclub called Room 5 and the booker gave me the opportunity. I packed the place so I developed a good reputation with other venues. I haven’t had a problem booking a show due to my age but I’ve definitely had experiences where I’ve had to wait in the back alley before my set. When it comes down to it, maturity is a much bigger factor than age. I got really lucky finding a booker the first time around who believed in me.
Since you’re still in school, are your world tours limited to Southern California at this point — or does spring break and summer vacation hold unlimited possibility?
If the opportunity arose to leave California, I wouldn’t think twice about taking it. School is super important to me, but my music definitely comes first. I’ve personally never had an issue maintaining a career as both a student and musician. My dream is to tour outside of the US so I would never limit myself.
When you’re off the stage, what artists have inspired you from the concert floor?
Some of my favorite musicians that I’ve seen play live include Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, and Kendrick Lamar both as just a fan and musician.
Who would be your dream double date in terms of a co-headlining bill?
Phoebe Bridgers is my current obsession so I’d love to play a show with her. If you would’ve asked me 3 months ago, I would’ve said Fiona Apple.