We chat to the popular music alumni about how she found her voice, and the importance of redefining success.
In the five years since Rosie Lowe graduated from the BMus Popular Music programme, she's gone on to make a resounding impression on the music industry. With the likes of Sir Elton John and Adele reportedly fans of her music, Rosie's sultry sound and vulnerably honest lyrics have caught the attention of many.
Since releasing her debut album Control in February, Rosie has been busy touring the UK and Europe, but this week we'll see her return to the very place it all began.
On Friday 17 June, Rosie will be back on campus to join fellow alumni, Rob da Bank and Goldierocks on the "by night" line up for Bestival at Goldsmiths. We caught up with Rosie to find out what it was like to study at Goldsmiths, and her journey in music so far.
Why did you choose to study at Goldsmiths?
My sister had studied Drama at Goldsmiths five years earlier so I got to know the campus when visiting her and loved the vibe. I wasn’t planning to go to University and then on the last day of applications I decided to apply. I sent off my application in the last minute of the deadline!
I had heard lots of positive things about the Popular Music course and the idea of having three years to practice and develop myself as a musician was way too tempting!
What music were you listening to while on the Popular Music course?
A huge array. In those three years I fell in love with Patti Smith, Eric Lau, Chaka Khan, PJ Harvey, Burial and more.
Do you have a favourite song to perform live?
It changes every week but I still love performing ‘Me & Your Ghost’- it’s not to track and its completely open to change and improvisation depending on how we’re feeling that day. Sometimes it’s three minutes and sometimes it’s seven. It excites me.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? Or anything you like to do to get ready to go on stage?
I blow bubbles in to water down a piping tube (!!!) to relax my vocals and regulate my breathing. I get odd looks but it really works for me. I find it hard to focus when loads of people are around before a gig so I like some space to breath and warm up- I still get very nervous before shows.
How would you describe the process of finding your 'sound' as an artist?
I wasn’t sure what my sound was and I felt like everyone around me had one- I thought maybe being an artist just wasn’t for me and I should do something else in music. In my third year at Goldsmiths I was taking the ‘Composition’ course and we had to set ourselves a limitation to write three songs.
I decided I would limit myself to just my voice and to use no other instruments to write (and record) the songs. I learnt how to use logic and I would layer up my vocals and write like that. It felt like the most natural thing I’d ever done and I was writing music very quickly; for the first time in my life I didn’t feel self aware about what I had created… it just felt right.
What's changed the most since you started in the music industry?
I've had to become a business woman. I’ve learnt so much about the industry and about myself and the way to manage a team. I’ve also grown in confidence as a musician and learnt that self-belief is pretty key. If you don’t believe in yourself- no one else is going to.
What advice would you give to music students now?
I think it’s so key these days to re-define what ‘success’ is for yourself and keep that close to your heart. So much of this industry is based on numbers…. on how many listens or hits or plays you’ve had.
As hard as it is not to get wrapped up in that stuff- it really doesn’t mean anything. My advice is to ignore what everyone else is doing and do your own thing. As long as you are proud of your music and you can stand by it then nothing else really matters...
See the full Bestival at Goldsmiths line up