“It’s really a scary thing to start all over again, from the bottom up and re-define everything that was your reality.”
I just got off the phone with Rose Cora Perry. She is coming off two hours sleep and a “performer’s high” from singing the Canadian National Anthem to a full house at Budweiser Gardens in London for “Monster Jam,” the Monster Truck event featuring someone or something called “The Grave Digger…”
This classically trained rocker, whose childhood dream of being Sarah Brightman, talked to me about the November release of her sophomore album, Onto The Floor; what inspires her writing; challenges within the industry and feminism. She is also slated to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe on March 5th, for Women’s Day, with her partner from The Truth Untold, Tyler Randall.
Last year, she hooked up with the folks at A Celebration of Women for World Peace Day, while promoting a pre-release of her album.
“I heard about this opportunity in Toronto and contacted the representatives to see if they would be interested in having my band perform. Not only did we perform, but I ended up guest speaking at the event. It was such a privilege. They asked me to come back for National Women’s Day, and as a proud feminist and female rocker, I am so looking forward to taking part. It will be a tremendous experience.”
Rose will be performing original songs from her first album, Off of The Pages, released in 2010, but primarily, she will be focusing on music from her new album, Onto The Floor. “When there is so much emphasis placed on cover bands and tribute bands, it’s really cool to have people want me for my original music.”
Her inspiration comes from life, “What I’ve gone through, what I’ve seen my friends go through, it’s things I read about in the news. It’s everything. You take it all in and if something hits you on an emotional level, you’re inspired to write. And it comes out organically.”
Her latest album explores personal experience of betrayal and loss. She has written and produced a trilogy of videos for the album. “I’m obsessed with classic Hollywood and Film Noir. I love the glamour and the romance of it. It’s so beautiful in a sexy but classy way. I love the aesthetic.”
The art direction of the three videos is moody, black and white and rather stylized. She explains, “As far as telling the story, often times with rock and roll, most of the videos are fairly standard, in that you have the band rocking out in a dilapidated building.”
“That’s cool and works, but given the direction of my album, and that I wanted to lend a narrative that would inspire specific songs – I wanted to tell a bit of my own story in a Hollywood fashion, so to speak.”
The first video, from the single, Away I Go, “was a heartbreaking, romantic tale of the music business – based on true events. Six Feet Under takes it to the next level and exaggerates the story. It represents an artistic re-birth. I had to pick up the pieces and find out who I wanted to be.”
The personal experience forced her to ask some hard questions, “Did I even want to face the music industry again, and if I was going to, I needed to do it on my own terms. I needed to reinvent myself.”
Empty, the third video installment represents her inner struggle. “The two sides of me, the good and bad, the light and dark, however you want to interpret those opposing forces.” It became “the past battling with the future in terms of my artistic direction. Who did I want to be? And being able to let go of everything that was holding me back.”
The experience allowed her to “embrace the light and move forward with peace and confidence.”
I asked her if angst was an essential ingredient in her creative process. She laughs, “I don’t think you need to have a full fledged slap in the face but I need to be able to reflect on experiences that have been not so nice, and how can I come away from that. How can I spin that into something that’s relatable and inspiring. It’s really a scary thing to start all over again, from the bottom up and re-define everything that was your reality. Do I have the confidence? Can I move forward?”
Ironically, the experience shored up her self esteem and she speaks with a sense of assuredness, “I would say I am a highly sensitive person. I think most artistic types are. And so when something devastating happens, it leaves scars…. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s definitely made me more conscious of people’s motivations and perhaps more skeptical and cynical. I don’t just take things at face value. I think trust should not just be given, but earned. At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself.”
She continues on the challenges of the industry, “As a woman working in a very cut throat business, you need to make sure you’re looking out for yourself above anything else. You have to remember why you got into this business and that you abide by your morals, regardless of what happens.”
She is an accomplished young woman, starting her own record label at 15 but fell into the rock genre entirely by accident. “I was singing Think Of Me from Phantom Of The Opera for a a high school talent show and was approached by a fellow student.” They formed a girl band, “We wanted to do it with a professional flair. [The record label] started out as something to bolster the release of my first band, but it really allowed me the opportunity to help other artists along the way. I believe in collaboration and support because we’re the underdogs in this industry. It’s really important as a woman.”
The word confidence is regularly seeded in our conversation, a cornerstone for her feminism. “One of the reasons I even had the confidence to try and ‘go for real,’ is because of the amazing women who’ve paved the way. Madonna, first off! She started in an era where female pop stars were a lot rarer than they are now. Alanis [Morissette] is a huge influence, especially as a Canadian gal growing up. It goes without saying that Jagged Little Pill is one of the best albums of the ’90’s and will remain so.”
These are not weak ladies, and Rose gives credit and praise freely. She also cites Nora Jones, who she recently saw perform. “It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in my entire life. There weren’t any bells and whistles or pyrotechnics. Just her on the stage with a band. It was so perfect and a privilege to witness that amount of talent.”
It’s so lovely to hear her praise these Strong Ladies of Sound. She feels that just as musicians should come together to collaborate and support, so should women. “It’s about sisterhood and celebrating femininity; the strengths and weaknesses – all of it. Being proud of yourself. Every woman should go out there and have confidence. Feeling good about being a woman and what that means and represents.”
You can see Rose Cora Perry representing, Sunday, March 5th, at Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, 279 Yonge Street. Set time to be announced. International Women’s Day event topic is Women Leading The Shift; tickets are $40.00 and includes lunch, seminars and vendors for this all ages Celebration of Women and can be purchased here.
BeMused Network is growing! Join fellow Canadian artists, producers and presenters who can enjoy ticketing, crowdfunding, and professional networking services at arts-friendly price points. Register for free today.