We sit down with the rocker, we chat, and it’s like we’ve known her forever.

It’s one of the hottest days of the summer and I am set to meet singer Anna Rose. We agree to meet at a Starbucks around the corner from where she lives. I first meet her PR girl, after we stumble into each other, thankfully, since she was expecting a girl with a pixie cut. We talk like girlfriends and she is lovely, and tells me about Anna Rose and why she is special and she says she sets herself a part from other musicians. She has worked with her for many years and says the growth within her music has been amazing to watch. The compliments keep flowing about the singer and I’m thinking to myself “I really hope all this is true,” because this will make for a better cup of coffee. Anna Rose walks through the door (she doesn’t strut like other musicians) so I already think, this girl is just a New York City down to earth chic. She apologizes profusely for being late (she’s a little over five minutes late) and there is no forgiveness needed. She is wide-eyed, and gives out hugs like we have been friends for years – she is engaging and welcoming. So I have to give it up to the PR rep immediately for preparing me for an easy and light-hearted 20 minutes. I know one thing from talking to Anna: she loves music. It trickles through her veins; she might as well be a walking album. I think among everything, she doesn’t make it a priority, it just is for her. She didn’t pick to be a musician, she just was one. — Emily Marucci

SHK: I WANT TO START OFF IN THE BEGINNING… SO TELL ME THE FIRST CD YOU EVER BOUGHT THAT REALLY INFLUENCED YOU?

ANNA ROSE: Oh man, you know, I probably stole my first CD from my dad was really what it was [I’m just gonna take this up to my room]. I honestly think it was Beatles Rubber Soul. But it started with Beatles and The Doors, and then went very quickly the Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. I was one of those little kids that was listening to music not from my time, but I also have a 90’s child in me. I loved Nirvana. I rocked my flannel pretty hard as a young child. I remember Kurt Cobain’s death very distinctly.

DO YOU REMEMBER HIS DEATH AND BEING SAD ABOUT IT?

It was around the time where a lot of different people in my life died so it was an aspect of it. This album actually is sort of a process of dealing with those things that I probably never dealt with when I was younger. It’s a heavier record in that way I suppose, but in my heart it feels light. It feels like coming through all of these thoughts.

I READ THAT A LOT OF THE ALBUM IS ABOUT DEATH, AND YOUR’E SAYING THAT THE ABLUM FEELS LIGHT TO YOU, WAS IT A HEALING PROCESS?

I think it’s learning to understand it, and to me, I don’t believe that death is the dying of something. It’s the beginning of something else, a different phase of your life, or someone moving on to another place of existence — in my mind. It’s also my process.  Listening to all these of folk musicians. These blue musicians and jazz musicians. Throughout the world, music is an incredible healing entity. It’s a universal language. I went and listened to all these songs that had a theme of death. Jim Morrison always played with the idea of death and moving on. I really love Sun House, he has a song called “Death Letter That I Love.”  Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy. It’s a topic that is explored a lot in music and I sort of wanted to come back to that. I pull so much from those artists and it felt to me that if I wanted to stake my claim in the industry I had to tackle these topics.

DO YOU SIT DOWN AND DELIBERATELY WRITE A SONG OR ARE YOU ON A TRAIN JOTTING THINGS DOWN AND SCRIBBLING ON HOTEL NOTEPADS? 

I am always jotting things down lyrically. I can feel a song forming lyrically and where I want it to go. Musically, I am a little more focused because it’s very easy to go that jam band route of like “this sounds really cool man lets vibe on this,” kinda thing. I’m more of a pop writer that way and more of songwriter in a traditional sense that I put some discipline to it because I think listeners deserve that. There’s a lot of stuff out there that isn’t going to last. I want people to listen to this record in 10 years and it still be relevant.  And I think that’s really what the record is about — legacy. The legacy you leave here when you go to whatever place you are going to go to.

SO I WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FATHER A LITTLE BIT… (DISNEY COMPOSER ALAN MENKEN).

Big Al! Special man!

SO, YOU SANG FOR SOME OF HIS MOVIES, WAS HE PRESENT IN THE STUDIO?

Yeah he’ll be recording the piano demos for the songs, and I’ll come in and do the vocal parts for the female characters and they will take those demos and produce them for the artist who comes in to do it.  It was always fun for me, it’s a way to be someone else, to get into character…

He’s a good guy.  He’s a good dad.  He and my mom. My mom was dancer. They always supported me unconditionally. They always believed in me in a very real way. They believed I could get there when I didn’t believe it myself.

WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP WAS IT JUST ABOUT THE ARTS OR WERE YOU FOCUSED ON OTHER THINGS AS WELL?

I knew I was going to be a musician from day one. There was no other choice in my head. I’m a musician. I am a writer. I would scribble lyrics at like five-years-old. But I always studied dance. I was trained in ballet and modern dance. I was a belly dancer for a while. I rode horses for a long time competitively. I played field hockey and lacrosse. I did musical theatre in high school and a little outside of high school. I knew being a musician though, was my reason for being here. All of those other things allowed music to be my freedom.

WHY DID YOU PICK PIANO AS YOUR FIRST INSTRUMENT?

I can’t even remember when I started playing it. I had lessons, my father didn’t teach me.  We are very different artists, we write in different ways. I don’t know if we could ever write together. We are both kind of bull-headed in that way. We know what we want. It makes us good at what we do — it makes people listen to us. I played piano for a few years, and then picked up guitar at five.

Years later, I started taking lessons with Arlen Roth, my mentor. He’s the one that taught me about Blues and telecaster Rock and Roll. He’s my guitar godfather. My godfather of Rock and Roll. It was piano, then guitar. Now I mess around with random instruments, a lot of weird little synthesizers. Typical hipster bullshit.

I HEARD THE ARCADE FIRE COVER; DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DO MORE COVERS?

For this album there are 11 songs but there are four covers we didn’t release. A few years ago I got to do a gig with The Stooges and I sang “Give Me Danger.” I fuckin’ love that song. We also have a Pretenders’ cover, and “Dirty Diana,” Michael Jackson. I want to save them for people who bought the record, I think holding those things that are special and keeping them for the real fans, that’s just for them, is a really great way to give them something that no one else gets.

I KNOW YOU LIVED IN L.A. FOR A FEW YEARS, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT L.A. COMPARED TO NYC?

New York is my home. I moved to Los Angeles when I was in my teens. I think I became who I am out there. I think I came back to New York really knowing who I am because I went to California. I initially went for college and then I dropped out and was just doing music, playing gigs up and down the strip. I went from playing solo on the strip, to a duo, and a trio, and then a full-blown band. I finally felt like I had done something when I got a few gigs. I was always really focused on the fact that I was going to do this. L.A. just made me do it, there was no other time, no better place, but it definitely kicked my ass a little bit. I went through a lot of ups and downs, I had my car stolen, I had my house broken into and they stole my first guitar. You know, I dropped out of college, saw a lot of people do a lot of bad, messed up things. Coming back to NY I felt like I knew where I fit, home felt completely different.

SO IS NEW YORK YOUR HOME?

Home is where my guitar is, where my suitcase is. I feel most at home on stage, that’s when I am most honest.

WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ALBUM?

I hope people think Rock and Roll is not dead. It’s alive and well in NYC and L.A., and in Nashville and all over the country. Rock and Roll is rooted in Blues, but I think everything goes in waves. I think it is coming back around and I’m happy to spearhead it. If I have to talk out my ass a little bit and pretend I am really, really good, might as well do it to get music heard.

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