Northern Virginia-based recording artist and songwriter Rozee came to the NBC’s new songwriting competition series “Songland” S1, EP9 in August this year with a song she wrote, “Fighting for us,” and she won.
After the song was chosen by Grammy nominated artist Leona Lewis, who was featured on “Songland,” it was co-written by Rozee, Leona Lewis, Ryan Tedder, Cali y Dandee and Juan Magán and transformed to become “Solo Quiero (Somebody to Love).” The single is ranked #1 today on the iTunes Latino Chart.
“Songland” serves as a destination for music's biggest stars and provides an authentic peek into the creative process of songwriting. A winner each episode is given the opportunity to have their song recorded and released worldwide by chart-topping artists.
Rozee was born in St. Croix and grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She recently moved to the Washington, D.C. region after living in Los Angeles for over six years. The daughter of a minister/vocalist and self-taught pianist/organist, Rozee (born Rosalyn Lockhart) learned the basics of pitch and harmonization at a very young age. While earning her college degree in Miami, Florida, she began developing her skills as a vocalist, writing and recording demos.
Rozee is gearing up to release a fresh, Latin fired remix of her latest single “Best For Me,” produced by Alessandro "Mister AC" Calemme and featuring reggaeton artist (and fellow St. Croix native) Kruziano.
Fairfax County Times reached out to her with the following questions:
Tell us about the charm of growing up on a small island and how this has influenced your musical talent.
ROZEE: Although I grew up on an island (84 Square Miles) in size, I was fortunate to have so many musical influences: gospel, reggae, calypso and even country music. Growing up on St. Croix, was very unique because we are a US territory with influences from every other island in the Caribbean. We are really a melting pot. I love my Crucian (Cru-shan) culture and everything it has taught me.
How did you learn the basics of pitch and harmonization at a very young age?
ROZEE: From around the age of 6, I always remember lying in bed while singing and harmonizing with my mom right before bedtime. She wasn't the best vocalist, but she was a self-taught musician with a great ear.
How and why did you decide to move to Fairfax from LA?
ROZEE: I decided to move to Fairfax to be closer to my family and also because I was exhausted by the grind of LA. I needed to find balance in order to work more diligently and efficiently on my music, and I'm happy to say that I've found that balance.
Why did the agent approach you to submit material to "Songland"?
ROZEE: Initially, I was approached to audition for “The Voice.” I had just finished performing at the Hotel Cafe in LA. The casting agent worked for “The Voice” and a few up and coming shows and "Songland" happened to be one of those shows.
Do you see yourself more of a songwriter or a singer?
ROZEE: I think I am equal parts artist and songwriter. For me, it's important that I write my own material so I'm able to connect to my audience authentically. However, Rozee the songwriter and Rozee the artist are two totally different beings.
Can we read the song "Fighting for Us" and the new version that was created from it, "Solo Quiero"?
ROZEE: Yes! Visit the Lyrics Page on my website to check out both sets of lyrics. www.rozeemusic.com
Looking back at your experience with "Songland," how do you reflect on the experience? How can it be better?
ROZEE: "Songland" was a great experience and platform for me. I'm so humbled to have been a part of the 1st Season. Everything was great, from the production to craft services. I made a personal vlog, so that I'm able to look back at the great songwriters and producers that I worked with. The only thing I would have loved is if I'd had more time with the producers. Maybe instead of 1 song, we may have been able to write 3 or 4.
Can you explain this statement: "Best for me," is "taking a positive outlook on honesty in relationships into a whole other dimension of sizzling romance"?
ROZEE: In the context of my most recent release "Best 4 Me", it refers to the early stages of new romance. I find that nowadays when two people are dating, sometimes they like to play hard to get or act "coy", even when they REALLY like the other person. "Best 4 Me" is basically telling the other person, "Hey, we've been doing this for a while, we fit well together, we both like the same things, we're good for each other, so quit playing around."
How did you become interested in Latin pop and why?
ROZEE: Something many people don't know about me is that Latin music has had a huge influence in my life. The Virgin Islands has a fairly large Latin population (about 20 percent). Many of my friends throughout high school were Puerto Rican and Dominican. I spent countless nights listening to Latin artists like Aventura, Monchy y Alexandra, Tego Calderon and Ivy Queen to name a few. I was also a Spanish major in college before I changed to graphic design. I have always wanted to tap into the Latin market and I'm so glad that "Songland" allowed me the opportunity to do so.
How did disappointment and patience breed your character?
ROZEE: There have been so many "No's" and so many times I have felt defeated. I had to learn patience by trial and error. I had to figure who and what worked for me as an artist and as a songwriter. Any career in the entertainment industry is an exercise in patience and faith. Deals are not made over night. Success takes time. My goal is to have a long and fruitful career. I love referencing the artist Sade, who has had a long and amazing career. She is still selling out shows 30 years later. That's what I want: to make timeless music and inspire future artists to be their most authentic selves.