London Musician Bella Rosa Takes a Global Approach to Her Music

Bella RosaEven at just 14-years-old, Bella Rosa isn’t your average teenager.

Fact is, while friends, family and school certainly play a big role in the young woman’s life — music is her world, and frankly, it’s in her blood.

As front-woman for London-based hard rock band, the eponymously named Bella Rosa, the musician has continued to bask in the glow of the group’s first single, Out of Breath, released December of last year, which has already garnered over 30,000 streams on Spotify alone.

Rounding out the line-up is lead guitarist and musical director Santiago Izaciga and drummer Andy Gomez, both from Bogotá, Colombia, alongside bassist David Goodman, who hails from Barbados.

Thanks to the critical success of Out of Breath, the band hit the studio once again to record their follow-up single Roller Coaster, and has recently gotten back to rehearsals, which had been put on hold due to COVID-19.

We sat down (distanced of course) with Bella to talk about her love of all things rock, as well as what inspires her, and what the band has in store.

Why don’t we start things off by letting our readers know a little bit about how you got started, and what drives your love of music?
Since I was very young, my dad was always in a band and they would practice in our basement. I would watch them play and I just loved what they did. When I was about 11 or 12, I told my dad I want to be musician — I wanted to do what he did, because I want to be able to change the world for the better through music. Because in my eyes, our world isn’t exactly the best at the moment. So, my whole goal and why I started was because I wanted to help it change.

I actually read your first instrument was a ukulele. What made you want to pick up such a different instrument?
Well that all started because of a musician named Grace VanderWaal. She won America’s Got Talent back in 2016, playing the ukulele and singing when she was just 12 years old, which was a few years older than me at the time, but I really loved her music. So, I told my dad I needed a ukulele and I was going to teach myself, and I did. I taught myself ukulele and I picked it up pretty easily. After that, I started writing but with guitar, drums, and bass. I still haven’t learned the bass, but I’m down with guitar and drums.

Grace VanderWaal is definitely known for her pop/country vibe and has often been compared to Taylor Swift. How did you make the transition from wanting to emulate someone in that genre to the harder sound you have now?
In the beginning, I really wanted to do pop music. But, after a while — and I know this sounds weird — I just didn’t like the idea of everything always being happy. I watched a lot of interviews of celebrities and singers and actresses and they would say that through their craft, they wanted to show people that life isn’t always positive; you also have to talk about the hard stuff — you have to be truthful. So, I feel like hearing that and getting to be an age where I was a teenager, I realized life isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. There’s a lot of hard stuff too, like growing up, and I wanted to write about that.

Your first single Out of Breath was a track you wrote with your father, Gerry Rozo. What’s it like writing with your dad?
We would sit in our little studio area, and he’d bring out his guitar and we would just talk about whatever I was going through or what I wanted to write about. Then we would come up with the right words, and I would let him know how I wanted the melody to sound, because I didn’t know how to play guitar that well at that point and I didn’t know how to put like chords together. Sometimes I would hum it, and he would add the chords and it would actually sound really good. It could get a little stressful at times because there’s still that father/daughter dynamic — but even then, we’d always make a really good song out of it.

What was it like to have such a huge response to your first single?
It was the first song we put out, so I never thought we would reach so many people, and I was fine with that. Then one day I woke up and was getting ready for school and since my dad would check the streams every morning, he noticed it increasing a lot. Once it reached 20,000, it was insane, and my heart skipped a beat. It was crazy, but good crazy. My biggest worry was that people weren’t going like it and I know that you can’t really worry about that when you’re in this business because not everyone is always going to be behind what you do. But the response literally just blew me away.

Tell us a little bit about the song itself, and where you got your inspiration for Out of Breath.
It actually came from an experience scuba diving. I had to do this test, and I had the worst anxiety because at one point I had to take off the breathing apparatus underwater and it was terrifying. I didn’t want to drown, and when I got out of the water, I was crying. After a minute I just stopped, looked at my dad and I said — the next song we write is going to be called Out of Breath.

How do fans react when they find out how young you are? Are they surprised?
Some people will see pictures and think I’m older than I am. Some have even thought I was in my 20s because I’m wearing a bunch of makeup, or because of the way I dress. A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them because of the kind of music we play. One of my biggest worries has been that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, or I wouldn’t get respect because of my age, but honestly, I see it as an advantage as well. I learned very quickly that being so young and having the kind of voice I have —I shock people, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

Has being part of this band changed you at all?
I had to mature really quickly because of this, and I love it. I love the person who I’ve become, and music has gotten me through a lot and has taught me so much. All the people that try to tear me down because of it I say go for it — hit me with your best shot. Honestly, I just have to deal with it and push through it. It all drives me to be better.

So, when can we expect your next single, Roller Coaster?
As soon as possible! It was recorded back in January, and we’re in the middle of mixing it because we want it to be perfect. COVID slowed everything down, but we’re exciting to get everything back on track. The idea for this one came from talking about that point in everyone’s life where you’re going insane and your emotions can move from being really high to being really low quickly. It’s like a roller coaster. Life and your mental health and everything else. No one’s always happy, you always have your ups and downs. It’s also a song I didn’t write with my dad, but with the band. That was always the goal, to have us all be a part of the music, so the guys wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. I really hope people like it because it’s an amazing track.

What else to you want our readers to know about Bella Rosa?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to be a successful musician, you have to work with really professional people. I’ve also learned through this whole journey so far that you need to work hard, you can’t just sit at home doing nothing all day and expect to be perfect and have all these people supporting you out of nowhere, because that doesn’t happen. You also need to surround yourself with the right people, and that’s the message I want to send out.

Bella Rosa - Out of Breath

Photo: Whitney South
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