The life of a singer and songwriter is one that has always befuddled and intrigued me. I’ve admired their willingness to endure the h*ll of not being signed to a label and making basically no money while still loving what they do. In fact, someone I admire the most in the music scene is Rose Starring, a wonderful woman from my hometown that I got to witness grow into an amazing artist.
Her Campus (HC): How did you get started with music and who can you thank for pushing you to pursue this career?
Rose Starring (RS): I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and started my career as a performer at our church. When I was 10, I got a keyboard for Christmas and began to pick out songs by ear, prompting my parents to offer for me to start piano lessons. As I fell in love with the piano, I experimented with writing some of my first original songs as solo piano pieces.
I have to thank all the people who continuously supported me from the beginning, which didn’t feel like too many people at one point. My best friend Madi was one of the first people who I shared my original music with and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. My sister has always been a huge supporter of mine as well. Although my parents always wanted me to pursue something else with better financial security, my mother has always been my biggest promoter. I was also very encouraged by my grandma and grandpa’s support.
HC: Who are some of your biggest idols and do you see them influencing your writing often?
RS: For a long time, Lana Del Rey was my biggest idol. In middle and high school, I remember constantly listening to Lana and Marina and lip-syncing their music in front of my mirror. I was also very inspired by Lily Allen during this time and look up to her a lot as a songwriter. However, I am very inspired by a broad array of strong female figures in the music industry. Amy Winehouse has always been a huge inspiration to me and actually inspired my tattoo of Lana on my shoulder because I wanted a tattoo of a strong, beautiful woman on my shoulder just like her.
I would say that in the beginning, my songwriting closely resembled that of Lana or Marina because they were my biggest influences at the time. As my taste in music has expanded, I am a sum of even more influences, and I hope that my music reflects that diversity.
HC: How difficult is it to make a living in this industry?
RS: It’s very difficult, especially as an independent artist! I personally haven’t made it out of the red with my music yet. Streaming services only pay a fraction of a cent per stream, which means that even a moderately successful song will still not pay you very well. Then there are platforms such as SoundCloud who will only enable you to monetize your original music, which can be very frustrating in situations like mine where you have a song do fairly well and are unable to see any of that success from a financial standpoint. It’s all very frustrating and honestly something that this industry needs to change sooner rather than later if we want to keep appreciating real, raw art from those other than members of the upper class.
HC: How do you come up with the lyrics for your songs? Is everything based off of personal experience?
RS: Yes, thus far all of my music has been based on personal experience! Sometimes things will be stretched in order to make for the perfect lyrics or perfect song, but I’d say that 80 to 90 percent of my songwriting is from direct personal experience. I use songwriting as a coping mechanism a lot and really use it as a safe, productive outlet for my emotions. It’s also been an amazing tool for me in reclaiming my trauma by being able to turn it into art. So many forms of abuse and oppression thrive in silence, so I think that it is a wonderful and powerful thing to speak my truth. I think that my purpose in life, or at least in my music career, is to be the voice that so many people don’t have, including past versions of myself.
HC: What advice do you have for people who are interested in creating music?
RS: Listen to your heart and follow that dream that won’t leave you alone. Try not to take it to heart when people “don’t get it” or even flat-out dislike your music. Just remind yourself that they simply aren’t your target audience and keep moving forward. Honestly, just get used to doing it for no one but yourself, because that’s who you’ll be making it for in the beginning, anyway. Don’t let self-doubt or fear hold you back. Even the best of them started out exactly where you are. If you always wished you could learn a certain instrument, start today. It’s never too late. There is always more to learn and ways to grow. When you burn out, take a break! Music will be there when you get back.
A brand-new Rose Starring EP is being released in March or April and will feature some of her best songwriting yet. This EP was inspired by an emotional and traumatic breakup that Rose wasn’t able to process fully due to being a full-time student and working two jobs. In the meantime, you can find her at Rose Starring, which features all of her socials in the upper left-hand corner. You can also check out her favorite released songs that she’s written, “Master Manipulator” and “Ghost,” on her Spotify. Otherwise, you can find her on all corners of the internet or “slipping into your dreams.”