People

You Heard It Here First: Rosie Lowe on music, meditation and the importance of a warm greeting

Every week Stylist will be shining a light on a female artist you need to be listening to. This week we meet Devon-born singer Rosie Lowe, whose music-filled childhood shaped her eclectic, soulful sound.

“Has nobody seen a nipple before?”

Rosie Lowe is lamenting the state of the comments section under a YouTube video of her performing her latest single. “Most of the comments are about my shoes or my nipples,” she sighs. 

Birdsong is stirringly beautiful, and the way Lowe effortlessly peppers the track with loops and effects while she sings proves her chops as a truly multi-talented musician. But of course, being a woman, it’s her appearance that’s the point of conversation. 

“At least they’re not complaining about my music,” she laughs, “I must be doing something right.” And that would be an understatement. Since performing her first paid gig at the age of 11, the Devon-born Londoner has been pouring a deep love and extensive knowledge of music into her own unique sound, a minimalist blend of electronic soul and R&B that stays with you.

As she prepares to tour her second album, the enchanting YU, Lowe sits down with Stylist to reflect on her most formative firsts.

The first single I ever bought…
Was the Spice Girls. I was into music from a very young age and I used to save up to buy CDs. When I was about six, my dad (what a hero) drove me and my friend from Devon to Birmingham to watch the Spice Girls. He was a committed dad, he took us to loads of gigs.

The first gig I went to…
Was Annie Lennox. I remember being curled up on the seats when I was about four. I saw a lot of jazz as a child, and my family went to WOMAD festival every year. My dad plays the saxophone, clarinet, flute and piano, so music was very much a thing. I remember being like ‘Why do I have to go to all these gigs?’ but in hindsight it was the best education ever. I’m so thankful. It’s definitely something I’ll be doing for my kids when I’m a mum.

You may also like

You Heard It Here First: Mahalia talks dinner plans, Lizzo and her new album

The first time I knew music was my future…
Is quite hard to pinpoint. When I was little and people asked what I wanted to be, I’d always say a musician. At school that’s all I wanted to be doing; I took my GCSE and A level music early. It just came naturally for me and it was always the easiest way to express myself.

I always wanted to do music just to do music. I’m not really interested in the stuff that comes with it. It’s obviously nice if you can make some money or play sold-out gigs, and it’s lovely to have people respond, but I’m not really doing it for that. It’s just an output. I have to be doing it. 

Rosie Lowe's second album, YU
Rosie Lowe's second album, YU, is enchantingly beautiful

The first time I realised I was good at my job…
Well I still haven’t realised that [laughs]. I wouldn’t say there was a point when I realised I was good, but there was a point I realised that what I was doing was important, that I could help other people in the way that music helped me.

When I released one of my first songs, a single called Right Thing, I got a lot of messages about it. One guy sent me a long email about what he’d been through, coming out and being rejected by his family, and how the song had helped him. It was deep. At that point I was like, OK, this is important. Even when it feels hard, it’s beyond me now. If my music helps one person or two people, that’s what it’s about. 

The first time I performed…
I was 11. I jumped in for somebody who was ill at a jazz gig and I remember being paid at the end of it and thinking, ‘OK that’s cool, that’s more than I get for my pocket money’. I knew a bit about jazz music – I was very into Peggy Lee and Ella [Fitzgerald] and Billie [Holiday], so I had some understanding of the repertoire. At that age, I didn’t really give a shit what anyone thought and just did what I did. I’m always trying to get back to that point now. 

The first thing I do in the morning…
Is down a lot of water, and then try to do some meditation. It’s really hard and some days I feel like I’ve failed before I’ve even started, but I’ve learnt it’s just about turning up. Even if your mind’s going wild. And I think that’s quite a nice way to start your day – as long as you’ve turned up, that’s where the success is. 

The first thing I do when I get home…
Is greet my boyfriend and give him a hug. If I’ve been out of the house for a few hours I miss him, we spend quite a lot of time together. I think it’s really important to greet people with enthusiasm at all times. I don’t respond well to people who are just like, ‘Hi’. I need a hug and I need to feel your excitement to see me!

The first thing I heard this morning…
Was my alarm. And then my boyfriend going, “Deptford market?”

You may also like

Exclusive: Lizzo gets real about anxiety, music therapy and self-care

The first thing I’ll spend money on…
Is high-end vintage clothes. I’ve made a pact this year not to buy anything new, so I follow a lot of amazing vintage buyers and I’m always on the hunt. If I get money, the first thing I think about is buying stage outfits – even though I usually I just end up wearing converse and jeans. I buy stuff that I could give to my daughter one day. And I’ve got a real soft spot for vintage sunglasses – I’ve got a big collection. So sunglasses or an old Celine dress if I can get my hands on it. 

The first person who inspired me…
Was Erykah Badu. She’s playful, incredibly free with her music and very direct. Her lyrics make me laugh, they’re very witty and symbolic and I love that. She’s never disappointed me and I’m always in awe of her. I’m also in awe of her motherhood – I think she’s a wonderful mum. 

Want must-binge culture tips and chic interiors hacks? Sign up for the Stylist Loves Staying In email

The first female artist you should go and listen to after reading this…
Is Tirzah. Her music is proper lo-fi and she’s just got a wonderful, unique voice. Her last album – well all of her stuff, actually – is a collaboration between her and Mica Levi, an incredible producer-musician. Devotion is the most exciting thing I’ve heard in ages, there’s just an authenticity about it that’s undeniable. 

Rosie Lowe’s second album, YU, is out now. Her UK tour begins on 17 October, buy tickets at rosielowe.com.

Images: Toast, Getty

Topics

Share this article

Recommended by Meena Alexander

People

You Heard It Here First: Mahalia exclusive

The singer discusses what’s for dinner and the life-changing magic of Lizzo.

Posted by
Gabriel Mathews
Published
People

Exclusive: Lizzo gets real about anxiety, music therapy and self-care

Lizzo didn’t always love herself. Here, the musician reveals how she took stock of her mental health and practiced “lowering my anxiety”.

Posted by
Stylist Team
Published
Life

Billie Eilish’s striking new video champions Greta Thunberg’s climate crisis battle

It's an incredible video with a strong message.

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published