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Everybody's Free singer Rozalla on her new music, reality TV and evolution in the music industry

by Alley Richardson. Published Tue 24 Sep 2019 10:34

For those of us that danced our way through the 90’s, one name that springs to mind is Rozalla, who could forget that deep four note intro before hearing those powerful first few words ‘Everybody’s Free...To Feel Good’? If you weren’t dancing before them, you’d be on your feet before the track ended.

This week, we got a chance to catch up with Rozalla who gave us the lowdown on her new music, new album, social media, reality TV, and the endurance of some of the biggest female artists.

PR: So new music? It sounds fantastic. Turn On The Music, it sounds like it fits within multiple eras of music, and I see that you also worked with Mr Root (DJ, Producer) for this?

R: Yes, that’s right. My vocal stems were sent around different producers and mixers and one of them happened to fall into the lap of Mr Root. We were sent back practically 100 different mixes and we chose what we thought were six or seven of the best, we loved the Mr Root mix and we wanted that to be the main commercial release. It sounds so 80’s, so Nile Rodgers, very chic and also very now.

PR: Reading quite recently about Mr Root and how he is very old school, new school. Does that theme fit into the dance tracks that you do?

R: We didn’t know what was going to come back, there was Trance, there was a mix of Turn On The Light that was funky, real hardcore funk, which I actually love, but with the Mr Root mix, as far as Gary (Energise Records) and I were concerned that this is the one. We loved what he did with it, we sent him other vocal stems from the album I’m doing because we loved what he did to that. We are now waiting eagerly to see what sounds come back.

PR: Well you’ve smashed it! The video looks a lot of fun too and you’re looking great. Where was that filmed?

R: I did that in Derby. Myself and a photographer friend of mine did a photo shoot with him initially and he said he did videos too, so Gary said let’s try him. He loved the track.

When you work with people and they want to promote you or work with you, it's often because they appreciate the music. I knew he would get a good video done because he was so passionate about the song.

PR: What can you tell us about the forthcoming album?

R: Gary and I sat down and though, what sort of album do we want to release?, we don’t just want an album that’s all hands in the air mixes from track one to track 12. We thought we wanted to have different dimensions, some mid tempo tracks, some ballads as well as hands up in the air tracks.

We are now about three or four songs away from finishing the album.

PR: When do you see the album coming out?

R: Definitely in the new year because Turn On The Light seems to be growing legs, we thought it was pointless releasing a new track because this track is doing so well, we'd love to keep that going.

We’ve got two more singles to follow up after that. The plan is to release the new single early in the new year and then the album somewhere down the line.

PR: Maybe just in time for summer?

R: Exactly, that’s what we are looking at. It’s taking a while because I travel a lot. I’ve got my club dates and festivals that I’m doing around the country so sometimes I’m not in the studio for about two or three weeks. Then we get into the studio and record two or three tracks in a week. It’s working, it’s all going fine.

PR: Which festivals are you playing?

R: Everywhere, this past week I was in Spain, I’ve not been to the city before, it was called Huesca. Spain in the last two years has been so welcoming to me, it’s been one of those countries that invite me back over and over again.

I’ve also got France coming up, Germany and Sweden.

PR: You have been a very pivotal figure on the dance charts since the first release (1991) are people still loving coming back to see you, is the response still as big?

R: It’s been amazing, it shocks me. There was a period though that I went through when I was lucky if I got one club date in a month.

I look back and it was during the time of the girl bands and the boy bands, when the Spice Girls were happening. I wondered if something trying to tell me something, and even if my career over.

I never gave up and it was around that time I met my husband. When I look back now, I can see everything falling into place. There is a purpose and a plan as to why things happen the way they do and I look now and see that it was time for me to get to know my husband. So I think that’s why things happened the way that they did.

Now the last three or four years my career have been going at a steady stream and I’m so grateful for that.

PR: You’ve been described as a 90’s revival, how do you feel about that?

R: I don’t know, honestly because I never went anywhere. We people say she’s making a comeback I say No! I’m not, I never went anywhere!

I think people think that if you stop having the hit singles, you’ve given up, but behind all of that, you’re still doing live shows and performing and that’s how I earn my living.

I just stopped having hit singles, now I’m back in the studio recording new material.

Over the years, I've released one or two singles, they've kept the profile raised and continued my recording career. Now I’m going full on in releasing an album.

PR: Do you think that is party to do with the throw-away music, if you’re not in the top ten then it’s not relevant?

R: Absolutely, that’s the way it seems to me. People ask me if I’ve given up or taken another career and I answer that I’ve been doing my live shows and club PA’s that’s how I make my living, it allows me to keep a roof over my head and food on my table, it’s what I do.

PR: How do you feel about Radio One’s policy about not featuring artists over a certain age?

R: I think it’s sad. People of all different age groups have something to offer. If you look at real life in the real world, there are all different age groups living across this planet.

When you put things in a bubble you’re only going for one type of audience.

PR: On a similar note. What do you feel about reality tv shows such as The Voice and X Factor, how do you feel about stars coming up that way?

R: It’s a good platform for those artists that want to become stars, that feel it’s the only way to be heard and opening doors for their career.

For people sitting at home it’s so exciting to watch, who’s going to win, who’s going to go through and when that’s over, 9/10, you never hear of the artists again.

A few have broken through like Leona Lewis, you can count on one hand how many have come through, other than that you don’t hear of them.

So I think to myself it’s just a tv show for people at home to watch. When that contest is over nobody is watching and it’s on to the next thing. What happens to that artists dream of making it?

PR: It seems really unhealthy.

R: Yes, but when you're young and you want to make it, when you want to break into the music industry, which a tough industry to begin with. If that is going to help that person and give them that voice and that platform then by all means go for it, give it a try. You never know!

PR: Do you think there is confusion in the younger ones between what is being a musician and being a star?

R: Yes, because the way I went about it, I just did whatever I could to the best of my ability to make it. I look back and I appreciate what I have. I think a lot of these youngsters just want to be stars without going through the apprenticeship stage, they want to make it big ASAP you don’t have any appreciation when you get to that level.

It’s tough but when you work through the apprentice level and you make it, you look back and appreciate what you have because you’ve worked hard to attain that, I think that goes for any kind of career that one might pursue.

PR: One thing that has stood out are your powerful vocals, they're strong, similar to that of someone like Sylvia Mason-James

R: Oh wow! Thank you so much

PR: In today’s over auto-tuned world, having a real strong and powerful voice is a rare commodity don’t you think?

R: That depends. There are a few artists out there that I appreciate and there are a few out there that I won’t name that are so beautiful looking but they can’t sing to save their lives and I think how did this happen?

It’s a lot about time, luck and place. The world is so full of injustices. There are some artists that can’t sing, yet they’re so famous and have done so well. I look at them and think to myself: what have they got going for them? They’ve got determination, they’ve got stage presence and the guts to go for it and I admire that part of them.

Then you have artists that can sing and you're like: Oh my gosh, and they are nowhere to be heard.

PR: There's a rise in females in music at the moment, making waves in the industry, which is wonderful as it’s been quite a male dominated world for a while, which artists fo you feel are ticking the right boxes?

R: For me at the top of my head, Rita Ora, she has a great voice. I look at her and I think, she’s star quality, her stage presence is fantastic, she has a deep beautiful tone to her voice, she’s got the package. She is a genuine talent.

Then of course there is Adele, I mean she’s got everything, I look at her, she's not a model lookalike, but she’s a voluptuous beautiful woman. I just think she is a dream come true.

PR If you could give an up and coming artist some advice, from your own experience, what would that be?

R: I would tell them, don’t expect things to happen overnight, don’t get frustrated by it and never give up because there are so many naysayers out there, as the saying goes Misery Love Company.

Not many people want to see others succeed and sadly I’ve experienced that, it’s a fact of life.

Never give up, always listen to constructive criticism, listen to people who will tell you the truth and mean well by you.

If you believe you’ve got a talent in your chosen field, just follow your heart and follow your dreams.

PR: Musically, who has been the most inspirational throughout your career?

R: It'd be difficult to say just one person, I have been inspired by so many artists.

In my older years, I look back at artists like Tina Turner, Cher and Madonna. These women are in their 60’s and 70’s they are still going out there and doing their thing. I think to myself, I’m 55, maybe I’m getting too old for this game, then I look at these other artists and they are still going out there and that definitely inspires me.

I feel I still have so much to offer, I love what I do. I love going out there and performing and the fact that I get offered festivals and dates to perform speaks volumes to me, it shows me that I’m still wanted out there and that keeps me motivated.

As long as that keeps happening, I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do my best to take care of my voice and myself.

PR: Your first UK single came out in 1991 so you’ve been in the business for a long time what changes have stood out for you in the business?

R: For me, one f the biggest changes, has been the internet. It’s made things easier for up and coming artists to release stuff, if can’t get a record deal, they can now do it in the back room and release it on YouTube.

There have been YouTube artists that have made it that way, social media has really helped too. There have been some good talent through that.

PR: Do you have plans to work with other artists for this album?

R: I would love to. I can’t mention any names right now but I don’t know, there’s so many amazing artists and producers that are happening right now.

I did a duet with a talented Scottish artist Alan Jayabou two or three years ago called Breaking My Heart, I’d never done a duet before in my life with anyone.

When I listen to that record today, I think it's fantastic, so I’ll probably have that in my album, he’s got it on his, I think I’ll have that on mine. I’m always open to working with other artists and producers.

PR: Finally, is there any other news you'd like to share?

R: The exciting news is that the new album is coming out in the new year. I’m so excited about it and have two or three follow up singles.

I have already been booked for about 14 dates of the Let’s Rock Tour, of which I can only do seven because I’ve been booked for a further 28 dates in Europe and I look at my diary and think Oh my gosh, I’ve already been booked in 2020 up as far as September.

It’s incredible, I did a gig on the 7th of September for the Reminisce festival, it's my 3rd or 4th year there. When I first started doing it, it was already so massive and it’s grown a lot, this year they had 20,000 people.

It’s mind blowing. I go on that stage and sing Everybody's Free, they’re all singing and I’m trying not to cry, I sometimes have to hold myself together because it’s so emotional.

I love it, when I went through that period of not getting many dates, I was getting bored of Everybody’s Free and with the dates coming back, it’s true what they say "You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone", I now embrace that song and never take anything for granted. The reaction to that performance is what keeps me going!

With that, we would like to thank Rozalla for her time, and we wish her every success with her forthcoming album.

Turn On The Light was released earlier this year and has gained so much popularity, that it recently had a re-release and is available to download on all platforms.

More at: http://www.rozallaofficial.com/biography/


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"sure classic club anthem and by a great lady who I have meet a few times and seen live a lot and always great to see" paul fearn, middlands around 12 months ago