Rose Gold: What Love Sounds Like From The Soul

Photo: Ural Garrett for Okayplayer

Photo: Ural Garrett for Okayplayer

"You cannot learn how to be a recording artist in a choir," Rose Gold said on a early morning call from Los Angeles. "All you need to know to be a recording artist is how to deliver and connect with the music. I would sneak into my high school recording studio and learn from the rappers. It's about the delivery."

Rose Gold is probably a voice you've heard before. For serious R&B aficionados, she's more than likely in your iTunes right now. She's penned for Teedra Moses, James Fauntleroy and Terrace Martin. But the West Baltimore City native is at her best when out front, singing and vibing to the words she's written. 

 

"Every part of this is me. Everything I do is me."

 

Admittedly the mother-of-one's musical upbringing was all over the place— from Spice Girls and Sting to Curtis Mayfield and Celine Dion. But her rich background founded in the church, developed her talent. Her musical theory knowledge can be partially attributed to her time with The Featherstones, who's musical home was filled with instruments and trained singers. 

But as she notes, the ability to sing on a record, well, that requires a different muscle. During high school she transferred from Baltimore School of the Arts to Frederick Douglass High School that, coincidentally, had a recording studio. There she would sneak down and record to old Pharrell Williams and Jim Jones beats. 

The journey was an uphill climb. Rose, who's real name is Rebecca Mohammad, lost her brother and best friend while in Baltimore. These tragedies and more inform her words. "I created a sound that's perfect for my story... I want to make people happy and proud."

 

"You have to make ugly faces to make the best sounds. That's why Rachelle Ferrell and Bobby McFerrin make those ugly faces."

 

Fast forward to the present, the talent is in Los Angeles making music with her good friend Terrace Martin who's she's gearing to go on tour with. "Terrace is the big brother you did not ask for, but you did ask for and forgot."

Adding, "For a while Terrace would not let me work with him. It was about timing. He invited me to sing at The Virgil, and it was amazing. Then he asked me to do the vocals on Think of You with Kumasi. I honestly didn't know Terrace was capable of doing what he did."

We asked Rose Gold a couple questions to get to know her a little more intimately.

If you had a soundtrack for the day, what would you play?

"In the morning a mix of Roy Ayers and Curtis Mayfield. In the afternoon Brenda Russell and the Spice Girls. In the evening Michael Jackson's Thriller and Janet Jackson's Janet."

When did you know you were black?

"This entire damn time. I just knew. I got a little attitude, not a bad one, just attitude. My family is Muslim, so I wasn't ever wearing my hair out. But when I did, it was a fresh press and curl. Super greasy. Then I had a natural style. Then I had a perm. These are all the ways I knew I was black, because people would come up to me and touch my hair. Don't nobody come up to no white person and touch their hair! And they ask 'How did it curl?' and 'How does it fro?' Or my next door neighbor who couldn't play with me because they were Jewish and we were black Muslims. That's how I knew... And I got a black momma who will never let me forget."

Are there unspoken rules put on black musicians?

"They've programmed black music, shows, and talk— but that's when in got tricky because I was listening to country and Mandy Moore and Korn [growing up]. I was rided hard for this. But it reminded me that I'm black and there's a certain standard. And people don't want you to be something else. But really, I was just a black girl that loves other things. I really think black people love all different things, it's just how they market it. I would sing Korn's Freak on a Leash to my friends and they would love it. But they wouldn't know it because it wasn't a band they would listen to. Being black has always been evident but these were reminders that are benchmarks of if they're OK or not OK in that space."

Listen to more of Rose Gold's music here and follow her here for upcoming projects. 


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