Hear Rozes' New EP 'Burn Wild' and Find Out the Stories Behind Her Songs: Exclusive
The featured singer on The Chainsmokers' smash "Roses" shares her new music and favorite love songs.
Philadelphia-based alt/pop artist Rozes keeps blooming.
The singer-songwriter, 23 (full name: Elizabeth "Rozes" Mencel), crowns Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart (dated Feb. 20), as DJ duo The Chainsmokers' "Roses," on which she's the featured vocalist, stays planted at No. 1 for a seventh week. She co-wrote the song, which also remains embedded in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 (at No. 9, a week after reaching No. 6), with Andrew Taggart, one-half of The Chainsmokers, along with Alex Pall.
How did "Roses" originate? "This is my favorite story, because it came about so organically," Rozes tells Billboard. "I was actually on my college campus [Temple University] grocery shopping, when I received a notification that The Chainsmokers started following me on Twitter. I immediately thought it was some sort of fan page and not actually them, but it was really them!
"They, then direct-messaged me and said 'Hey, what's up,' and went on to say they love what I did [singing] on [buzzy SoundCloud track] 'Limelight' by Just a Gent and would love to work with me. We ended up getting together at Drew's [Taggart's] apartment and just jamming and writing 'Roses.' "
Upon finding out that "Roses" had hit No. 1 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, Rozes says that she "really felt numb! I grew up checking the Billboard charts every week and dreaming of the day I'd see my name. I first found out because my brother [and manager] Paul sent me a picture of [the song at No. 1] in that week's Billboard magazine. I freaked out! It's such an honor to be on the chart, let alone No. 1. What I feel is truly indescribable, but such a blessing."
As for her recording name, how did Rozes stem from Elizabeth? "My grandmom's name is Rose Marie, and she's the most important to me, so I wanted to integrate her name into mine. Paul actually suggested it be Rozes and it just stuck! And, it's just so me."
Also regarding her name: Rozes can't explain why her breakthrough hit is called "Roses" (with many listeners likely referring to it by its catchy chorus: "Say you'll never let me go"). "I actually didn't even name the track, so I'm not sure the reason," she says. (The Chainsmokers have a penchant for doubling up on song titles and artists, though: their Bouquet EP, featuring "Roses," also includes the track "Waterbed" … featuring Waterbed.)
On Sunday on Valentine's Day, Rozes self-releases her debut EP, Burn Wild, which is streaming below exclusively on Bilboard.com before it's available for purchase. How apropos that she would release it on the holiday dedicated to celebrating love, as her songs are conjured from her trials and tribulations of the heart.
Listen to Burn Wild below.
Here, also exclusively, is Rozes' peek inside her creative process and the stories behind each song on the EP.
"Everything": "This song is about this guy I dated for about three weeks, whom I met through a mutual friend. Everyone warned me about him, but, of course, I had to witness his evil on my own. We ended up breaking up because one day he just decided he wasn't going to talk to me ever again. I was pissed, obviously, and personally hurt, so I ended up writing this song so specifically about him, and the cigarettes he smokes. I just really wanted him to know that I could've given him everything, not because I loved him ... I'm not even sure that I liked the kid … but because I'm a person with so much to give."
"Desirable": "The song is about yet another guy I had feelings for. We were around each other a lot because our families are friends, and, so, I guess we just formed a connection. I'm not sure if we started seeing each other because we really liked each other, or because of the fuss of how perfect it would be to date one of my cousin's best friends. I believe it was the latter. I ended up writing this song because I was a deeply insecure person. I wasn't sure that I was 'desirable,' to him, or to anyone. I wanted to be the girl that not only he wanted, but that everyone wanted. I think it was because I hadn't yet found the guy that made me feel like I was the world."
"R U Mine": "It's actually about my current boyfriend. I hate saying 'boyfriend' because he means so much more than that word. When we first started dating, it was a long-distance relationship most of the time. I remember he had made a previous commitment to be away for New Year's, and, though I wasn't angry, I was a little upset and, for some reason, personally stung by it. I ended up letting my anxiety take the best of me and started wondering if he was even really 'mine.' I just wanted to know that he wanted to be with me, and I wanted to know what he saw in me ... again, letting my insecurities show."
"Burn Wild": "This is about that long-distance relationship. The constant goodbye told to the person you love, and how it just burns holes in your heart. In the second verse I say, 'Your brown eyes, they look right through my heart / One look at you and I know just what I want.' That's me saying that he can see through the holes he's burning in my heart ... and when I look at him, I just want him to fill them, instead of creating more with each goodbye. It's the struggle of loving someone who isn't close enough to hold, yet you love them anyways, and you love them just as much."
"In & Out": "It's actually not even about just me. I have a friend who was in a struggling relationship and it was a constant battle between loving who she was with and loving the person he used to be. They had been dating for a really long time. 'You'd hold me, and love me, never tiring of me,' really describes that. It's just about her heart constantly being broken and mended by this same person."
"Fragile": "The song is about lovers in general. I went through a horrible depression where I'd find myself accepting love from anyone. I started to learn that my friends were also going through the same things, where they'd think they found someone who was a good person, but it all ended up being lies. I really believed that all promises were full of s---, and that nothing truly lasted forever, yet I still dreamed of my knight in shining armor, which, for some reason, made me feel so fragile."
"Forever": "It's different from the rest because it's me finding my forever in someone else. It's me realizing that not all promises are full of s---. I've always been told, 'Your broken heart will make sense one day,' meaning that in the end you'll be with the person you belong with and you'll understand why no one else worked out. Well, that's this song. 'Forever' is my understanding why no one else ever stuck around. It's where the past, present and future all make sense."
In addition to streaming Burn Wild, don't forget to stop and smell these dozen of Rozes' favorite love songs for Valentine's Day:
Rozes' Dozen Roses of Love:
1, "Little Lovin'," Lissie
2, "Follow You," Cheat Codes
3, "Not on Drugs," Tove Lo
4, "How Long Will I Love You," Ellie Goulding
5, "Roses," The Chainsmokers featuring Rozes
6, "Halo," Beyonce
7, "R U Mine," Rozes
8, "Make You Feel My Love," Adele
9, "They Can't Take That Away From Me," Ella Fitzgerald
10, "Young & Beautiful," Lana Del Rey
11, "Coming Home," Leon Bridges
12, "Love Song," The Cure