Rozes on Her Hit 'Roses' With The Chainsmokers: 'I've Always Wanted to Hear Myself on the Radio'

Charles Thorpe
Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rozes, 22, is the voice on The Chainsmokers hit — her first chart entry.

Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rozes, 22, is the voice on The Chainsmokers hit “Roses” (yes, that’s how it got its name) -- her very first chart entry. After 18 weeks on the Hot 100, and with no signs of it slowing down (the track is currently at No. 9), Billboard caught up with the singer, whose full name is Elizabeth Mencel, about what her trip from SoundCloud to SoundScan has been like.

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How did you get into the dance vocal scene?
I was contacted by this Australian DJ named Just A Gent. This was the first I had ever written to a track before. He sent me a track and I did what I thought I had to do writing-wise for it, and then it kind of worked out and that’s how The Chainsmokers found me. I really had no idea what EDM was at the time. It just fell into my lap.

Is “Roses” named after you?
We didn’t decide on a name when we were writing the track. If it were named after a lyric, it would be, “Say you’ll never let me go.” But The Chainsmokers had just released a track called “Let You Go,” so that wasn’t something we could do. When they emailed me the final mix, they named it “Roses.” It stuck -- there’s a good emoji, and it’s my name.

The dance music world has a reputation for being male-dominated. Does that bother you?
It’s not my favorite. [Dance music] is definitely not where I want to stay for my career, because that is not the type of music that I write on my own. “Roses” has helped me a lot, but I think putting my twist on things with The Chainsmokers is why the track is doing so well -- because it is different.

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You’ve got a line in there about watching old movies. Is that based on real-life experiences?
Yeah, the guy I’m dating now and who the song is really about, he’s a movie buff. And I knew that would be his ideal date, to chill and watch an old movie. So that’s what came to mind when I was writing it.

Does he know that the song is about him?
He does. He’ll throw it in here and there if we’re joking around -- without me, you wouldn’t have a hit!

How’s the response to the song live?
It’s really fun to do it live because I like to show people that I actually can perform and sing it -- it’s not just an Auto-Tuned mess. It’s really cool to be able to prove that I can sing the song. 

What has been the coolest thing about having a top 10 hit?
It’s a confidence booster. I’ve always wanted to hear myself on the radio. Music has been a huge thing in my life -- to ­finally have that, it’s proof that it’s real. I can really do this.

An edited version of this story originally appeared in the March 12 issue of Billboard.