TFword in Conversation With Gemma Rose

We had a chat with the prodigious Welsh talent who is making a mark on the scene, about her beginnings, success in 2022, and plans for the new year.

Thanks to its pulsating structure, the sonic appeal of drum & bass is like no other; but the addition of a soulful voice on top of the genre thrills, and the experience goes from exceptional to supernatural. This is an art form Welsh drum & bass vocalist Gemma Rose has been perfecting and capturing hearts with since her debut.

Gemma Rose’s ability to mesmerize with her voice is free from style boundaries. With a mix of lush and melancholic, Gemma offers an adventure in her music that has transcendental capabilities. A flair that has seen her collaborate with names like Sub:liminal & Nelver, pyxis, Alpha Rhythm, Invadhertz, External Subway, Henry, and Rezilient.

Moved by her talent when she was spotted by drum & bass queens at a show, Riya and Collette Warren, they swiftly signed her for a tune on their label, which made Gemma Rose the first artist other than the heads of the label to deliver a release on Carnelian Music.

Like this milestone, Gemma Rose has reached exceptional heights last year; and as she gears up for a busy 2023, we had a chat with her about her beginnings, her inspirations, her style of music, and lots more.

We were keen to know about the defining moment that led Gemma Rose to start diving deep into music. “I have always sung and played since I was little. I would sing at shows in my school and then my parents got me a piano and my dad taught me the basics of it. I then took piano lessons in school and eventually went to University to study Pop music. After graduation, I worked on cruise ships for a few years as a piano vocalist.”

After reminiscing about her adolescent days with music, Gemma then rolled back a few years when music started becoming an incredibly important part of her life.

“I was consistently writing music on the side, passionately, but it took its own course. I was also making a lot of videos on YouTube, and made some acoustic versions of drum & bass as well which gained attention. One of the covers I had done during this run was for ‘Touch’ by Hybrid Minds (which was possibly my gateway moment into drum & bass), and someone asked me if they could use the cover for the first dance at their wedding. I guess, from this moment on, my journey with music took an upward curve.

“The lockdown helped in many ways because I could use the isolation period to write music in peace. This led to Henry getting in touch with me. We wrote a tune together called ‘Here to Stay’ which was my debut track in 2021 on Delta9 Recordings.”

We mentioned earlier how Gemma Rose was the first artist to release a tune on Riya and Collette Warren’s label Carnelian Music this year and how the release was brought to fruition; and there is no denying that 2022 was the biggest year in Gemma Rose’s musical journey so far.

“2022 is the year where I feel I am Gemma Rose as opposed to just making covers and acoustic versions. My first Drum and Bass gig was where Riya and Collette Warren noticed my voice, I went on to make a tune with them straight away.”

2022 also saw the London-based artist release music with External Subway, Henry, who she made her debut with, pyxis, Alpha Rhythm, and finally Rezilient to finish a phenomenal breakthrough year.

“pyxis asked me if I had any unreleased music to feature on the ‘Floodlight: DNB Aid For Pakistan album, so External Subway and I collaborated again to create ‘Don’t Suffocate Me’ which was part of the 93+ track album to help raise money for the families in Pakistan. I’ve tried to network a lot this year and everyone who I have worked with has been really supportive and I feel like my music is moving forward with a stronger sense of direction now.”

Singer, songwriter, pianist, DJ, and music teacher; there are many roles Gemma Rose performs in a day and aces them to perfection. It’s not an easy job to execute such a wide range of tasks daily and then be equally motivated for the next morning to arrive and be as charged up as the previous day. We thought we’d get the secret to her superpowers; unfortunately, we didn’t, but she did give us a glimpse into what motivates her.

“It’s the passion for what I am doing, and to be honest, dedication. Just keep listening to new music to get ideas. I am a music teacher as well. So, once I am done with my day, I come to my little home studio which I have set up recently and then write SOMETHING, even if it’s not a particularly great idea that day, you have to push yourself.

“Surprisingly, some of the pushed ideas, if you would like to term them, have worked well rather than ones I have written in a fresh headspace. That’s it I guess; just pushing through every day, and most importantly, staying healthy. I sometimes struggle to give my 100% to my singing bit, because I am using my voice teaching every day for all the other roles and sometimes more than I would like to, so it’s important to rest it too. I finally managed to find the right balance and kept charging forward.”

One peep into Gemma Rose’s catalog and you can tell that her knack for playing with different styles keeps expanding with every release. It’s interesting because of how tough it is to implement ideas of such a wide range. So, where does the penchant for exploring these styles comes from?

Gemma explains, “I always find it difficult to pin down where I draw my influences from because I have had so many over the years and they have also changed so many times. When I was young and playing the piano, I looked up to Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Tori Amos a lot. When I moved to drum & bass, the vocalists I absolutely love are A Little Sound, Emily Makis, Leo Wood, Oktae who I draw inspiration from and finally Riya and Collette Warren. To get noticed by those two; that was it for me.”

After a bunch of serious questions, we asked Gemma who her dream collaboration would be, and the answers were instant. “There are so many producers I would love to work with, but I have a few favourite songs of Enei, Monrroe & Emba so working with them would be awesome.”

To close a lovely chat with Gemma Rose, we asked her what the new year looks like for her. “My first release of 2023 was ‘Blinded’ with Henry on DNBB Records, and I flew to Romania to sing a set with Sub:liminal to promote our latest song ‘Free Your Mind’ which is a collaboration with Nelver on Pilot Records. Going deeper into the year, I have a release lined up with Carnelian Music and I have my first full EP that is coming out very soon.”

With more music to come in the coming months, Gemma Rose is all set to have another fantastic year. So, keep an eye out for her as she digs a whole basket full of exciting new tunes waiting to be released!

Explore Gemma Rose’s full discography here:

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