From collaborating with big names of the Italian international music scene like Salmo, to participating in the Italian Song Festival, Sanremo; from having her single become Platinum in Italy and reach #8 in the charts, to following and opening for Coldplay on the Italian leg of their world tour. Rose Villain is one of the brightest stars in the contemporary Italian music universe and today she defined herself for us by talking about her oxymoronic, genre-free, and explorative record Radio Sakura and more.
Ciao Rose! What a pleasure to talk to you, how are you feeling today?
Thank you for asking! I’m feeling very much alive today. And I never take it for granted so I really enjoy the highs.
You recently participated in the Italian Song Festival, Sanremo. Congratulations! This competition is greatly loved and followed in Italy where it assumed almost a symbolic status. What was it like to be on the Ariston stage? What is your best memory of it?
If you are a singer and were born in Italy, participating at Sanremo is one of the greatest achievements. I was oddly calm and really got to enjoy the performance part which is usually unnerving considering the whole country is watching. During the first night, halfway through the song, I thought about the fact that my dad and brother were sitting in that theatre and I got emotional. Having an artist daughter or sister is not easy, they witnessed so many disappointments. And Sanremo surely stitched up some past wounds.
It is there that you performed your hit song Click Boom!, which is part of your second album, Radio Sakura, that came out on March 8 (and is now certified Gold in Italy). Can you tell us what this song means and represent to you?
Click Boom! Is very representative of who I am as an artist and person because I’m built on contrasts. I have this darker nostalgic side and a more brighter confident one. I am Rose and I am Villain. I am a pop singer but also very influenced by hip hop and sure as hell can rap. I’m obsessed with love but also very frightened by it. Click Boom! is my DNA explained.
You mentioned how these lyrics, about the darkest side of love, represent an internal dilemma of yours: a nostalgic self on one hand, and a more forceful, bold self on the other. Is this duality a theme throughout the whole album? What other song would you like our international audience to listen to in order to get to know who Rose Villain is?
Most definitely. As I said earlier I’m made of contrasts. I think both Radio Sakura and Radio Gotham have plenty of songs that show my artistry. The cool thing is all songs are so different, sonically I explore so much. I travel from rap to punk to pop to grunge to latin. So there is one track for everyone. My faves right now are Huh? from Radio Sakura and Cartoni Animati from Radio Gotham.
Over the last month, Click Boom! became Platinum in Italy and reached #8 in the charts. This incredible success and the release of your new album led to another career achievement: you’ll be following and opening for Coldplay on the Italian leg of their world tour! How are you getting ready for this summer adventure and for touring?
I love performing so much so getting my voice in shape and taking care of my body and mind first. Touring is a whirlwind so I need to stay grounded and focused. But I can't contain my excitement for the Coldplay stadium tour.
Great collaborations of yours are those, among others, with Salmo and Guè Pequeno. What was it like to work alongside these Italian rap icons?
I love to collaborate with artists I respect. I love when different visions merge into one work of art. I only focus on the song. That’s the only approach I have when I write with big artists so that I never get intimidated by their amazing careers and talent.
Apart from such experiences, where do you draw inspiration from to pursue your artistic endeavour?
I think that artists have this drive, this instinct, at least that's how I explain this urge to write songs, that lives somewhere in between the stomach and the lungs. It’s there and stays quiet but you can still feel it. As soon as I see a spark of whatever kind, from a painting I see, a smile from a person on the street, a sudden rainfall, a movie, it just pours out. I never seek inspiration. It just hits me!
Not only are you a talented singer and performer, but you also curate every aspect of your creative project and aesthetic vision. With the release of Radio Sakura and the ongoing success of Click Boom!, we must talk about your music video for this hit. From the candid, glamorous outfits to the snowy locations, from the single scenes to the whole narrative, guide us through this visual project!
Generally when we think about love we see warmth, bright colours, red, fire. But since I wanted to talk about the darker side of love the best way to contrast was giving snow. A shit ton of snow.
Another thing that is going on for you at the moment is taking part in Rhythm+Flow Italia, dedicated to highlighting the Italian rap scene and its new talent, as a judge. What is this experience like and what do you appreciate about this role?
I’m appointed as a judge but feel more like an advisor to be honest. I’m obsessed with raw talent, filled with ambition, reckless, not scared yet by fatigue or disappointments. I loved to see that the new gen of rap talents aren’t scared of talking about pain and anxiety.
Talking about rap, your music is labelled as many different genres, including hip hop. How would you define your style and production? What do you want people to take away from your music?
I want people to appreciate the total freedom of my music. I really just dive into genres, I study them, I dare with sounds and words but then simplify everything so that I can digest it and that converts it into a pop song. I love that people can’t really define me.
Now, for our readers who are new to the Italian music scene and to your songs, how did Rose Villain become the artist she is today?
I think she always was! I never had a plan B. I knew this was my path and I stayed on it, focused and worked so hard every day. I still do, I’m just getting started here!
Dear Rose, thank you for your time and your fascinating story! Is there anything else about your present or future projects that you’d like to share with us?
So many beautiful things coming. I could tell you - but then I’d have to kill you!