Raised in Washington D.C., working in L.A., residing in Atlanta.
Baby Rose, and her distinctive voice, feel as well traveled as the woman, born Jasmine Rose Wilson, has been herself.
I had the luxury of talking with her about her path from writing poems at age 12, to crafting her own records like her 2020 debut LP, To Myself. Her parents influenced her love of music and she wants to share ALL of her art with the world. We dove into her ultimate studio vibe that fosters creativity and her latest works: ‘Go’ and ‘Fight Club’ with HYFIN staple, Georgia Anne Muldrow.
Baby Rose also shared her connections to Wisconsin, and her dream collaborations. One of those collabs just might blow just your mind.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Baby Rose: Hello.
Anthony Foster: Hey, how you doing?
BR: Good. I’m good.
AF: All right. All right. Let me tell you a little bit about us. We’re HYFIN. We are a new urban alternative channel based out of Milwaukee. You ever been to Milwaukee? You ever been to Wisconsin?
BR: Oh, yeah. I got hella family in Wisconsin.
BR: So much family in Wisconsin, in Racine. Yeah.
AF: What? Get out of here. You do? That’s incredible. Now, that is really dope. Racine is not far from here, but yeah, we are a new urban alternative channel. So, we play the entire spectrum of Black music, A to Z, old stuff, new stuff.
Me personally, I’m always fascinated with the behind the scenes, you know what I mean? The process that gets you to the point where the song is mixed and mastered and it’s out there for the world. So what I want to know is, what your creative process like? Do you write songs on your phone and then you go to the studio? Or is it like, I show up at the studio and we craft there. I saw you with Terrace Martin. I know he is a great… You know what I mean? I’m sure you can walk in the studio with nothing and come out with something dope with Terrace Martin. But tell me a little bit about your creative process and how you go from A to Z. And I’m sure it varies, but just tell me a little bit about how you create.
BR: Well, the main way that I like to create is to come into the studio as a blank canvas, not knowing what we’re going to create or what’s going to come out of it, but really making it a mission for me and whomever I’m working with to become vessels in the space and time that we’re in to just make something really pure from a real place and share that experience together. And so, I work with a couple of folks that are really good friends of mine.
BR: Just very… I have a small circle, and my writing partner that I work with all the time, Deja Ross, is just a really good friend, one of my best friends. And so, it’s a sacred space that I like to create, and I just started breaking out of my shell and really working with people that I’ve admired from afar. And that’s been amazing, like Georgia Anne Muldrow.
AF: Oh my God, love her.
BR: Is like kin to me.
AF: Yes, yes. She’s an OG. She’s been around and done it a lot of different ways. So, I’m sure collaborating with her is really smooth.
BR: Oh yeah, for sure.
AF: You said you like to collaborate with other artists, and you do have a small circle of people that you work with. Are they all musicians?
BR: Oh, yeah. Everybody that’s a producer plays something, we all play. I play keys.
AF: See, I love that. I love that. And a lot of singers, they don’t play an instrument as well. So I think that obviously gives you an advantage, and probably a distinct ear when you’re in the studio too, right?
BR: I mean, I would say this. I’ve known people that don’t play anything formally or whatever, but still got an ear. I think it only enhances, because I’ve been notoriously playing by ear since I was a kid, but now I’m starting to get lessons and all of that. And it only enhances. It’s like learning a new language. You’re able to express better what you want to get across to others.
AF: Right. I believe that. So, you grew up playing a piano, correct? You started at a young age?
BR: Yeah, I was nine years old when I got a piano.
AF: Wow. And, how old were you when you started realizing you could write songs? I mean, I guess anybody could write a song at any age, but when did you feel like, “Oh wow, this is a little bit different than the norm?”
BR: I mean, I started out with poetry, and then when I got the piano it became a thing of putting the poems to chords that I would come up with. So I would say as early as nine, ten years old is when I started writing records and writing songs. And then I started going to the studio when I was twelve, and really laying it down and stuff.
AF: Wow. Sixth grade Baby Rose out here writing songs. That’s incredible, man. That’s incredible. Are your parents really involved with your… I mean, of course they’re involved. They’re your parents. But are they involved with you as far as Baby Rose the artist, and the things that you do? Or is it, you come home to mom to escape the music industry?
BR: It is a bit of both. It’s a bit of both. My dad’s not so much involved in the business of BR. He’s definitely a supporter and he’s there for me as an escape and things like-
AF: Oh yeah, like a dad.
BR: My mom as well, but she is very essential to what I do as an artist. She helps me in so many ways. I’m very blessed to have her.
AF: Absolutely. Yes. Yes.
BR: Involved in that.
AF: Do you get a lot of your musical influences from your parents? I think that’s the thing, the music that I gravitate to the most is the music that my mom and my parents used to play when I was a kid. And it totally informed you as an artist, I’m sure, right?
BR: Oh, absolutely. There are three main influences growing up for me, my mom, my dad, and my great-aunt. My great-aunt would always listen to James Brown and Mahalia Jackson and-
AF: Oh, yes.
BR: And Sam Cooke. And she was an elder, so-
AF: Oh yes, yes.
BR: I was always looking at this elder-
BR: Presence, matriarch. And my mom loved hip hop, and she loved rap and R&B, what was modern. And my dad, he was a little older, so he was always into acid jazz and-
AF: Oh wow.
BR: All types of… Herbie Hancock.
AF: Yeah. A little bit off the beaten path, but still good stuff.
BR: Yeah, off the beaten path. My dad would take me to school in the morning and pick me up and stuff. And so we were always listening to that. And he was always telling me, because he knew that I was writing songs and that I had discovered something. And he was like, “You have to become a producer. Don’t just be a singer, signing over people’s beats,” and stuff. “Learn to produce, learn to write your own songs.” And we would do these tests in the car. He would be like, “Name every instrument that you hear in the song.”
AF: Wow. Now that’s next level. That is great, though. And that’s important advice. Because I mean, I’m sure you know, we all know plenty of people that sing and write songs and can play the piano, but to be able to take it to that level is definitely a big thing. Being able to produce your own records. I mean, you use drum machines, you know all of that?
BR: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I use a midi board, logic, and a wealth of just-
AF: In here, it’s a lot in here, too, I’m sure.
BR: Instruments. And just follow my heart with it. There’s this record that I had on my last album, “In Your Arms”, that I produced fully.
AF: I love that one. We actually play a ton of your music here. I love “Don’t Let Me Go.” Don’t let me, don’t let me… Oh man, that’s so fire. I love it. And Fight Club as well. I’m a big fan. I can’t even front. I did a little research. Fayetteville, North Carolina, right?
BR: Like I said, yeah. I was born in DC, moved to Fayetteville when I was 11, and then moved to Atlanta when I was 18. I look at Fayetteville as a big part of my story, because that’s where I stepped into womanhood. Went through my teenage years and shit. And Fayetteville, had I not moved to Fayetteville-
AF: I mean, even for North Carolina, that’s not one of the bigger cities in North Carolina, is it?
BR: No. Small. Very small. And it slowed me down and it allowed me to hear my voice away from family, away from a lot of things that I had known.
AF: That’s a big chunk of your life to be developing, and to do it in a place like that is dope. So you started in DC and then moved to Fayetteville and as an adult you moved to Atlanta, right?
AF: And you already had songs written. When you moved to Atlanta, what was your goal? Were you going there to get your music career started, or was that more of a-
BR: I was moving-
AF: Atlanta is cracking. I’m sure it was just like… Because Atlanta is a great place. I mean, I get that, too.
BR: For sure. I mean, I moved there for school. I moved to go to Spelman. And for whatever reason was redirected from that, and had to bet on myself musically. And so, I just placed myself in like, “All right, I’m a songwriter. I could write songs and da da da da da,” and would just start showing up and writing for people and building my catalog and stuff like that. And then from there it was just… I had gotten turned down so many times from writing because my voice, when I would send over the records, the references, I would have to re-sing it and shit. And then I was just like, “You know what?” It took my mom, she got sick with cancer. Thankfully she beat it. But that was a wake-up call for me to really just like, “All right, nah, I need to do this thing.”
AF: I need to lock into it, yeah.
BR: I need to be an artist and stop hiding behind the scenes stuff.
AF: And as unfortunate as that kind of stuff is, a lot of times it’s those things that make people say, “Okay, I’m going to really pursue this hard.” And I mean, it worked out. And then I’m sure your mom is proud, too. I mean, it worked out well.
BR: For sure.
AF: Man. So, you say you collaborated with a lot of different artists, but who were some of your favorite artists that you collaborated with, and why?
BR: Man, I would say Georgia Anne Muldrow was really fun to create with, because her spirit is so bright. She could light up a whole room. And I learned so much as I was going along. I really enjoyed… Only a few people know this, but when I came with working, I got to work with Kendrick Lamar for his album.
AF: For Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers? The latest one?
AF: Wow, okay.
BR: Yeah. My version didn’t make it on there, but it was okay because they experience alone… And the fact that I can call this person a friend now, who is an amazing inspiration, that was very surreal.
AF: That is a trip. And I mean, yeah, I’m sure that’s total… I’m sure that really was a nice validation for a lot of the hard work you’re doing when K. Dot reached out to you.
BR: Oh my God. Heck yeah.
AF: What’s that conversation like? So, how does that go?
BR: Oh no. It was his cousin, Baby Keem. He texted me. Yeah, he texted me, was like, “Yo, Kendrick wants to work with you. Pull up to the studio.” And I just happened to be in LA. I had flown in the day before. And I was like, “Ok, bet.”
AF: Right. “I’ll be there. Tell me when and where, and I’m there.”
BR: Yeah, it was really chill. It was half of the session was really just us talking and connecting, and he had the whole studio booked out, but it was just him. He came, and his engineer.
AF: Wow, man.
BR: It was very tranquil, like peaceful vibe.
AF: Right. And, what’s 2023 looking for Baby Rose?
BR: 2023 is going to be a whirlwind. I’ve been quiet and really just focused on making and refining music that is really dear to my heart, and healing and moving and growing as a person. And so, I feel like my music is very present and where I am. And so, those that have met me to myself, or maybe even before that, you’ve been on a journey with me, and I just look forward to continuing to grow. And people grow with me and follow me along on this journey. So, yeah. I got an album coming next year at the top of-
AF: Okay. At the beginning of the year? You got a date yet? You got a release date yet? Or is it a month?
BR: Yeah, it’s at the beginning. It’s in the beginning, the first months. But I don’t know the exact date offhand, but it’s coming early. Starting off the year with a bag.
AF: Okay. That’s incredible. You got to keep me posted, Baby Rose. Now, you sound like you’re at a point now where you’re really comfortable with… You know what I mean? You started your journey, it’s like, “Oh, do they like me? Are they feeling me? We’ll see.” And now you sound like you are at a place where, like you said, “I’m going to leave it all. I’m going to put it all out there. I’m going to put everything I got out there.” That’s what’s going into the next album? You feeling that freedom and that-
BR: Absolutely. I look at it like this. The pandemic really did a number as far as it made me put into perspective what I want my legacy to be. And so, when we went into choosing records for this album and things like that, I really looked at it like, God forbid, but if this is the last thing that I’m ever to put out, this is what I want people to remember me for. And it’s me figuring out a way from chaos internally, the things we all go through, high or low.
AF: No doubt.
BR: To a point of surrender, and just letting go and letting God. And so, yeah. I am very proud of this body of work more than anything. And I think when it comes to what I give to the world, people don’t know what they want from me until I give it to them. I firmly believe that because I’m very off the beaten path with my approach, I’d like to take the road less traveled and just go for the gut. I want to go for what I actually believe in and what I actually feel. And so that puts me in a lot of directions, and I just kind of go with the flow with that.
Elizabeth Eden Harris, known professionally as Cupcakke, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. She is known for her hypersexualised, brazen, and often comical persona
Elizabeth Eden Harris, known professionally as Cupcakke, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. She is known for her hypersexualised, brazen, and often comical persona and music although she has also made songs with themes supporting LGBTQ rights, female empowerment, and autism awareness.
Acclaimed GRAMMY-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello makes her Blue Note Records debut with the June 16 release of The Omnichord Real Book, a visionary
Acclaimed GRAMMY-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello makes her Blue Note Records debut with the June 16 release of The Omnichord Real Book, a visionary and deeply jazz-influenced album that marks the start of a new chapter in her trailblazing career. Following her 2018 covers album Ventriloquism, Meshell returns with an album of new original material that taps into a broad spectrum of her musical roots. The Omnichord Real Book was produced by Josh Johnson and features a wide range of guest artists including Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Ross, Jeff Parker, Brandee Younger, Julius Rodriguez, Mark Guiliana, Cory Henry, Joan As Police Woman, Thandiswa, and others.
The Omnichord Real Book is introduced today by the expansive lead single “Virgo,” the mind-altering 8-minute centerpiece of the album which features Meshell on vocals, key bass, and keyboards, Younger on harp, Rodriguez on Farfisa organ, Chris Bruce on guitar, Jebin Bruni on keyboards, drums by Abe Rounds, Deantoni Parks, and Andrya Ambro, and additional vocals by Kenita Miller and Marsha DeBoe. The Omnichord Real Book is available for pre-order now on Blue Note Store exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, and digital.
“It’s a little bit of all of me, my travels, my life,” says Meshell. “My first record I made at 22, and it’s over 30 years from then, so I have a lot of stored information to share.” Reflecting on the impact that the forced stillness of the pandemic lockdown had on her, she says “I must admit it was a beautiful time for me. I got to really sit and reacquaint myself with music. Music is a gift.”
“This album is about the way we see old things in new ways,” Meshell explains. “Everything moved so quickly when my parents died. Changed my view of everything and myself in the blink of an eye. As I sifted through the remains of their life together, I found my first Real Book, the one my father gave me. I took their records, the ones I grew up hearing, learning, remembering. My mother gifted me with her ache, I carry the melancholy that defined her experience and, in turn, my experience of this thing called life calls me to disappear into my imagination and to hear the music.”
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