Interview: Rosie Tucker
Posted: by The Editor
Rosie Tucker is quaint and eccentric, with enough variance to make the task of compiling a succinct description of their music feel more tiring than most forms of exercise. They take after a handful of styles, like a tender wobbliness and a jolting twang that often results in oxytones. Tucker unfurls seemingly ephemeral, miniscule mundanities – like visiting a laundromat or coming across a dog at a party – in a way that proves even the briefest exchanges are multidimensional. I spoke with Rosie about their ability to find deeper meaning in the world that surrounds them and the intrepidness it takes to forge your own path.
The Alternative: How did you get your start in music?
Rosie Tucker: I took piano lessons when I was a kid. I liked playing, I just didn’t like being told what to play. Then, I played the trombone and cello in middle school. I’d eat lunch in the band room so I could have more time with the instruments. I started playing guitar in high school.
Was it more difficult to create your own music than to play pre existing music?
I think it’s easier. With piano particularly, I felt performance-related pressure or pressure to do a good job. I think it has always been easier for me to wing it than to submit to a standard that other people would project onto me. No one can tell you you’re doing it wrong if it’s yours.
So, do you thrive the most when you’re producing unique work?
Whatever I’m making has to feel really inconsequential. It can’t feel like something I’m going to show to people; it has to be for fun. It’s really hard to get there sometimes.
Because of course, you know that people will eventually hear your work.
I have to manage a social media presence if I want to make this a job. I decided that I wanted people to hear my music, rather than laboring in my room obscurely. You have to recognize your own insecurities and try to figure out how to ignore them completely. The best songs are often surprises. The joy of songwriting is the joy of discovery.
What’s your songwriting process? I’ve noticed it’s really observational.
It’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall. I write a lot, but most of the time, I don’t keep any of it. And that’s why I’m afraid I will never complete a song again, because the vast majority of the time, I don’t come up with a song. I used to get really nervous that I was going to bore people and write about things everyone had written about. But a lot of favorite writers fearlessly go to the mundane. If you’re weird enough, maybe you’ll find something new.
Do you have any personal favorites tracks?
I really like “Shadow of a Doubt.” I wrote it while dealing with depression. When you’re not really able to take care of yourself, it becomes hard to maintain relationships. It’s about striving to get better and feeling fearful that you’ll never get better. And California redwoods made their way into the track, too. I felt like it was wild that those trees were alive and also so old. I wrote that track before going to a songwriter meet-up.
What are those meet ups like? Do they foster community more so than competition among musicians?
I don’t think being a musician has to be competitive at all. But if there is competition, it can be a healthy, motivational kind. Sometimes, I hear other people’s work and think, wow, that’s a perspective I could never access. It’s hard to trust the merit of your own work. You have to trust the people who tell you to keep going.
One perspective isn’t necessarily better or worse than another – it’s just different.
The plurality of opinions is really essential. It’s far less cliche. One of the pitfalls of favoring the opinions of white and male people is that it gets boring.
How did you come up with the concept for the music video for “Habit”?
I’m enamored with lemon imagery. I think it’s interesting that it’s the only completely sour fruit. I’ve written songs about lemon trees, like one about a lemon tree that gives everything it has to create a fruit that might just end up rotting on the ground.
And does it sort of sadden you that sometimes, valiant efforts go unnoticed?
You have to labor in faith that there will be some reason for your suffering. If you don’t have a reason, the world is a dark place.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Ice cream, hands down. I have a food processor, so I like to make my own rendition with peaches and bananas.
Follow Rosie Tucker on Social Media
Bineet Kaur // @HelloBineet
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