Interview – Rose Cora Perry

Photo Credit: Life is Beautiful Photography

Rose Cora Perry is a singer/songwriter from London, Ontario who is set to release her sophomore solo album, Onto The Floor in just a few short months. She is the former front-woman of major label act Anti-Hero and has performed at major music festivals including Canadian Music Week, NorthbyNortheast and Warped Tour to name a few.

Can you introduce yourself for the readers who may not be familiar with you and your music?

Sure! My name is Rose Cora Perry (or RCP, for short) and I’m a Canadian Musician, Media Personality and Model. I previously fronted two popular rock acts: HER and Anti-Hero and in 2010, I released my first solo record. This year (2016), I’m super excited to be releasing my sophomore solo album which I’d like to think merges the best of both worlds: my rock’n’roll past with my melodic acoustic present.

In addition to rocking and rolling, I’ve hosted two TV programs for RogersTV and have worked as a Freelance Print Journalist for over a decade: writing columns on the music biz, psychology/sociology and social commentary editorials. I also regularly lend my time to non-for-profit organizations and events that are near and dear to my heart as a guest Emcee.

Most recently, I acted as the Emcee for VegFest London, London Ontario’s only all vegan festival and coming up on Feb 27th, I’ll be returning for the second year as the Emcee for London Defeat Depression, a walk and talk that aims to create dialogue and break the stigma associated with mental illness.

In my spare time, I enjoy photography modelling just for fun and have had the pleasure of creating many thematic and fun photoshoots with a variety of talented photographers. In my youth, I also regularly booked shows as a hair model, but due to my vertically challenged nature (I’m a mere 5 feet 4 inches!), I never quite broke into runway J

How did the writing process for Onto The Floor differ from your debut solo album Off Of the Pages

In one word: tremendously! Mentally and emotionally, I was in completely different mindsets when I wrote these albums. Also, because Off Of the Pages was my debut as a solo artist, I really wanted to do something different. As a consequence, I performed that entire album live off the floor without a click because I wanted it to come across as a very raw, organic listening experience which emulated what I was going through at the time. It’s unpolished, it’s imperfect – at points you can even hear my voice crack a bit because I was crying as I was performing – BUT it was real and genuine and that was my aim. Artistically and personally, it was me at my most vulnerable.

Onto the Floor, on the other hand, will be a polished studio produced album. When I initially wrote the tracks for it, I had every intention of making another experimental acoustic record…BUT, my love for distorted guitars, layered vocals, intense harmonies and classical piano took over quickly and changed the direction entirely.

I worked with a tremendously talented classical/jazz pianist named Ariel Kasler on many of the arrangements and some songs – which were originally intended to be full on rock tunes – became ballads and vice versa. Through Ariel, I got hooked up with another really talented session player – Ted Peacock – who worked with us to create all the drum arrangements.

Like Off Of the Pages, each song on Onto the Floor contains musical homages – lyrical, melodic, rhythmic – to honour all of the artists who have influenced me throughout my career. But unlike my first solo album, Onto the Floor was written from a place of resolution rather than pain and so there’s a clear (in my opinion) maturity in the songwriting which reflects my own growth as a person and an artist.

Musically too, I feel this album really solidifies my “sound” as a solo artist in that it’s both soft and loud, distorted and acoustic, rock and classical. It’s everything I am combined and I’m really hoping it resonates with people.

What was it like going from working in the group setting of a band to working on your own?

VERY VERY VERY difficult. Truly, I missed the band mentality of “we’re all in this together”. While I was the primary songwriter in both of my past groups, our band’s sounds were established by everyone contributing ideas and their own respective parts. It was a collaborative approach and I missed that.

It was also really weird for me to go from fronting rather aggressive rock performances which often incited mosh pits and led crowds in “Fuck You” chants to being up there on stage alone with nothing but an acoustic guitar to back me up.

While I love the artistic freedom that being a solo artist affords, I honestly missed having my mates up there with me on stage and in the studio. I think that’s why this time around with Onto the Floor, I decided to get session players on board  so that I could have the input of others – to bounce ideas back and forth – and come up with the strongest possible renditions of my songs.

Additionally, I’m beyond excited to announce that I’ve got a live performance band together for gigs which I feel will open up more playing opportunities and of course bring more energy to my live shows.

When I went solo, it was hard to adjust to the expectations in terms of how a solo artist is to “behave” on stage as well as the kinds of venues I could be expected to perform at. Because of my frontwoman background, I’m not used to nor comfortable with being booked as the “background ambience” at a coffee shop, nor does my music really lend itself well to that kind of setting.

Although when I toured with Off Of the Pages I was toting around an acoustic guitar, I was still playing aggressively with palm-muting and chugging etc. like a rock frontwoman. As a consequence, I was told MANY times while on tour, I really should get a band back together. As I had unfortunate breakups with both of my previous bands, I was hesitant and a little scared to do so, to be honest. Both band breakups were heartbreaking for me…if not tragic. We had so much potential in both cases. We just seemed to miss the mark.

With all of this in mind and the changed course of Onto the Floor’s musically, I decided a few months ago I needed to give the band thing one more go and I’m ecstatic to tell you that this time around, I feel pretty damn confident I have the right players backing me up.

For live shows in conjunction with Onto the Floor’s release, Jeremy Sieberer will be slapping the Bass and chiming in on Backing Vox while Tyler Randall will be pounding the Drums; collectively they are known as “The Truth Untold”.

They are both incredibly talented players who have been wonderful to work with thus far. I’m excited to play with them live and be able to perform my solo material with a band feel. Of course, I’ll still be available for the occasional solo acoustic gig if that’s a booker’s preference.

It’s easy to see that you’re interested in many genres, as a classically trained performer who fronted rock bands and starred in a theatre production of Legally Blonde. Are there any genres that you wouldn’t try? What genre would you love to take a shot at?

Genres on my “to kill” list (haha) include country, rap and techno. Pardon my language but fuck no…just no to any and all of those. Genres I’d LOVE to try – more jazz and maybe a touch of blues.

When I’ve got some free time, I intend on releasing another live performance jazz video with some local veterans in the scene. It’s always fun to challenge oneself and try something outside of your comfort zone.

In my humble opinion, a true artist is not restrained by genre. They write what they feel and however that comes out is genuine and real.

I don’t like being pigeon-holed and even in my Anti-Hero and HER days, I got experimental with my songwriting and pushed genre conventions a bit. As a solo artist, I’m pushing the boundaries further. Why not? You only live once right?

You also work as a model, graphic/web designer, social media manager/publicist, have four successful column series and hosted two programs on RogersTV. Do you ever find it hard to juggle all of your projects? If you had to choose one to do for the rest of your life, which would you choose? 

Haha YES! Suffice it to say I don’t sleep much. But here’s the thing: I’m doing what I love and what I find fulfilling. Yes I’m tired and can get stressed out because there’s a lot on my plate, but I don’t want to ever live in regret.

I’d rather get to age 100 and look back and say, “You know what? I did a lot of very cool things with my life.” The only person ever holding you back is yourself so if there’s something you want to do, find time to do it. There’s always a way.

As far as choosing one passion? MUSIC! It always has been my number one love in life and always will be. I truly hope the industry finds a way to turn itself around so us indies, in particular, are able to make a sustainable living from our songwriting and touring.

It breaks my heart that so many people who claim to be music “fans” steal music. I know it’s an old argument, but honestly, if an artist has touched your life with their creations, please pay them otherwise they won’t be able to keep creating the things that you so love. It’s that simple.

What songs are your favourite to play live?

Oooh tough question. From Off Of the Pages, by far my favs still remain “For What It’s Worth” and “Don’t”.

From Onto the Floor I’m REALLY looking forward to rocking out “Six Feet Under”, “Away I Go” and “Curtains Close”.

Do you have any plans for touring?

YES, YES AND YES. If you wanna book me (RCP) and The Truth Untold, please contact [email protected] We’re eager to perform and look forward to when the album drops and we can start promoting it.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

My dream producers would be Glen Ballard and Bob Rock. If either of them are reading this, let’s work on my next album together!!! Glen – the work you did with Alanis on “Jagged Little Pill” will stand the test of time. That album is, in a word, “perfection”. Bob – Veruca Salt’s “Eight Arms to Hold You” and Metallica’s “Black Album” – they are SO loud, so CHILLING, so DYNAMIC – that’s the way an album ought to ALWAYS sound.

As far as collaborations with fellow musicians, I’d work with Ariel Kasler again in a heartbeat. He gets me and he gets my vision even when I can’t articulate it myself.

I’ve also really enjoyed working with my husband, Ryan McNevin (REM Productions) on the new album. He’s producing it. As we know each other quite well 😉 he’s aware of my full capabilities as a singer and so he really pushed me a lot of times to ensure I was truly giving him my best performances. He was a hardass but in a good way – a way that a producer should be.

Equally, I’m excited to have the talents of Roger Lian (Masterdisc) on board to master the final mix of my album. I worked with him in the Anti-Hero days and was beyond impressed with his abilities then. I have no doubt he’ll do a stellar job on my solo stuff as well.

Since we’re all about Canadian music, who are your favorite Canadian bands/artists?

Alanis, Alanis and yes Alanis! She is a songwriting goddess and her voice is incomparable. In my view, a singer should strive to define their own sound and own vocal distinction. She has accomplished that perfectly. There have been times when new Alanis tracks have been released to radio that I hadn’t heard about yet and the moment the vocals began, I knew it was her. That’s a true singer.

I also love (believe it or not), celtic singer/songwriter/harpist Loreena McKennitt of Stratford Ontario. Her voice is like honey. Delicate and powerful and hauntingly beautiful.

Of SouthWestern Ontario fame, growing up, I listened to A LOT of The Killjoys, Gandharvas, J Englishman and Scratching Post. I was obsessed with Nicole Hughes (now the manager of Courage My Love) and wanted to be her…right down to the flaming red hair.

I’m also a HUGE Matt Good fan. He’s one hell of a songwriter. I especially admire the fact that he often touches on political and social issues with his lyrics. While there’s nothing wrong with a good love (or hate) ditty – I’ve written many myself as they are universal emotions to which we can all relate – I think music is an incredibly powerful medium through which we can address important issues and provoke thought. I’d like to see a revival of this in the modern era.

And of course how could I forget Canada’s Sweethearts Tegan & Sara? If you listen closely to my track, “For What It’s Worth”, you may just hear an homage to them in the bridge.

Last but not least, Melissa Auf der Maur is one bad ass woman – as both the former bassist/backing vocalist for The Smashing Pumpkins and Hole, and as a solo artist. She rocks…hard.

Connect with Rose Cora Perry:
 Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

I’m Tara and I’m a graphic designer from Newfoundland. I am very fortunate to live in a city where there is a ton of amazing musicians. I’ve grown very fond of the local music scene in St. John’s and some of my favorite bands are ones I’ve met through going to local shows.

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