Roses Gabor is a name you may think you’ve never heard before, when in fact her statement sound is probably nestled amidst your record collection right now. The talented singer has already worked with some of contemporary music’s heavyweights, such SBTRKT (she’s the leading lady on one of his notable bangers, “Pharaohs”), Shy FX and Redlight. She has also toured with Gorillaz and counts Damon Albarn and Kano as close “buddies”. 2012 will see Roses concentrating on her solo LP and putting collaborations to one side. Wonderland caught up with Roses – on the day that her debut full-length mixtape, “The Wonderful World Of Roses Gabor Vol.1”, got its international release – for a chat and an exclusive shoot.
What would you say sums up the Roses Gabor sound?
I guess I’d say good vibes, energy and hopefully smiles.
What is your musical background?
My parents listened to a nice variety really. My dad was really into pop and Capital FM was always on in our house. Mum enjoyed Reggae, Soca and Motown.
What sort of music were you listening to as a teenager or whilst you were growing up?
Mostly hip-hop and a little bit of R&B. I went through a real dancehall phase also, but hip-hop had my heart.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
My heart gets excited when I hear a Lex Luger beat. I love Bjork. I think she is amazing and I guess they inspire me to push banging beats and do whatever the hell I like.
You’ve worked on projects in Nigeria with Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn. How did your collaboration come about?
I guess we met through me recording “Dare” with Gorillaz. Myself and Damon have had a pretty cool relationship since then so he asked me if I’d be up for it.
You’ve done the vocals for tracks by the likes of Shy FX, SBTRKT and Redlight. What did you feel about the positive reaction to the tracks that you have sang on?
It feels good. I want people to enjoy what I do.
What can we expect from your full-length solo record?
I’ve done such a nice mix of features that are all quite different, although all uptempo. My LP is definitely going to reflect me and as much as I love “high energy”, I also love stuff like Emiliana Torrini who is an amazing folk singer. It’s a nice variation of moods and energy – that’s my intention anyway…
Do you like to take full control of the creative direction of your image?
Yeah. I think my dress sense reflects my personality, big time.
Is fashion an important to the way in which you portray yourself and your sound?
I guess it is. I love dressing up and trying new looks with interesting jewellery and fabrics that are comfortable and well made. That’s really important to me, and the same goes for my sound. I love trying different ways of using my voice, adding textures to create something that makes me “feel” good and in turn hopefully make you feel good, too.
Who are your favourite designers/labels?
My two absolute favourites are KTZ/Marjan Pejoski and Mawi.
Who’s currently exciting you, musicially? Any new artists we should look out for?
I’m loving Asap Rocky and Ferg. His voice just feels good. Thundercat, who’s a bassplayer/singer from LA is an absolute G. I loved him from afar, then met him at Giles Peterson’s WWA. I think we recorded a Gem together last week. Also The Insomniax who are a south London trio who make amazing music.
Words: Shane Hawkins
The Wonderful World Of Roses Gabor Vol.1 is out now.
Words: Shane Hawkins