Atlanta is one of America’s culture meccas and home to unpolished, soulful rap and R&B coming from the likes of Outkast, Ludacris or the legendary production trio Organized Noize (Curtis Mayfield, Queen Latifah). It’s also home to Baby Rose, a 24-year-old singer who, after releasing her debut album “To Myself”, should be talked about as being on the same page as Nina Simone and Amy Whinehouse.
“To Myself” is a search for Rose’s identity in midst of a whirlwind of emotions and inner struggle. As the singer explains, the album relates to her own break-up phase and deals with “mundane emotions that everybody goes through”. With her work, she wants to heal herself and others by presenting a very honest way of dealing with negativity and pain: “I would like to heal myself [and others] by being honest and not trying to be perfect and pretend that one got everything figured out already”.
Along with Rose’s warm, full and jazzy voice, she guides us through her inner mindset and self-talk, something she defines as a “stumbling all over the place”. “To myself” thrives from her open battle to find the right thoughts, the right words … to eventually realize that so many words get in the way, hey in her last song, “Show you”. Before she gets to that point though, words are needed to process and grow from her experience, and it’s interesting to be part of her emotional rollercoaster.
“Sold Out”, for instance, clearly demonstrates her dependence and frustration: All of this shit / Is wearing me out, while “All to myself” shows all of the album’s polarization of her emotions: It’s been over a while and things have changed, but / Memories still linger ’round and I’m drinking. Rose lets everybody know about her throwbacks, her mistakes and helplessness, and that honesty is making the album feel real. It’s eventually the last song, “Show you”, where we get this certain, self-determinded Nina Simone moment when she sings: Tell me, baby, how you like me now? / Wasn’t life beautiful when I was around? / You won’t find this love with somebody else, no.