British artist ROX on making her mark with her music
Ahead of her performance at TAB, Roxanne "Rox" Tataei, the multi award-winning South-London songstress, talks about her journey as one of United Kingdom’s most popular emerging artists.
CNNGo: Tell us more about your unique cultural background, has that influenced your music in any way?
ROX: Most definitely. I was brought up in a Jamaican household with my mom and grandparents, my dad’s Iranian, and I grew up in London.
Coming from different backgrounds has affected me as a person in the way I look at life. I love learning about different cultures and their food! It’s a great learning experience and I guess most people who come from mixed backgrounds share the same view as well.
With regards to my latest album "Memoirs," while it’s mostly a soul-pop record, there are definitely bits of reggae from my Jamaican influence, as well as elements of jazz and folk.
I find that instead of imitating just one sound, I like to blend things together, and have fun taking different elements of things like electro mixed with a bit of reggae. It’s also largely a reflection of me as a person -- as a mish-mash of different things.
CNNGo: What inspired "Memoirs"?
ROX: The album is mostly about me growing up and coming out of my teenage years into adulthood and having to deal with relationships and heartbreak and having to cope with it all.
It wasn’t intentional -- I didn’t want to make it a love or heartbreak album -- it was just what was affecting me most at that time.
CNNGo: You’ve accomplished a lot at the age of 21, what’s been the most memorable part so far?
ROX: There are so many highlights this year. The duet with Paul Weller at the VMAs was amazing -- I’ve always been a huge fan of his.
I love how I get the chance to travel so much -- I just came back from Japan -- and going to different places and seeing how different people receive my music. It’s a great learning experience and I really enjoy being on the tour bus with the band too.
CNNGo: You’ve been compared to other musicians like Adele and Duffy, do you feel pressured to distinguish yourself from them?
ROX: As an emerging artist you’re always going to have to pitch yourself to a label. There are definitely struggles like having to perform in front of two people and having to stay in crappy hotels.
It’s frightening when you’re compared to great artists but at the same time I really want to make a mark and distinguish myself as ROX and not just another version of another musician.
CNNGo: Any advice you’d like to give to all our budding local musicians in Singapore?
ROX: As a musician you need to just write all the time and as much as you can -- either by yourself or with other people.
I used to write a lot of music by myself but the moment I collaborated with other people, it brought a different vibe to it all and was a great learning experience.
Keep listening to different types of music and opening your mind. Everything can influence you in a good or bad way, so never disregard it. And gigs! It’s very different in Singapore when you’re just starting out and it’s hard to get gigs. That’s why it’s so important that you have places like TAB as an avenue for budding musicians to grow.