Everything Is Coming Up ROZES
Elizabeth Mencel, better known as ROZES, is the driving force behind The Chainsmokers 2015 international hit song “Roses.” Recently we caught up with the sweet songstress, before one of her solo shows at LA’s Echoplex, to talk musical inspiration, female empowerment—and getting lucky.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Mencel says she was constantly surrounded, and inspired by, music thanks to her musically inclined family. The very first instrument she was drawn to was the piano at age six followed shortly after by the trumpet, flute, violin, guitar, saxophone and clarinet. Soon Mencel started dreaming up melodies and penning her own songs. “Everything sort of snowballed from there,” she says.
The snowball slowly, but surely, grew. After many years and many songs, Mencel’s first stroke of luck arrived all the way from Australia. Australian DJ “Just A Gent” invited her to write to one of his tracks and she quickly agreed. Unaware of EDM music or culture, Mencel wrote and sang on the track without a blink of an eye. Soon after, “Limelight” received almost 4 million plays on Souncloud…and it’s eventually how The Chainsmokers found her.
The ROZES/Chainsmokers collaboration came, once again, in the form of some social media luck. “They sort of slid into my DMs on Twitter,” laughs Mencel. “And then they said they dug ‘Limelight’ and were just like ‘we would love to collaborate with you.’” A few weeks later, Mencel and the DJ duo wrote ‘Roses’ in three hours while hanging out inside a New York City apartment. “We didn’t even think anything of it—nobody thought it would be BIG.”
From playing Coachella to Jimmy Fallon, “Roses” whisked Mencel along on a whirlwind of a ride in 2015 and 2016. Fast-forward to this year and Mencel is focusing on her solo songwriting and live performances. On stage, ROZES is magnetic: Her wavy blonde hair is never without a small crown of blossoms (Fun fact: the ROZES fan squad is lovingly referred to as “Rozebuds”) and she’s often twirling, twisting and dancing with her equally magnetic drummer, Benny Brown, who triggers back up tracks, hits SPD electronic sounds and plays live drums. Most of her setlist features songs from her 2016 EP Burn Wild, a sultry collection of tracks written by Mencel and produced by Ian Walsh and Patrick Mencel. When she cues the Chainsmokers hit, the crowd gets moving and starts pleading loudly in unison: “Say you’ll never let me go.”
Mencel has infinite gratitude for where she is now, but she hopes to keep growing within the music industry. After a recent publishing deal with Warner Chappell, her hope is almost a certainty. Underneath it all, ROZES recognizes herself as a real woman with real issues. She also aspires to empower other women: “I want people to understand that it’s okay to feel emotional or to feel heartbreak. Having a fanbase that I can appeal to and that I can relate to and that can relate to me too…that’s all really important to me.” Mencel also voiced her opinions on the societal expectations that women face. “I want women to love themselves for who they are and not focus on what society thinks we should be like or what we should look like.” This very passion and confidence is apparent throughout her songs. Her most recent track release “Under The Grave” is a passionate apology to girlfriends she feels she let down.
All of us here at Conquer Loud are already huge fans of Mencel and we are so excited to see where her ~blossoming~ career takes her. Between the radio-ready anthems and her honest, electrifying energy—we have a strong feeling that soon everything will be coming up ROZES.
Written by Lyn Alyson
Edited by Melissa D'Agnese
Photography & Video by Conquer Loud
Video Edit by Silent Coyote