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Get ready y’all, Roe is pulling back the curtains and starring in her own show finally and turns out she’s been there all along. The smooth, R&B, pop baddie has been behind the scenes writing songs for multiple ICONS ranging from our fairy god mother Mary J Blige to emerging goddess Kiana Lede. The effortlessly cool transition probably stems from many things, including her growing up in the culture-soaked streets of Venice Beach, California. She’s releasing an EP soon and we’re all excited to get to know her more.

Roe’s latest single “Wanna Be” pays tribute to Brandy’s notorious “I Wanna Be Down” song. We see where her inspirations lie, and we groove with it. Influenced by the chill, sexy vibes of the original song, we feel it all over the video. From cheeky bedroom phone calls to pulling up to boo’s house in a sleek convertible, the video brings all the feels. We got to talk to the LA-based singer-songwriter about growing up in Venice, where she pulls inspiration from, and of course writing “Wanna Be.”

Hey Roe, what are you up to today?

Right now, I’m working my release and trying to balance this new life as a writer and artist. I’m busy in the studio with City Girls all night and working on my own stuff by day!

I see you were inspired by Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” song. What about the original song inspired you the most?

I think it was just the mood. It’s so laid back and cool… sexy. I love a good sexy vibe. It just felt right when I heard the track. It gave me a feeling of fall and winter. I made the song a year ago and it’s awesome to see it come full circle right back to the same season. I love the soft, fall, cuddle vibe I get when I hear it. It’s the perfect song for when you have a crush on someone.

I also see in your music video for “Wanna Be” you’ve given Brandy’s music video a little nod with the phone scenes on the bed. What was shooting like? How long did it take to finish?

This was about an 8 hour shoot! That shot was actually the director’s idea. As soon as he heard the record, he sent me a still from her video and said, “We have to do this shot!”. She looks so flawless and milky chocolate in that video and I wanted to pay homage. One of my favorite writers, Ant Clemons, also plays my love interest in the video, just serving “I want you – you want me” type of vibes.

What’s your song process like? Do you usually come in with a concept or does the concept come in the studio after hearing the music? How did “Wanna Be” come about?

It’s different every time – for “Wanna Be”,  I heard the music first and immediately identified the vibe I wanted to create. Before I went in the booth I just tried to tell this love story. I wrote the verse and pre-chorus first and it set up the momentum for the Brandy hook. It felt right to tell this person – “I wanna be down!”. The music was on and the producer played the track for a whole hour while I just let the beat hit me, going down the list of things I felt when thinking about my love interest!

Do you remember the moment where you knew you wanted to come out from behind the scenes, where you were like ok I’m ready to write and perform my own stuff now?

Yeah, I do. That’s always been a priority for me and I knew I wouldn’t be fully fulfilled until I did this. I just like the fact that I got to help other people tell their story for so long. But being an artist has always been where my heart is and what I have been working toward. The right time met opportunity I decided to go for it when James Supreme at UMPG asked me about releasing an EP and I already had one ready to go!

So you’re from the iconic Venice Beach. What was it like growing up there, has it made an impact on your music? Are you still there and how has it changed?

Growing up in Venice definitely influenced my music. It’s such a melting pot. My melodies are soulful, poppy, moody… you get a bit of everything. As a kid I went to the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club every summer and we’d leave to hit the beach, walk down to Venice and back and soaked up all the culture. You’d see all kinds from the wealthiest folks to the free spirited homeless people. It’s definitely changed and becoming more affluent but there’s still the raw elements with the people walking their dogs and driving lowriders.

Now I’m in Woodland Hills in the valley, I’ve lived here since my teens. I rep Venice and the 818 equally!

Who are some of your musical inspirations? Who do you pop on when you’re with friends?

My icons — I look to more energetically versus musically. I love mysterious people like The Weekend or Marilyn Monroe. I truly pull inspiration from anywhere. I love thrilling movies with fly things going on in the background when I’m creating. Think Wolf of Wall Street or Fatal Attraction.

With friends, we’re definitely listening to Drake, Bryson Tiller, and Don Toliver. Brent Faiaz… we love. As far as females, I love City Girls, especially when I wanna turn up. But I also love Lana Del Rey. I’m so all over the place with my music taste but it really just depends on the mood!

What are you thinking about right now?

I know that I’m releasing my EP very soon… I’m always thinking “How do I top my first single and this new one?”. I just want people to embrace these creations the same way that I do. I’m really hoping I impact somebody.



photos / courtesy of artist

story / Vogue Giambri

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