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Photo By: Olof

Whether it’s through his songs or his hilarious and heartfelt social media posts, Blake Rose has a way with words – and a way with connecting with people. The singer-songwriter’s most recent release is the Suddenly Okay EP (out now via AWAL Recordings), featuring songs that narrate the feeling of heartbreak, while hoping for a light up ahead. In April, he’ll hit the road for The Suddenly Okay Tour – his first-ever headlining tour, where he’ll bring songs from throughout his catalog (which also includes his first two EPs, A World Gone By and You’ll Get It When You’re Older, as well as tracks like “Hotel Room” and “Lost”) to fans across North America.

He just premiered a new music video for his song, “Last Walk Home” which can be viewed below.

LADYGUNN recently spoke with Blake Rose about the Suddenly Okay EP, the upcoming tour, and more.

I noticed that Jesse Mason and Ayokay were listed on the credits for “Suddenly Okay”. Ayokay is a DJ – he’s not the type of artist that I would have expected you to collaborate with. How did that collaboration come together?

It was a session that Kobalt threw together. I know Ayokay through some friends, so it had been in the back of my mind to work together anyway – but at this stage, I’m honestly open to trying whatever. It comes down to the vibe in the room more than the previous works that the person I’m working with has put out. It was such a great vibe – we all got along really well and the hook for “Suddenly Okay” came out straightaway. As soon as I sat down and started playing, those melodies started coming out and we just ran with it. I got the song and then I took it back home with me and spent the next couple of weeks refining it and shifting a lot of stuff around. It was a great collab, though. They were really good at throwing ideas, and they had great tastes. It was a quality group of people to write with.

I love what you said about the vibe in the room being important. I’m curious about that song. Like, the lyrics are in a pretty depressing headspace – you’ve just been through a breakup, you’re feeling like shit. But the music is super upbeat, catchy – was it intentional to have that sort of contrast?

I don’t think it was intentional, it’s more just – it’s the natural sensibility for me when I’m writing to a melody that’s pretty upbeat, to match it with lyrics that aren’t super happy. Not necessarily on purpose; it just tends to be where my head goes, because I find it very easy to become cheesy when you’re writing really happy lyrics to an also very happy melody and overall vibe. Some people can do that really well, but I struggle with writing happy songs, period. It’s natural for me to incorporate the more depressive type of lyric, but also that was what was on my mind in the moment of the session.

That’s interesting, what you said about how you struggle to write happy songs. It’s not an uncommon thing that artists say – it’s sometimes easier to find more to dig into when there’s something upsetting or that makes you angry.

When I think about your music, the word that comes to mind for me is “romantic,” in a sort of poetic sense. And I’m curious, what does that word – romantic, or a hopeless romantic, as you say on “Last Walk Home” – what does that bring to mind for you?

I feel like by nature, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. For the better part of my career, I only really had situations relating to love that were unrequited or, you know, that kind of situation – so those songs were much more common for me to write. But this past year, I was having more experiences that opened up a different side to what romance means to me. And it’s cool because I’m getting to explore a different part of life and incorporate that into my music. But you’re definitely right- a lot of my music is in that romantic, sort of hopeless romantic, space.

“Movie” is a big one. Even “Casanova” – a lot of stuff from A World Gone By is very, like, “oh, gosh, I have all these big feelings. And I need to talk about them.”

Yeah, A World Gone By is definitely my romantic era, for sure.

There’s stuff on You’ll Get It When You’re Older that is a little bit of that, too.

Yeah, you’re right. “In Your Arms.”

I’m curious, though. You’re saying it’s easier to write sad songs. But then you’re saying that you’ve had some different experiences that sound like they’ve been more positive, that have been opening up your ideas of romance – do you think you’ll get to a point where you will have some happier songs to write?

Yeah, I would love that! That is definitely my goal in life [laughs], to get to a point where I’m writing more happy songs. There’s various songs that I have in the bank right now that are happier. And then there’s songs that are not necessarily sad, but are still in a darker space, but a much different angle. But there’s also certain, like, general romantic, lovey, songs and songs that are about breakups, but with the angle of understanding that – you’re going to be better off without me, in a good way, where I just want the best for you and I believe in you, and I want you to be happy so that I can be happy and you can be happy, kind of thing. It’s that space that I’m writing from at the moment. But also, yeah, there’s a lot more material coming. I don’t think I’ll ever purely write happy songs. I mean, shit – it’s art, it’s always going to be like, the darkest stuff involved. But I think that’s also my strong point – being able to talk about deeper stuff [in a way] that feels digestible, and feels like you’re not necessarily listening to something that’s quite depressing.

As you talk about – I guess the word is, more positive – breakups, that maybe don’t leave you quite as destroyed or heartbroken, if you will, “Last Walk Home” is a nice example of that. But with that song, I’m really curious. Like, that song is short, it is less than two minutes. And it ends with you saying “it was beautiful while it lasted, beautiful while it lasted.” The song feels way too short to me! It doesn’t feel like it’s done – or like it should be done. Was that intentional?

In some ways, yes. But that’s interesting that you say that. I also like that that is your perspective. Because to me, that song is like, we had something really special. And we can’t – because of external reasons – continue this relationship, so it’s nice that you feel that it’s a little unfinished, because I feel like the relationship I’m talking about in the song is a little unfinished, like there’s something left there to explore. And I like ending the record with that song for that reason. So, it’s cool that you think about it like that.

Thank you! I mean, the first time I heard it, the song just ended– I was like, “wait, what?”.

For me, on a technical level, the extended version felt too long, and the way that it is now felt like the cleanest way to make it shorter. Because at the end of the day, I prefer that someone wants to listen to something again, than listen to it once and enjoy it, but be worn out and not really want to hit replay. That’s where I come from in my head when I’m arranging the songs. But – with your perception in mind – it makes a lot more sense.

Last summer, before it was announced that there’s going to be an EP, you released “How Do We Stay In Love.” The other songs on the EP are a lot about romantic relationships. And “How Do We Stay In Love” was inspired by your childhood best friend’s mom passing from cancer. Why did this feel like the right time to share such a touching story that, by that point, was several years in the past?

It was a song that I’d sat on for a while. It was something that has always been on my mind, but I never even really thought to write about it; I never really had the right approach. A lot of times when I sit down to write and there’s something like that that’s happened in my life that I feel like I could write about but I haven’t felt the inspiration to write about it yet, it often gets triggered by a certain lyric that I accidentally say. When I sat down in the session with Ricky Manning and David Hodges to write it, I was playing some stuff on guitar and I started writing some of the verse lyrics, sort of accidentally, and then it all clicked and I realized that that was the right way to write about that thing happening in my life.

I sat on [“How Do You Stay In Love”] for a while; You’ll Get It When You’re Older came out and I didn’t have another project yet that it could fit on. I felt like it was a really nice song to put out at that time of the year with where I was at with releasing music, so that fans had something new. And as something that’s deeply personal to me, I still wanted it to have its own moment, so I’m glad that it got to come out as a single and not just as a track on an EP. But I still wanted it to live on a project, so I chose this EP to put it on.

I like what you said about “How Do You Stay In Love” having its own moment to shine. I remember when you were teasing it on TikTok and everything, even before the song came out, I saw so many comments where you could tell it was connecting with people.

Yeah, definitely. I got a lot of messages from people that really connected to that song. Which, as an artist, is the best thing ever. I felt like it was right to put it out then.

I love that. Well, speaking of connecting with people, in less than a month you are starting your first headline tour. What is on your to do list this weekend, in terms of getting ready for the tour?

We’re doing rehearsals for tour starting about a week and a half before tour. At the moment, I’ve been finalizing the setlist, which is pretty much done, and getting all the tracks ready with my MD. This weekend and next week, I’m working on finishing the next record, actually. I’m also finalizing merch at the moment. There’s some brand new merch that’s coming around. It’s fresh as fuck; I haven’t done anything like it yet, which is super exciting. The whole tour – the production on tour, the backdrop, everything – is going to feel a lot more cohesive and dialed in than it ever has. I’m really excited for the tour and what it’s all gonna feel like and look like.

I’m excited to see all that come together! I saw you at The Fonda back in August with Lauren Spencer Smith. For that show you played solo – it was just you and your guitar on stage. For this headline tour, are you going to be doing that same thing or will you be playing with a band?

It will be with a band. I’ve got an auxiliary guitar player, who is my roommate, and a drummer, Levi, who I brought out a couple of times. For the Lauren Spencer Smith tour I played solo partly because it was just too expensive to do that tour. There was also not enough room on the stage for a band, and I just wanted to try doing it solo. So, it was kind of fun and a different experience because I haven’t done it like that. I played solo with [Ashe] but I had a huge looping setup. So it’s a very different format – very daunting, to be honest.

You said you’re still putting together the setlist, but do you think you might send the band offstage and have a moment where you play a song acoustic, by yourself? Is that something you might do?

Oh yeah, definitely. I was actually tossing [around the idea of] doing a bit that’s fully unplugged – going into the crowd and playing it campfire style. I feel like something like that would be really cool.

Talk to me about putting the setlist together. Where are you at with that – anything you’re thinking of switching up? What’s the status with the setlist?

Yes, definitely a new setlist – I haven’t played it like this yet. I’m still finalizing it at the moment. Basically, I’m structuring it around what my tour set was for Mimi Webb, but it’s double the length. I really liked how that set flowed. It’s going to build around that, maintaining the pace – but also, at the same time spreading it out a little bit, because there’s more songs. So I wanted to make it feel like – you know, we’re here, we’re out the gate, it feels really fun and exciting. But also there’s those moments, like you were saying, that are intimate, and that feel like I’m singing to one person, kind of thing. I think it’s gonna be really, really fun.

I’m really excited to see everyone that has wanted to see me so far, because I’ve only done two headline shows, in New York and LA. And there’s a lot more people around that I haven’t even gotten to meet face-to-face yet. So I’m super pumped to see how they react to the set. And I’ve got them in mind, and also the fact that the venues are smaller is in my mind.

Well, I have one more question for you before we wrap up. So Blake, last night you posted an Instagram story, playing a little bit of “One Less Lonely Girl” by Justin Bieber. And that got me thinking. If Justin was going to cover one of your songs, which one would you want it to be?

Oh shit, that’s a good question. I feel like… “Lady.” I feel like he would do that really well. And it would really suit his fans as well. Especially, like, Bieber when he was 15, 16, 17 – that era, I feel like that song would have been really cool.

Photo By: Olof



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