7 years after her mega-popular stint on Season 2 of “The X Factor,” runner-up Carly Rose is ready to release music on her own terms.
In a spectacular X Factor season alongside breakout contestants Fifth Harmony and Bea Miller, Rose (who previously went by Carly Rose Sonenclar) remains one of the most memorable talents both in her alumnae class and the show’s long-storied cast. The runner-up is now looking to jump back into the spotlight and deliver her fans what they’ve long been waiting for: a debut single.
Rose chatted with Pop Crave to discuss why she stepped away from music following The X Factor, her new single, “birds & bees” as well as what fans can expect in the coming months.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you. You placed 2nd on the X-Factor in 2012, you had a few collabs in 2015. What have you been up to since then?
I finished high school and started college! Had a chance to grow up a bit before fully diving into this world. I’m really happy I had that time because it gave me some real life experiences to draw from in my writing. Some perspective to see what i didn’t want to become in the music industry as well. I also had years to hone my writing skills. I spent a lot of time writing for myself and have done some writing for other people as well. So I realized early on how important writing is to me and something I want to be identified by.
As someone who entered the industry through a talent competition, would you recommend the experience to other up and coming artists? What was it like leaving the X-Factor and starting your career?
There are definitely many great things about these types of competitions. The immediate exposure is unbeatable. It also just gives you a real look into how this business works. You have to learn how you fit into it really quick on one of these shows. You also learn how important it is to have a voice and speak up for yourself as it is easy to be swayed when you are just starting out and being given direction by a million different people in the industry.
With that being said, being on a show like X Factor becomes the way people identify you. For some people that is great and what they want, so for them it is a win win. For me, I wanted to take a second and figure out how I wanted to present myself to the world, separate from how they wanted me to come off on the show. So now the challenge is how I establish that by breaking away from that world, while also paying respect to it and the fans that have supported me since that time.
Is there anything specific you learned on X-Factor that has helped shaped the artist you are today? Any advice you received from the mentors?
I just learned a lot about how much work goes into being an artist and how many different opinions you need to be able to filter through. There is so much that happens behind the scenes that you would never think about while watching one of these shows from your living room. It’s incredibly important to find your own artistic voice among all these different opinions – and stick to it.
Tell us about your new single “birds & bees.” What inspired it? What is your writing process like?
In my mind, this song sets the scene for a night out with a bunch of people you don’t necessarily want to interact with, but 1 person you do. It’s about giving into temptation and forgetting about social graces/expectations or what not. It’s quite a free lyric. More bold and direct than I am on a regular basis. I am constantly writing and have a million notes on my phone and notebooks full of lyrics. Usually I have something I started on my own then get into the studio with a producer and flesh out ideas based on what feels right on the given day.
How would you describe your sound for those who are new to your music?
I would describe it as alternative pop/rock. It’s hard to put music into words. I think most of my music has a kinda sultry, guitar driven vibe with a pop sensibility. I spent a long time writing with some amazing pop writers coming out of X Factor so I picked up some invaluable skills without even knowing it. So I can definitely use these tools in the right moments. But I’m all for being as organic as possible with production and as free as possible in terms of arrangement, lyrics, etc.
Who are 3 of your music inspirations?
Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple. Sorry that was 4.
What can the fans expect after this single? Is there an EP or full album coming?
They can expect more music coming out way more consistently. I’ve kept everyone waiting long enough!