Born in Boston, the indie-pop artist known as Rosie Darling has garnered a following since releasing her debut EP, Coping, last year. Now, after moving to Los Angeles and doing a large bulk of her songwriting during the era of COVID-19, Darling has shifted musical gears to release a more sunny and upbeat record for her sophomore EP.
Titled Golden Age, Rosie Darling’s latest project encapsulates feelings of isolation, looking for connection, and the regret of wasted time while remaining light and vibrant in its melodies and production choices. Inspired by artists like Halsey and Phoebe Bridgers, Rosie Darling is an amazing new addition to the indie-pop music genre, and Golden Age solidifies it.
Pop Crave spoke with Rosie Darling about her sophomore EP, Golden Age, latest single, “What a Convincing Illusion,” and her love for all things Taylor Swift.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of your sophomore EP, Golden Age! In only three words, how would you describe the record?
My gosh, three words. Okay, well, it’s really exciting that it’s coming up. I’ve been working on it for a really long time, especially through COVID and everything… I feel like it’s warm, I feel like it’s refreshing, and I feel like it’s upbeat!
The title track, “Golden Age,” is a gorgeous song! What made you decide that it would be the title of the EP?
I think that the name kind of lends itself to an era, like the Golden Age, but I think after COVID and how it’s still going on… I think that just a lot of people struggled and missed out on things. I definitely missed out on going home for certain family things or big life events. I just thought, “Where are the best years of your life?” And I don’t know, I just thought it was kind of representative of the times.
“What a Convincing Illusion” is one of my favorite songs from the EP, and it’s also going to be the upcoming single from the project! Could you explain the meaning behind the song and what it personally means to you?
Yeah, I started writing that with my friend Savannah [Sgro]. We had the first verse because there’s a lot of cool rhymes in it, like “I was just an option, not your object of affection.” That song kind of took a while to write; we had the first verse and then we came back to it and tried to write a chorus. It kind of came together over probably a few months. Lyrically, I just really liked the verses. I mean, I love the whole song, but I feel like that song for this EP is a balance between the first EP and then some of this newer stuff. It’s kind of reminiscent of Coping and like “Witness” in that sort of lyrical world… I feel like it’s sort of the halfway point between the more upbeat stuff while still having some of the old Rosie.
“Fucked Up Summer” is a catchy bop! How did that song come about and what was the songwriting process for that one like?
Yeah, I love that song. I wrote that with a few people a couple years ago, and it was when I first moved to LA… It was kind of a whirlwind. Everybody had been telling me that I sounded like Halsey for a long time. I mean, I still get that a lot, and I take it as a compliment. Obviously, I love Halsey and am a big fan… I met her in Whole Foods by chance, and I was like, “Oh my God, that’s really cool!” I was listening to a lot of her music because people had said I sounded like her, so I was kind of on a Halsey kick – and then I went to a session. They had this cool guitar loop, and it sounded kind of like an older Halsey vibe. It was just really inspiring. We wrote it really fast that day, and then at the time I was still developing myself – like, my sounds and just the lyrical world that I was in at the time. It wasn’t a fit for me. I was like, “I don’t know if I would release this.” And then obviously, as I’ve grown and taken more chances with certain productions and lyrics too, we produced it differently to match my project. I always felt like the song was really special. I just didn’t know at the time if it was for me, but then after working on it and kind of redoing some production and rearranging a few things, I feel like it definitely is. I mean, I wrote it.
Is there a song from the Golden Age EP that you would say is your personal favorite?
I love “Say Less”! I just love it. It’s short; it’s like a minute and a half. It’s not like a full song. It’s just like a rant, and I just love it. I like that it doesn’t really follow any rules, and I like that it is just kind of a rant. It just makes you want to listen to it on repeat. I just love it! I love that one. I love it. Yeah, that’s my favorite [laughs].
Most of these songs were written during the peak of the global pandemic, and I know a lot of your music touches on themes of feeling isolated and looking for connection. How do you think experiencing the pandemic has affected your work as an artist?
Living in LA, I’ve been pretty introverted. Even before the pandemic, when I moved here, I was obviously networking and meeting people, but I feel like I’ve always had a good intuition about kind of knowing myself and not getting pulled into the scene or things like that. The pandemic was obviously way more isolating than anybody probably thought it would be, and that definitely affected me, but I think I had more time to work on stuff and go even deeper into my own feelings, or storytelling, or whatever you want to call it. I feel like it kind of gave me more time and an opportunity to dig really deep, because everybody was feeling so isolated and alone. I feel like those emotions were very much amplified, but I definitely feel like the songs were written during that time, and you can almost tell a little bit with “Golden Age” and maybe “Say Less,” but some of them aren’t. They’re not all defined by the pandemic, which I think is good to have a balance, you know?
Who are some music artists currently inspiring you right now, and is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with in the future?
I mean, I always tell people that I want to collaborate with LANY because I love them so much! Recently, I love Julia Wolf. I think she’s so talented. I’m, like, obsessed. I’ve been listening to a lot of her. And then, I mean, definitely Phoebe Bridgers and all of the usual… like Taylor Swift!
I saw your Taylor Swift tweet.
Oh my God, I literally read that tweet and was dying laughing. My planner in middle school, I would cut out pictures and glue them into my planner. I was the Taylor Swift girl. Like, it was me and this other girl, and we bonded and became friends – literally because of Taylor Swift! Everyone is obsessed now, and it’s just so funny because at the time it’s not that it wasn’t cool to like her, but it was like, “Why?” And it’s like, “Are you kidding? She’s Taylor Swift!” It’s just funny because I don’t feel the need to run around and be like, “I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift!” Like, I’m an OG. I literally cried at my first concert, and I went to see her when she opened up for Keith Urban. I’m an OG! I love Taylor Swift [laughs]!
Is there an album Taylor Swift hasn’t released yet that you’re most excited for?
I definitely love the first ones because that’s what hooked me, like with “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Love Story” and all that, but I was also in my freshman year of college when 1989 came out. I lived in an all-girls dorm, and that is all we listened to. You would walk up and down the hallway and hear a different song playing, and then you’d hear the same one and be at the end of the hall. That album just makes me think of those times, and they’re just all so good. I love 1989… and Speak Now! She’s got too many… too many bangers.
Beginning September 29, you’ll be on the I’m Not Crying, You Are tour with Caleb Hearn! What’s been your favorite part about planning the tour so far, and what are you most looking forward to once the tour starts?
Well, it’s my first tour. I think it will be a whole whirlwind of that time, but I just started to design some merch for the tour, which I’m really excited about. I have like half of my set done. So, I’m kind of putting together the rest of it. I’m just excited to have fun, get up there, and do what I know I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve only done like a couple of shows, but it always feels daunting until you’re there and then it’s okay. Like, “I’m here and I’m going to be present for the next 45 minutes!” It’s really special, and I think it forces you to be present. I think I have a hard time being present sometimes, so it’s good. I’m excited. It’s like a new uncharted territory that I haven’t really fully experienced, so I’m excited to learn.
TikTok is definitely impacting the music industry in a major way, including giving a lot more artists a platform for audiences to find their music. How important would you say it is in today’s digital world for music artists to now have a strong social media presence?
I’m not a numbers person, and I’m not a math person. I don’t like to think too much about it. Also, I’ve been putting videos of myself on YouTube since I was 12, so I’ve been in the posting world for a while. I feel like there are pros and cons. Obviously, like, there’s so many pros, but I’m not obsessed with figuring out an algorithm and paying all my attention to that. I feel like if you have good music, it will translate. I’m somebody who doesn’t post every day, and I typically don’t post trends and things like that, because they’re trends. They come and go, and I don’t want 10 seconds of fame. I want a career that will be able to sustain itself.
I haven’t been against it. It is somewhat of a priority, like on some things, but it’s not the end-all be-all for me. Luckily, I’ve kind of stuck to that in some ways, and with my songs and stuff, my streaming is still definitely doing really well. I think that sometimes I wonder, “Oh, well if I posted every day and shoved content down people’s throats, where would I be?” I don’t think you’re supposed to be an overnight success. I don’t think that that’s normal. I mean, it’s becoming the new normal, but I’m somebody that wouldn’t be okay with that. I’d be like, “I need time to adjust!”
I definitely think TikTok is great. I do. I just tend to get really turned off by seeing the same gimmicky video. Even when I’m thinking about who I maybe want to collab with, I definitely consider that stuff… I don’t think your whole life should be a marketing strategy, you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s weird. Even when I see stuff that’s like, “Oh, let’s talk about how fun TikTok is when you’re not doing it for views,” I’m like, “This is backwards! You’re still doing it for the views!” Like, you’re just finally getting this, and there’s nothing wrong with it, you know what I mean? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it; I just tend to have a hard time staying present anyways, in my real life.
If something’s gonna pull me out of my moment in real time, it has to be for a good reason. I don’t want to be taken out of the moment. We do spend so much time on social media already; I don’t need more apps to pull me out, you know what I mean? Like, I love TikTok and I definitely scroll on it, and I think it’s so entertaining and hilarious, but I just try to be mindful when I use it. I definitely don’t want to show my entire life. I just want to talk about music, share my music, and have that translate. That’s what I try to focus on. When I’m posting videos, I’m not showing all these random parts of my life. Personally, I just feel like that would give me anxiety, but I love posting music and things like that. That’s just what I use it for. I kind of use it in my own way… It’s such a topic of conversation. I could talk about it for, like, all day [laughs].
What do you want to say to all the fans who have been heavily anticipating Golden Age?
Definitely a big thank you. I have not been able to go out and tour or anything. The fact that people are still streaming it, listening, buying merch, and DMing me being like, “I just found your song,” or “I bought a ticket to your show,” I’m like, “This is so cool!” Because I feel like I’m not. I’m not out here 24/7 promoting it. I’m promoting it, but I’m not, like, touring. I’m not doing the normal things that you do, you know, so it’s really cool that it’s still translating. So, definitely a big thank you. I’m working on some fun merch that I think people will like, and I’m just excited. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing people’s reactions and seeing which songs they latch on to the most. Like I said, I have my favorites. So, I’m kind of curious to see what people gravitate toward!
Rosie Darling’s new EP, Golden Age, is out now.