Rosalie James writes, records and produces music. Singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist, miserabilist…
Rosalie was born in Cornwall, in the far South West of the UK. She had a musical upbringing; her childhood memories are of climbing trees and reading books with an eclectic soundtrack on a bright yellow Sony Walkman including The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, The Bangles, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Rosalie’s father, always a working roadie and musician, toured the US with The Grateful Dead and other bands during the 1970s, creating the belief that life as a musician was only a small step away. She started learning the piano at 5 and the guitar at 15 and sang to anyone who would listen. Rosalie started out creating song and dance routines to Madonna and Michael Jackson, then grew out of that and spent hours moodily playing guitar along with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nirvana, U2, The Lemonheads and REM. Rosalie’s teenage years were spent obsessing over Suede, Blur, Elastica, Sleeper, Pulp, The Divine Comedy, The Longpigs and The Super Furry Animals, although she never realised her dream of fronting an indie band or of marrying Evan Dando. Her guilty pleasure remains the earnest and emotional synthpop of the 1980s – a night out often ends in raucous karaoke renditions of Spandau Ballet and Tears for Fears.
In the early 2000s Rosalie began writing and recording in ambient/down-tempo electronica duo Delaware with guitarist and producer Benjamin Morgan. Although Delaware played very few gigs, one song ‘I Can Get Out’ was used in US series The Black Donnellys, sparking a long-running ambition to get a song on Grey’s Anatomy. Rosalie has since performed in various bands, building her confidence as a songwriter, pianist and backing singer. She formed pop-folk band All the Fires in 2008 and performed as lead singer in Cornwall and around the UK to a steadily growing and loyal fan base. All the Fires released their debut album ‘Territories’ in 2012 to popular acclaim but the band ended in early 2013 – a subject Rosalie will talk about at length if required to but would much rather leave to your imagination.
Rosalie’s live shows are an unusual mixture of melancholy and mischievousness. Her voice and her songs can be heart-breaking, but coupled with a wry, sardonic humour and a propensity for candid on-stage revelations about depression, religion, heartbreak, television and substance abuse it makes for an interesting show. Rosalie’s love of eighties and nineties music remains and she makes no apology for including her own versions of popular hits by Kate Bush, Radiohead, Billy Bragg, The Cure, The Eagles and many others in her set. These sit comfortably alongside Rosalie’s own compositions, in which the influence of songwriters such as Carly Simon, Regina Spektor, Leona Naess and Polly Paulusma is clearly felt. Rosalie says that she has repeatedly tried to give up music but that it just won’t seem to go away. However, her joy in writing and performing both her own and others’ songs is evident and what is guaranteed is that in every performance Rosalie gives you a little piece of herself to take away with you.