Posted On 07 Feb 2017
British/Jamaican/Nigerian singer-songwriter Bianca Rose has been writing and composing for the best part of a decade.
In 2007 she self- released her debut EP ‘Truth and Tiny Tragedies’, and has continued to collaborate and write songs for other artists ever since. Accompanying herself on guitar and ukulele, Bianca’s live shows have included sets for Sofar Sounds, Tigmus, London Jazz and the CrimeJazz Festival in the Netherlands with additional performances for Playstation, OH TV, & radio play on Radio 1 and 1Xtra. As lyricist in the Ready Riters songwriting collective, Bianca recently co-wrote X-Factor contestant Annastasia Baker’s debut album, resulting in Annastasia’s 2014 Mobo nomination.
Bianca has decided that 2017 is the right time to focus on her own music again, and release some of the songs she’s written over the last few years. The second single taken from her highly anticipated debut album is entitled Because Of Love and features Mobo nominated singer/songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Bianca explains “Ayanna and I collaborated on every part of the creation of this song, from writing to recording, so it only made sense that the video was an extension of this partnership, whilst debunking the stereotype of competition between women. We believe there is a place for us all in this business so we actively make room for one another.”
Her debut album No Fear Here was part-funded by the PRS for Music Foundation and produced by critically acclaimed jazz musician and producer Femi Temowo, (George Benson, Andrea Bocelli, Amy Winehouse, The Roots, ESKA & Soweto Kinch). No Fear Here is an expansive interpretation of the singer songwriter genre, fusing Bianca’s folk/gospel sensibilities with both Bianca and Femi’s African diasporic perspectives. Bianca adds “These songs are snippets of the lessons I’ve learned and am still learning. Some people believe that fear is something we should live with, or that we should use it as motivation to achieve our goals. From my experience, I believe it’s something to be conquered and routed out of every area of our lives. I try to live on a daily mission to seek and destroy all traces of fear and oppression in my life. It’s the only way that’s worked for me.” Because of Love is now available on all streaming platforms and No Fear Here is set to release on January 30th.
Learn more about Bianca in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music? What are you most excited about for 2017? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
Last year was a year of re-ignition. After taking time out from my creative pursuits for a short while, mainly from music, it was amazing to get back in the saddle and find that the love for it is stronger than ever. for 2017 I’m most excited to release this album. I’ve anticipated this moment for what seems like an age, so it’s phenomenal to have an official date which is fast approaching. I didn’t make any resolutions, I actually started my New Year in my head, weeks before Jan 1st so that I wouldn’t have the pressure, and it worked great as by the beginning of the year I’d established a momentum on some of the things I’m focussing on this year.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
I always loved music. I sang at my grandmother’s church with my sister often, that was my first taste. But as a teen I wanted to be a barrister, however when I went to study law at university I found the passion wasn’t there, so I switched to music as singing was the only other things I loved to do.
At the end of this month, you will be releasing your debut album, “No Fear Here.” What does that feel like? How long did it take to put this collection together? What surprised you about the process?
It feels awesome to be releasing something I created into the world. The best and scariest part of creating is the sharing, they’re my musical babies, but I’m excited to see how life looks after I’ve released these songs. These were the first songs I wrote after a difficult period where I felt surrounded by fear and doubt. When I worked my way through those hindrances, these were the very first songs I wrote. It didn’t take long to write the album, the songs kind of poured out of me.
How are the songs on “No Fear Here” different or similar to anything that you have previously released?
This song-cycle is pretty concept driven. They are a reflection on a particular period of time, and a snap shot of some lesson I learnt. My first recorded work ‘Truths and Tiny Tragedies’ was more of a demo EP. That EP was an encapsulation of my first forays as a songwriter.
I understand that for the past few years, you were working as a lyricist. What made you decide that 2017 was the right time for you to focus on your own music again?
Well it’s funny because my life is at its busiest and most fast paced right now, but it’s difficult to explain why I think now is the right time, because it’s actually a feeling. I feel like now is the right time, so I’m following my gut really.
What was the inspiration for your latest single released, “Because Of Love”? What was it like working with the singer Mobo and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson on it?
Love was the inspiration. The idea that one would do pretty much anything when perfect love is present. To me love is the most compelling force there is. It was pure joy to work with Ayanna. She’s been a friend for a few years and we wrote this song as part of an artist retreat we both attended. Ayanna is so passionate as well as a consummate professional, so the whole process of creating the song and visuals was so fun.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
I love John Mayer, Dinah Washington, Lisa Hannigan, Solange, Jonnyswim to name a few. I’d love to work with Laura Mvula and Moses Sumney, I’m so inspired by their work.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I just want my music to be the backdrop to an enjoyable moment. The catalyst for refreshing after a challenging day. I hope that the freedom I experienced after working through a really difficult few years, which then precipitated these songs is some how felt by the listener. perhaps then that season would have been worthwhile.