Elon University senior Rosie Darling has been writing songs since she was 11, and now is on a mission to release one single a month for the rest of the year.
The singer-songwriter from Canton, Massachusetts dropped her first single, “I Miss U,” in June. Though a strategic communications major minoring in psychology, Darling is sure that music is something she will do for the rest of her life.
Darling drew her inspiration for her debut track from a series of health issues she worked through during Winter Term of last year. Darling took that time to stay home and work on her personal growth as singer; from this time of recuperation and reflection, resulted her single
“It’s actually kind of funny because people always ask me, ‘Who’s that song about — who do you miss?’ Honestly, I literally think it was like I miss myself,” Darling said.
The song begins with the lyrics “It’s really cold out/ I feel it on the inside.” Darling explained that she wrote this song in January when it was cold, miserable and dark all around her.
“I wasn’t happy; I was really frustrated in my own body and with my own health. It was kind of an interpretation of just missing how my life used to be,” Darling said.
Using real-life experiences is the platform upon which Darling’s music is built. Having written music from a young age, Darling had entire songs completed by the age of 14 that detailed the good and bad of her middle school years.
“That’s how I started writing, kind of just with boys and whatever. My songs were always fine for how old I was, but I’d say last year is really when I came into my own [and] had a newfound confidence with putting out the first single,” said Darling.
But breaking into the music industry this year, at the age of 21, was no easy feat. “As a 21-year-old, if you want to be a singer or songwriter, you’re already late,” said Darling.
In an industry where the stars who made their debuts before the ages of ten — such as Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift — control the pop charts, Darling said that it can be tough and, at times, discouraging to have just broken into the industry.
“The way I think of it is physically I came into the industry in June, when I put out my first single, but I already had the experience of writing when I was younger,” Darling said.
Darling explained that if she had put out her material when she wrote it at the age of 11, that’s the image she would’ve created for herself. The image of a girl who wants to sing about boys and nothing else. But those songs, about boys and middle school, Darling says, helped her to get to the point she is at today and to focus in on a specific genre. Darling was able to step into the industry at a later age with both control over her image and an idea of where she wants to go in the future.
Darling described her music as a back-and-forth between electronic pop and future bass. These two genres can come together to form what Darling calls ambient pop music, or pop with electronic undertones.
“I think Rosie has a really unique voice because it doesn’t sound like the average voice you’d hear on the radio,” said Elon senior Cathy Schubert, Darling’s friend and roommate from Elon in Los Angeles. “She has a really big range, but her voice has kind of a soft tone to it. I know people in the music industry think her voice is really unique because of its tone.”
Regardless of musical facets and genres, Darling has one overwhelming goal — to be honest and relatable.
“I don’t want to write songs about boys that 14-year-olds are gonna listen to and cry to their pillow every night. I want to write songs about my friends and breakups in college,” she said. “I want to be relatable to people my own age.”
And when inspiration can’t be drawn from everyday experiences, sometimes Darling has to go looking for it.
“If I’m stumped on lyrics, I’ve gone into weird stores before and tried to look for a specific word that I like. Just one word,” Darling said.
After finding her chosen word, either through hunting at various stores or imagining the things around her as the titles of songs, she runs with the word and tries to build a story behind it.
If that approach doesn’t work, Darling will sit down at the keyboard, play some chords, hum some notes, solidify a melody,and add lyrics afterward. The hardest part for Darling is executing an idea once she gets it stuck in her head. A recent approach she has discovered is not getting up until a song is done.
“If you get up, you lose your creativity, your intention and the story you’re trying to tell,” Darling said. “If a song is left unfinished for too long, you might not ever finish it.”
The songwriting process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. After the music and lyrics have been solidified, Darling has friends in the music program at Elon record vocals for her. One of her latest projects involved the recording of an acoustic version of, “I Miss U.” Darling plans to release a new single every month for the rest of the year. Her newest single, “L.A.” is inspired by her summer spent on the West coast through Elon in LA, is set to be released on Soundcloud on Friday, Oct. 13.
Darling was so inspired by her LA experience this past summer, that she plans to move there after graduation. Though her exact plans are yet to be determined, Darling can say with confidence that her future will involve music.
“I will be writing and singing no matter what,” Darling said. “I will be putting music out, and I will do whatever it takes.”