by Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
One thing that I love about the Bay Area music scene is that it is always overflowing with talent. As a lover of live music, I like to go see artists do their thang in small intimate spots, because it gives the audience a chance to see them in raw form instead of at big shows where the artist is putting on more of a carefully prepared act.
With that being said, Neah Rose is a singer I first saw and heard within the last year who has an immeasurable amount of raw talent. This captivating West Oakland-raised R&B singer reminds me of a Josephine Baker or an Eartha Kitt, with the seductive yet classy way in which she delivers her lyrics while on stage. She was definitely a crowd favorite at the Black New World, where she has performed, and will be returning on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Zanzi, located at 19 Grand, downtown Oakland, from 7 until 11 p.m. Check her out in her own words if you are not informed about the moves that this songstress has been making.
JR Valrey: When did you discover your love of music? What made you want to become a professional musician?
Neah Rose: I discovered my love for music when I was a child. From what I have heard more than one time is that I wrote my own rap when I was in pre-school and performed it at our promotion ceremony. Also, my father used to be a DJ and he would take me to some of the weddings or kid friendly events that he would DJ at, and I would just be so elated at the music he was playing both at home when rehearsing or at the events. I was and still am super in love with Old School music.
JR Valrey: Who are three singers that you have been inspired by and why?
Neah Rose: I am inspired by Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige and Marsha Ambroious. All three of these women provided a stronger passion for singing and R&B and Soul music. There are a number of other artists that I am inspired by, but those three are my TOP! Anita Baker contributes to the soul I am in love with! Mary J. contributes to the hardship and R&B love that I fell in love with. Marsha contributes to the R&B and vocalism I fell in love with, and the difference in the eras makes a huge impact on my love for being an artist as well.
JR Valrey: Do you write your own music? How long have you been doing that?
Neah Rose: I do write my own music. I have been doing that since as I have mentioned a few questions back, I wrote my first song when I was in preschool. As far as writing and recording, I started doing that sometime in 2012. Since then I have been writing my own music. I have written for other people as well. I can also admit that I am very open to others writing for me. Sometimes, I feel I am the messenger. We all have our different methods of delivery when it comes to certain songs and vibes.
JR Valrey: Can you describe your creative process? For example, do you write daily? Do you like to smoke a blunt then you write?
Neah Rose: Being honest, I don’t write as much as I should. However, when I do write, I tend to go back to previous notes and ideas I put in my notes to see what I can create from that and how I can put things together. I try to think about things I’ve been going through or that I have been through in the past, and I go look up different words to use to write my bars to make it make sense and to make it sound appealing. I do sometimes hit the blunt though to get my creative juices flowing a bit more.
I love interacting with the crowd, and I love when they connect with me.
JR Valrey: How long have you been performing? How do you want the audience to feel after they hear your music or see you perform?
Neah Rose: I have been performing for a while. I don’t even know where to give you a start date, it’s been so long. I used to be in all of the drama classes given at the schools that I attended since I was younger. In middle school, we even wrote and produced our own school album and we wrote our own plays and musicals as well. So to be fair, that’s where it started; so a while ago.
My first big concert was opening up for Snoop Dogg during Super Bowl 50 week, and that performance validated for me with music. After I perform, I want people to be in love with me and my music. I love interacting with the crowd, and I love when they connect with me. The main thing I look for is the connection with the audience.
JR Valrey: You recently rocked the Black New World Last Tuesday of the Month Party a few weeks ago in downtown Oakland at Zanzi. How did you feel rocking that stage? What do you like about the party?
Neah Rose: I personally feel like I did an amazing job! As I was just mentioning, I was able to connect with the crowd and they were loving me! After watching footage, I was especially proud of my performance and the fact that I gained new fans.
What I love most about the Black New World Party is that it gives artists a chance to share their talents and network with one another! It is a very intimate event. It is the intimacy between the audience and the artists, and it ALWAYS has great music. Much respect!
JR Valrey: What do you think about the state of the local R&B scene?
Neah Rose: I think the state of local R&B has definitely changed over the years and eras. However, I think we do have a great amount of R&B artists who still bring the old out of the new, which I believe is pretty dope! There is blatantly a heavy influence on today’s R&B, from generations before the new era of music. I love it though. LOVE still be in the air y’all! LOL
JR Valrey: Are you working on any new music? What does it sound like?
Neah Rose: I actually just recently completed my second album. There’s still some things in the works to work on before it is released but all the tracks are complete and ready to go! My new upcoming album is very Grown & Sexy. With this album you can hear the growth of my music and my voice. And oh yeah, did I mention that it’s Grown & Sexy? I have come a long way, from my first album “Spoiled,” but I generally really love all the work that I do and I am super soaked about dropping my new album some time next year!
JR Valrey: How would you describe your sound to people who have never heard you?
Neah Rose: I would describe my sound as multi-genre. I have R&B music, Hip Hop tracks, and I have written Gospel tracks. (I should probably add a little Pop in there too). I truly believe my music does not fit in just one genre of music. I have been compared to artists such as Left-Eye, Lauryn Hill, and sometimes even Ashanti, based on the first time someone has heard any of my tracks. I can for sure agree with that.
JR Valrey: How can people keep up with you online? How could people listen and purchase your music?
Neah Rose: All of my music is out on all platforms: YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, Facebook, Apple Music, Instagram etc. You name it, you can find it there! Also, I do have a few visuals on YouTube for people to check out. More coming soon! You can also follow me on IG: @officialneahrosemusic.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.