It’s unusual these days for a voice you haven’t heard before to cut like a thorn. That, however, is the immediacy of Baby Rose’s talent. The 25-year-old Atlanta-based artist’s voice is deep yet vulnerable; husky and cavernous, as if it has a trapdoor reaching to Nina Simone depths. So it’s surprising to learn that Rose used to get “teased in school” for having such unique pipes.
Good job she persevered. Her 2019 debut album, To Myself, went relatively unnoticed across the pond, but her profile is ramping up. She contributed to Dreamville’s Grammy-nominated compilation Revenge of the Dreamers III, signed to Island Records, and recently completed the twin rites of passage for breaking artists: a Colors performance and an NPR Tiny Desk concert (one of the most arresting we’ve seen so far).
Rose has been dubbed “the new voice of R&B”, alongside up-and-comers such as Ari Lennox, with whom she has also toured, but Rose’s sound is less adorned, her songs mere dressing for her gauzy introspection. Tracks like Ragrets have shades of Amy Winehouse’s heavy-lidded soul, but Rose’s album is mainly gentle ballads of piano and strings.
She has said that To Myself is her internal struggle about whether “I’m going to evolve or whether I’m going to digress”, but there’s no going back now. By the sounds of it, Baby Rose is in full bloom.