Elizabeth Mencel, better known by her stage persona ROZES, is back with her signature crown of blooms and her newest single, “Call Me.” Produced in collaboration with Alicia Keys’ She Is The Music team, the new song is a call-to-action to spread awareness about mental health.
The inspiring songstress has been vocal about her own battle with mental health and wanting to be there for those who share similar struggles. It’s why she released “Call Me” after Mental Health Awareness Month—to drive home the message that this subject needs to be talked about all year round.
In celebration of her powerful new single, we chat with ROZES about her illuminating musical journey, her desire to empower, and what makes her happy.
ETN: What was a day in your childhood like growing up in musically inclined household?
ROZES: It was distracting, to say the least! All I ever wanted to do was play guitar or piano, and skip out on studying or homework. There was always some sort of music playing, whether it was the radio or someone practicing their instruments.
ETN: What is the story behind the name “ROZES”?
ROZES: My grandmother’s name is Rose, so I wanted to name my music after her. She was always my No. 1 fan and I feel that I owe a lot of my musical passion to her.
ETN: You’ve spoken about your parents introducing you to jazz music that influenced you as a musician. But is there anything besides artistry that influences or inspires you?
ROZES: I am always influenced by natural life: friendships, relationships, love, heartbreak, my struggles with mental health. I always want to write what is most true to me. I think that’s what is so amazing about being a songwriter: I get to tell my stories.
ETN: Describe your journey from Montgomeryville and your brothers’ part in your career path.
ROZES: My brothers were always in rock bands together growing up, and I always admired it and wanted to do the same thing. I started writing music in eighth grade, and would force my brothers to sit down and listen to my songs. It got to a point where my oldest brother, Paul, said, “Okay, I’ll manage you and we will put together an EP.” So my other brother, Pat, helped co-write/produce my EP. It’s kinda just been like that since then. It’s a method that works and that I trust. They got signed to a label and started touring. I kept writing, but it got busy for them to sit down and help me. I attended college and was releasing songs on SoundCloud, and everything just took off from there. I hate to say I was “discovered,” because it feels like it takes away from the hard work and hustle I have always put into my music. Paul still manages me, and Pat still co-writes and produces a lot of my music. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I am forever thankful.
ETN: What drove you to become a mental health advocate? Any organization/program you’re working on/with towards this cause?
ROZES: I have always struggled with my mental health. I battle anxiety and depression every day, and at times, I feel so alone in it (which I know is my depression). I like to think I have always dealt with my struggles in a healthy way. I’ve been on medications and in therapy for as long as I can remember, and I think it’s important that while artists speak up about mental health, they talk about the ways to get help, too. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way. To end the stigma, we must talk about mental health in its entirety, from the struggle to the coping mechanisms, which is what I plan to do as an artist with a platform.
ETN: Your new song, “Call Me,” addresses mental health and you’re releasing it after Mental Health Awareness Month for a specific reason. How do you hope your music will help people experiencing similar struggles?
ROZES: I hope that people can see that not only do I struggle with mental health, but also I actively seek help. I want to set an example. I want everyone to know that there is help out there, and that everyone is deserving of it.
ETN: You worked with Alicia Keys on “Call Me” with an all-women team. How was your experience with Miss Keys and her She Is The Music camp, on the heels of “Halfway There” being chosen as the Women’s March 2019 anthem?
ROZES: Being a part of this camp has been such an amazing experience—one of my favorites as an artist so far. I’ve heard people say, “Never meet your heroes because they’ll let you down,” but meeting Alicia was everything I could’ve imagined. She is so empowering and inclusive, supportive and nurturing. The whole experience changed me for the better—I learned to not just speak, but to take action. It’s been a surreal whirlwind. Having “Halfway There” as the Women’s March Alliance’s anthem was a dream come true. It put action to my words and it showed people understood the message. I feel so honored to have been able to stand among these incredible women and make a difference, inside and outside of the studio.
ETN: What’s next for ROZES? (Tour or album?)
ROZES: I have lots of music ready for this summer, and hopes to be touring! I can’t wait to show everyone!
ETN: Do you have plans to branch out into ventures beyond music?
ROZES: I have many business plans in mind for the future! I have hopes to start my own brand of rosé!
ETN: Let’s talk about the floral headbands you wear almost everywhere. Are they your signature fashion?
ROZES: Yes! I always wear a gold rose crown. It’s gotten smaller over the years—I think as I mature, the crown will, too. I love being able to look into the crowd and see people wearing crowns. I think it’s a fun thing that can unite us all!
ETN: I read that you love watching makeup tutorials. Any favorite channels? Do you love doing your makeup?
ROZES: Ha! Yes. I love watching makeup tutorials, although I am terrible at doing my makeup. I follow a couple makeup influencers, but I think my favorite is @ling.kt.
ETN: Is there a special someone in your life right now?
ROZES: I have three special someones: my two dogs, Nala and Noel, and my boyfriend Brendan.
1. When I’m not working on music, I am…
Playing with my dogs, or planting succulents.
2. My favorite bop at the moment is…
“Blur” by Mø and Foster The People.
3. A guilty pleasure food I can’t resist is…
4. Favorite TV show/movie:
5. Languages I know / Cultural heritage:
Spanish, but I need to practice it more.
6. The one thing I can’t live without is…
My family and dogs.
7. Celebrity crush:
I can’t think of one! Ugh!
8. Biggest pet peeve:
9. The most annoying habit I have is…
Saying “what?” Even if I’ve heard someone.
10. Favorite fashion brand:
For Love & Lemons.
11. My dream vacation would be…
12. Dream collaboration/artist I hope to write a song for: