The precocious little lady started school early even skipping a grade, and it was during this time that she met another young wunderkind by the name of Alicia Keys. When she and her family moved to Florida, Erika stopped playing piano but her passion and flare for the arts continued. Throughout high school Erika pursued ballet, modern and African dance as well as musical theater. Upon graduation at the age of sixteen, Erika began to express herself thru song, polished her piano skills and picked up guitar.
Reluctantly, Erika curbed her creativity in the pursuit of higher education, attending Boston College for a semester. Soon she realized that her creative aspirations had to be released. The young butterfly auditioned for the University of Miami’s School of Music and received a full scholarship, where she majored in jazz vocals and minored in business. At the age of seventeen she co-penned the yet to be released “A Woman’s Worth” with her longtime friend Alicia.
The song peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 100 from Alicia’s debut album that would later go on to sell ten million copies worldwide. At this time, she also became a part of the Krucial Keys family, who nurtured Erika's creativity when no one else would. The ambitious Erika completed her education in three years, moved back to New York and temporarily became Alicia’s personal assistant, so she thought.
Filling an existing void in Alicia’s camp at the onset of both of their careers moving from assistant to road manager, placed nineteen year old Erika in a precarious situation. The mental tug of war forced her to evaluate her feelings and ambitions. “Is this God testing me to see if music is what I really want or is this God telling me that I’m supposed to be in business? So I went with it and figured there was a lesson to learn.” By 2002, after two years on the road as tour manager with Alicia’s wildly successful debut, Erika’s on the job training left her tired and lost as a spirit. As her friend prepared her sophomore set, Erika whisked off to Spain to regroup and reconnect to her own passion and artistry.
Returning stateside she co-wrote three more songs with Alicia for The Diary of Alicia Keys. Over the next two years, Erika ascended to tour director and project manager as she was transitioning out of her role. Regretting nothing about her experiences, Erika reflectively recalls, “it was a test in some regard to see how badly I wanted music and to see if I would choose myself first because that was not something I had learned to do, I was always doing for everyone else.” But, it would be the knowledge and experience Erika received from overseeing the ins and outs of marketing and promoting a multi-platinum album and several worldwide tours with over 40 employees, that would give her the savvy and tenacity to be able to endure and navigate the unforeseen daily challenges the entertainment industry often presents. Erika Rose is determined.
At the delicate age of twenty-three, Erika Rose stepped out on faith to fully fulfill her dreams and the result has culminated in an eclectic and melodic tale of passion, love and truth from within entitled Rosegarden. Influenced by the artists of her parents generation, the self-professed flower child sites Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Santana, Ani DiFranco, Sade and Joni Mitchell as the inspirations for her fresh, new sound of alternative, rock, pop, soul, jazz, and funk. “Everything I write about comes from what I feel and how I live.” In November 2005 Erika met producer, musician and executive Om’Mas Keith of the group SA-RA through a mutual friend and the two began collaborating on Rosegarden. On the title track, the world-renowned Chops Horns, lend to the authentic 70s sound while the mystical flamenco guitar solo takes you to a gypsy cave in Spain.
This is an intensely sensual song showcasing this bohemian siren’s angelic voice and impeccable harmonic prowess. “I do feel comfortable in my sexiness and in my sexuality. I love how back in the day they could write a beautiful song about sex and it was classy and feminine. I wanted to be able to express myself in that way but still be poetic and make you go to a place that was really personal - a magical, fairytale land that is me and my spirit.” With its pulsating drums, catchy hook and ornamental synth licks, reminiscent of the huge hits that made the sound of the 80’s, “Spell On You” is a female empowered song of seduction that stirs deep with its electric guitar solo.
“Growing up around male figures with a playa persona, it’s the thrill of seeing a guy want you so bad and not being able to have you,” she says of the song. The heartfelt gutsy vocals and spine tingling strings are the centerpiece of the epic power ballad, “Watching the Days Turn to Night” about the passing of time with the love of your life. “The Darkness” is a cinematic and introspective look into Erika. “It is the darkness that lives in all of us - the depression and complete anxiety, sadness and despair.
The hook is: the devil’s a liar, he’s coming for me.” Recognizing it as a place that paralyzes her with fear, “there were so many times where I felt like I was drowning and I realized that those were just lies and the darkness was trying to pull me in, take me away from the light and trick me into thinking that I can’t move forward and achieve my dreams.” Erika Rose reveres in her political and humanitarian beliefs. She is heavily involved in causes for AIDS in Africa and servicing under-privileged youth in America, sitting on the Board of Directors for both Keep A Child Alive and Frum Tha Ground Up respectively. She recognizes her music is a vehicle to express change. With “Be The Change,” the pulsating reggae-rock beat and the underlying syncopation of the guitar meshing together surmounts to take the listener on a journey.
“This song is about how I see the world and what’s going on. Like the influential Mahatma Gandhi, I too feel that we each have to be the change that we want to see in the world.” Erika together with Om’Mas formed Infinity|Le Monde, the company they have established to represent not only their everlasting connection to the music they are creating but also to the infinite possibilities of their connection to the universe. Via their own projects and the artists they plan to produce and release, they are committed to excellence in music and fostering an environment where each artist can feel free to make creative decisions based on instinct, not industry standard. Erika simply wants every ear that hears Rosegarden to be “touched and moved because that’s the beauty of art, it’s a personal experience.
Whether it’s the melody or the lyrics, the music or the rhythm, I just want people to be taken to some faraway euphoric land. Just get high off of the music and go to a really deep place that brings them joy.” Alicia Keys says of her longtime friend, “Erika Rose is a rare jewel just waiting to be discovered! Her style of music is a mixture of life, love, darkness and sensuality in the most refreshingly unexpected package. It leaves you wanting more and I’m lovin it!” Knowing that her creative expression has no limits, Erika Rose describes her blossoming music as freedom. “It doesn’t have to be one thing.
I’m not one thing and I never fit into one box growing up. We all have that capacity for all of humanity inside of us and I just want to bring that out of people by stretching them.” (BG Unlimited, Inc. 1/07) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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