Rising Singer-Songwriter Blake Rose Says Ed Sheeran ‘Lit the Biggest Fire Underneath Me’
Since Blake Rose started busking as a teen, he became determined to make music his career. Growing up in Perth, Australia, his first step was to move to where he felt the industry was: Los Angeles. “When I first started traveling to America, that hustle was crazy,” he says, recalling how he would stay until he ran out of money, then return home to gig and go door to door selling his CDs. “I would raise enough money, come back to L.A. and when it ran out I’d go back, just rinse and repeat.”
Now, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter has a permanent residence in L.A. – and a budding career to tend to. The February release of his second EP, You’ll Get It When You’re Older, out on AWAL, earned him his first late night spot on The Late Late Show With James Corden and an opening gig on the UK/Ireland leg of Mimi Webb’s upcoming tour. “Half the time after each show, I’m replying to every fan that sends me a message,” says Rose. “I’m just trying to create a community as I’m growing.”
Blake Rose didn’t grow up in a musical family. “My parents weren’t even necessarily music fans, per se,” the Australian singer-songwriter admits. He grew up on Elvis (the one artist his parents did listen to often) and throwback radio stations that played hits from the ’80s. But without any direct connection or apparent path to becoming an artist himself, he says, “I think I was just delusional. There wasn’t really a story that I followed of someone close to me that had gone from nothing to becoming a superstar or something like that.”
He did, however, see a similarity between him and one superstar in particular: Ed Sheeran. Rose says like Sheeran, he too got his start in music by busking. During a family road trip through Australia, at one of the caravan parks Rose noticed a younger kid sitting at the communal campfire singing songs with his guitar for tips. “I was like, ‘Ah, I could try this out.’” (At the time, Rose needed to raise money to send himself on a school trip to Sri Lanka.)
At the family’s next stop in Cairns, Rose auditioned for – and received – a busking permit and after his first day made $300. “It kind of shifted my mindset drastically, like, ‘Oh shit. I could actually do this.’ Soon after, when Rose was 15, he went to see Sheeran in concert – and it accelerated his ambition. “I came back from that show, bought a loop pedal and was doing that for like, six months. It lit the biggest fire underneath me.”
Rose quickly became aware he could only take a career in music so far on his own. “I knew that I needed management simply from the Justin Bieber story,” he says. “Scooter Braun was such a huge part of it — so I was introduced at a young age to the fact that you need a manager to help you get to the places you want to get to.”
He says he wasn’t actively seeking management, but also admits, “I kind of had no idea what I was doing.” He always had an eye on Los Angeles, so he started traveling to the U.S. frequently to make connections. “I was just trying to insert myself into a world where the music industry exists and hope that the right opportunities would arise,” he says. He experienced some “very sketchy” management situations early on, before meeting Amanda Samii (then at Kobalt) at an event, who introduced him to Best Friends Music’s Brandon Goodman.
“I played hard to get with Brandon for a few months,” recalls Rose, who started working with Goodman in 2018. “I knew in my gut that Brandon was the guy, but I needed to make sure that I explored all my options first. So I circled back to Brandon a few months later and I was like, “Man, let’s do this.” And he was a huge part in building the team around me: He introduced me to my lawyer and then we got a publishing deal and then [he] introduced me to AWAL. And we just went from there.”
In 2021, Rose released his debut EP, A World Gone By, and this February followed it up with You’ll Get It When You’re Older, an especially vulnerable seven-track project that drew inspiration from his sister’s struggle with addiction. “With the last record, though it was still a personal record, a good chunk of those stories weren’t necessarily autobiographical,” says Rose. “They were stories I’ve made up or heard from someone else that I wanted to put into a song, mixed among stories that were about me. On this record, every song is about something that’s happened in my life – and I’m talking about a story that I’ve lived with for a very long time, that I’ve been hesitant to share.”
He says while writing When You’re Older he would send his family songs “gradually” so that they had a sense of what was coming. But it wasn’t until one month before the EP arrived that they had a proper conversation about how honest he should be. “I still had the option of being ambiguous, which I’ve done in the past because I wasn’t ready to talk about it and I didn’t want my sister to feel like I was throwing her under the bus because she was still in the depths of it,” he explains. “And luckily now, she’s coming out the other side and I feel like this is a much better time to start sharing that story.”
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