By Nicholas Jason Lopez
An aqua Fender acoustic guitar rests on beige bedsheets next to a white Valija clutch bag that reads, “be MIND-FULL not mind-less.”
A picture taken on March 13 for Instagram, Madeline Rosene wrote, “Learning to be more mindful. I think it starts with making sure you’re only saying ‘Yes’ to things you truly want to do. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you want to do. Take your time, trust yourself, be honest with yourself, believe in yourself, and you will start saying yes to the right things.”
It received 11 comments and 220 likes, not bad considering at press time, the Indie Pop Singer/Songwriter has 51,100 Instagram followers.
“I think a huge advantage [to social media] is having people actually listen to your music and having a base where you can test things out on and see if people like it and get genuine feedback,” said Rosene. “I think social media in general is helpful for that, just spreading the word about your music. Even as a performer, I think it’s just so great to have a platform where people will listen to you, because before social media, it was much harder to get that.”
That sort of following can also come with its disadvantages, but she turns it into a positive that showcases her humorous personality.
“There’s definitely a lot of weirdos on social media,” Rosene said. “I do this thing called ‘Daily DMs’ where once a week, I’ll pick one of the DMs I’ve gotten throughout the week that’s been like creepy or silly or something and I’ll read them out loud. Usually it’s like some weird dude hitting on me, lying and saying crazy stuff and people really get a kick out of it.”
The Hampshire College graduate had no guitar when she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an editorial career. She had no plans to make music.
“I just wound up playing some songs for people and they were like, ‘Are you crazy? You should be playing music, you should keep pursuing that. You’re a songwriter,’ so I got back into it,” Rosene said.
The hardest part of a musician’s beginning can be the decision to begin itself. There are times she struggles with self-doubt, but being surrounded by other “dream pursuers” in Los Angeles has made it easier for her to see her own as reality.
Her influences range from female singer-songwriters like Alanis Morrissette, Liz Phair and Fiona Apple to rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Modest Mouse and Nirvana. She has even produced her own music videos from “Short and Sweet” and recent release “Drunk Text.”
“I was like ‘You know what, someone needs to write a song about drunk texting because nobody’s done this,'” said Rosene. “Then I was thinking about it from different angles and I was like ‘No, I need to go with the angle that’s specific to me and how I feel about it and things that have happened to me’ and that song is kind of about wishing someone would drunk text you, which is kind of embarrassing and stupid.”
A trademark of Rosene’s music is her fun, tongue-in-cheek lyricism. Her songwriting process is based off a mix of spontaneous thoughts and her daily encounters. Having performed at notable venues from Arlene’s Grocery and Rockwood Stage in New York City to the Hotel Cafe, Los Gobos, The Viper Room and The Other Door in Los Angeles, her main goal’s the same no matter where she plays – evoke emotional reactions from her listeners, whether’s it’s laughter, apathy or sadness.
“I think sometimes the best songs are when you just don’t care what other people really think and just say what you actually feel,” said Rosene. “Usually, I’ll come up with a good melody first and the lyrics are spaced around it.”
An example of this is based on the myriad of fan reactions for a new song she has almost finished called “Guys In L.A..”
“It’s about how you can’t trust them, but the same thing could be said for girls in L.A.,” said Rosene. “When I first moved out here, I was single and I think it was just inspired by my dating experiences. I noticed that a lot of my friends were having similar issues. People flake a lot here and they ‘ghost’ people and [I was] listening to all of these terrible stories, so I wrote this song. It’s funny because when I play this song live, people either start cracking up and think it’s hilarious or they start weeping.”
She’s hard at work recording a full-length album in San Diego. Her plan is to first release a few singles. Some songs she’s excited about are “The Fucked Up Song” (described as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” meets Keith Urban’s “Red Solo Cup”) and “Late.”
“I’m excited about ‘Late’ because I think it’s gonna be really, really relatable for people who haven’t hit their break yet and are just waiting for that to happen and are working towards it,” said Rosene.
For Rosene, the grind never stops. That’s how she likes it. Nevertheless, she’s always thankful for all her followers. They’ve ultimately been a part of her success.
“I’ll never be seen or heard without the people who are seeing and hearing me and appreciating it for whatever reason,” said Rosene.