Rosie Lowe’s debut album, Control, and the EPs and singles that have preceded it, have all mined emotional and psychological disquiet in search of lyrical content and personal solace.
Critical acclaim and millions of plays are almost collateral gains for an artist who makes music with necessary honesty. “I feel like I’m baring everything of myself. It’s not an option for me to not be vulnerable. As soon as I’m feeling strongly about something this [music] is what I turn to.”
One of the singles released ahead of Control, is “Woman”, which, through its precise production and floating vocals, presents another cornerstone of Rosie’s identity. “I’m an absolute feminist in what is a very male-dominated industry,” she says as she introduces a track that has been defined by the music press as a quiet, post-pop anthem for twenty-first century femininity. “For me this is a song for young women, to say ‘yeah, you’re not imagining it, it’s fucking tough out here,’” she adds, with “out here” stretching beyond the music industry and into the “male-dominated, misogynistic society” that has forced women to its edges for so long. “Maybe this is a backlash to what has been part of our system for hundreds of years.”
Control is an apt title for the album’s collection of poised, composed tracks, though the project is evidently as much about release as it is about discipline: “I’ve been dealing with this topic quite a lot for the past few years. When you release an album, you can’t control what happens after that. You just have to let it go.”
And Control will be more open to interpretation than many records this year. The sparse production leaves a blank space between artist and audience that lends intrigue and – perhaps crucially in the age of disposable pop – longevity to an album that will form a vital part of the alt-pop landscape in 2016.
“I wanted this album to be honest and vulnerable and raw. This is my debut; now is my chance.” So far, so good.