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Produced by Dave Okumu (The Invisible, Grace Jones, Jessie Ware) and featuring The P Funk Choir of Jamie Woon, Jamie Lidell, Jordan Rakei and Kwabs, ‘Bird Song’ marks a new dawn for Rosie Lowe. The track was inspired, says Rosie, by ideas of “lust and desire, but with the lingering sense of insecurity and longing.” In its warmer, sensual and cosmic textures, ‘Bird Song’ acts as the perfect window into Lowe’s second album, ‘YU’ - a record that asks bigger questions of how the heart and mind works, and ultimately finds power through opening up both.
A songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ, Rosie Lowe’s work digs into a richly complex mix of musical and emotional experiences. On debut album ‘Control’ she was striding out alone, tackling politics, feminism and modern relationships. But if ‘Control’ was about self, ‘YU’ – says Rosie – “is about other. I wanted to write about my experience of sharing my life with another as a lover, friend and partner.” These are intensely songs of the mind, which makes sense after all when you consider the fact that Lowe is also training in psychotherapy. And it’s a process of analysis which allows ‘YU’ the broader scope to interrogate life as a twentysomething in London, as a woman empowered and in control.
As much as it pushes into new sounds and stories, ‘YU’ also sees Rosie Lowe look back on her life, and all those things that make ‘YU’. She grew up as one of six kids in rural Devon, having learnt the saxophone young (which she still plays and adores) and been exposed to a broad mix of soul, jazz, funk and R&B; influences which come to glorious fruition on her second album, where inspiration ranges from Childish Gambino, Gabrielle Garzon Montano and Thundercat to childhood heroes like Ella Fitzgerald or Charlie Parker. Lowe realised early on, too, that love was a fragile, difficult thing, her parents splitting up resulting in weekends spent living out of a bag. Time spent at Goldsmiths and later working behind the scenes at big labels reinforced Rosie’s need to operate outside of the regular rules (whether in relationships or making music). One listen to ‘YU’ and the strength achieved when you broaden these horizons becomes immediately apparent – which for Lowe, in part involved allowing others in more. Released in collaboration with Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone and reuniting Rosie with producer and co-writer Dave Okumu, the record also features a rare appearance from Jay Electronica, The P Funk Choir, and leading lights across the UK’s dance and jazz circles (Floating Points, Shabaka Hutchings, Alfa Mist).
Despite its richly classic feel, what’s emerged on ‘YU’ is an album on thoroughly modern, twenty-first-century love: its childhood myths and more pragmatic realities, its utopias and difficult weathers. Those moments when you find out how you are, who you are, and if you’re brave enough, you let it all bleed through. On her stunning second album, ‘YU’, Rosie Lowe has also done just that.
2. The Way
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