Having grown up around Jon Bon Jovi (who was a friend of her father's), she was given a clear advantage over other aspiring singers, but that doesn't mean she doesn't work just as hard. Her current single "If Love Had a Heart" sees the singer opening up about her numerous heartaches and is a perfect example of the kind of songwriting she is capable of.
Nashville Gab had the chance to chat with the budding singer-songwriter about the song, as well as what it feels like to have Lady Antebellum cut one of her tracks and writing with newcomer Eric Paslay.
Nashville Gab: How many times have you been to CMA Fest?
Rose Falcon: I’ve actually been [here] for several years, back when it was called Fan Fair. One of my sub-moms growing up — my mom passed away when I was young — she worked with the Country Music Association for a long time. She’d always give me passes, and I’d go watch acts. I can remember seeing Georgia Middleman (she’s in the Blue Sky Riders) on stage. I was probably like 10 years old thinking ‘wow, that’s so cool.’ I’ve only performed at CMA Fest last year and then this year. It’s so cool to grow up around it and see it all happening and then to actually be a part of it.
NG: Your single “If Love Had a Heart,” you wrote, right?
RF: Yea, I wrote it with Tommy Lee Jones, a super talented writer. He plays the piano, and he just started playing the opening [lines], and we had the idea. I just felt like ‘oh gosh, I really love this’ right away. I had this feeling before the song was even finished that I loved it. It’s like having a baby when you instantly fall in love with it. [laughs]
NG: What inspired it?
RF: There wasn’t one specific heartache it’s about. Unfortunately, there’s been several. It’s just talking to love basically as if love is a person. ‘Won’t you just be kind to me? Won’t you give me a break here?’
NG: CMT called you one of the “Next Women of Country," and Country Weekly said you were “One to Watch” in 2013. How does that feel?
RF: It’s been really cool, especially with “Women of Country.” I think it’s really important for women to get more attention. The group of girls is just awesome. It ranges all over the spectrum with Kacey Musgraves to Lauren Alaina. I was shocked that I could represent women in the genre where there really aren’t as many women as there are men.
NG: Jon Bon Jovi also called you a “true artist.” What goes through your mind when you hear something like that from an icon?
RF: I thought that was really cool. I’ve had a long relationship with him through my father. So, naturally, he wants to say something kind, but that was far and beyond what I expected. All the time, he’s calling, asking about [me]. He genuinely loves the record. He loves the songwriting, and I couldn’t be more flattered. He’s an incredible performer and a great guy.
NG: Did you see him a lot growing up?
RF: Yea. I got my first record deal when I was 14, and he was the first person I ever sang for other than my dad. He was one of the people that said ‘she’s got something. She’s good.’ Actually, the first time I ever sang in the studio was probably when I was five years old, and I sung on one of my dad’s records. Jon walked in the studio, and I was mortified. That was when he had long Bon Jovi hair. I guess it was ‘80s, early ‘90s. It was like superman walking into the studio. It was very intimidating.
NG: You mentioned you had your first record deal at 14?
RF: Yea, I was signed to Columbia. I had a song that was on Disney.
[Adding:] I was very young. I never really got the chance to think what kind of music I wanted to perform for the rest of my life. It was a great experience. I learned so much. Those songs were really what I was going through at the time as a young girl. Unfortunately, the record came out a little bit later. It kind of sat there and sat there until I was about 18 years old. I felt a little too old to be singing the songs I was singing. Fortunately, I had a lot of interviews and commercials [and] I was able to make a living as a young person. It’s really been a blessing to my life. It gave me the freedom to be a songwriter and discover myself.
NG: You’re currently in the studio. Working on a full-length album?
RF: It’s been a song by song thing because I am a writer. It’s been kind of cool because I’m pretty much a new artist in this genre and really getting recognized. It’s been cool to give people a little bit at a time. They’re just getting to know me. I’m not really sure if it’s [going to be] a full length album. It’s definitely a work-in-progress.
NG: There’s an old saying “you have your entire life to record your first album.” How do you decide what songs to include on a project (even an EP) and what story you want to tell?
RF: Like on this last EP, I pretty much pick my favorites that I was really excited to share. They might not actually be directly relevant to one another, but they were written during the same phase in my life.
NG: Who are your musical heroes?
RF: Well, the standard is Patty Griffin. She’s been a huge influence on me. My first female influence is Fiona Apple. I love Billie Holiday. Patty Loveless, I’m obsessed with her. Reba was a big influence on me as a child.
NG: So, I hear you’re good at spelling.
RF: Oh gosh. No one has ever brought that up before. [laughs] That’s funny, because the girl that I beat [in third grade] was the most popular girl in school. I was never popular, at all. So, that was the one thing I had on her. I had just moved from New York, and I beat her spelling the word “Southern.” I was born to be Southern.
NG: Do you have a plan B if this didn’t work out?
RF: No. I guess whenever people ask me ‘what’s your advice to an aspiring singer-songwriter?’ [It’s] that you can’t have a plan B. I firmly believe that. I’ve never considered another option. Obviously, when I’ve had to make money, I’ve worked so many jobs; you can’t even imagine. Right now, since I was 21, I’ve been able to support myself with music.
NG: Do you read a lot of Sylvia Plath?
RF: I did a lot in my past. It makes me a little depressed. That’s something I indulge in. I just had to quit for a while. It’s kind of depressing.
NG: We lost George Jones earlier this year. He was often described as the “greatest living Country singer.” Who has that title now?
RF: Oh goodness. I think Dolly Parton [would be it]. I look up to her because she’s a songwriter. I don’t think people realize that outside of Nashville. As far as an icon, I think Tim McGraw. He’s created such an image for himself. He’s bound to be legendary.
NG: What are some current artists you are impressed with?
RF: I’ve been really impressed with Kacey Musgraves. I really like Eric Church’s last album. I like Lady Antebellum. They’ve been really nice to me. They cut one of my songs.
[Adding:] It was called “Friday Night.” It was on their last record. Then Eric Paslay has it as a single out now.
NG: How does that feel to have someone on that level cut one of your songs?
RF: Whenever someone else likes one of my songs, it’s validating. That’s the best feeling in the world.
[Adding:] I wrote it with Eric Paslay and Rob Crosby. Rob pitched the work tape, which is not even a demo. It’s a song in its rough form. They cut it off of that. That was so cool because Eric was singing the lead. I was singing the harmony. To hear Hillary [Scott] sing my part was super cool.
NG: What was it like to work with Eric?
RF: Eric and I have come up together. We’re buddies. He’s one of the best songwriters in Nashville. He’s a sweetheart.
Read the full interview here.
Photo Credit: Facebook