Black Rose Maze – Joyful CollaborationsTuesday, 11th August 2020
Vocalist Rosa Laricchiuta got her big push through the door when she appeared on La Voix [The Voice]. It provided a launching pad for her, with eventually included being a part of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and signing a record deal with Frontiers Music. The end result of that partnership is the recently released self-titled effort by Black Rose Maze. A hard-rocking debut that captures the essence of more classic rock while giving it a modern finish. We chatted with Laricchiuta prior to the release about her back story from La Voix and TSO, playing hockey, who else she’d like to collaborate with, and her future goals.
Dead Rhetoric: How did you get your start in singing?
Rosa Laricchiuta: I didn’t really know I wanted to be a singer. It’s so simple…I just went to karaoke and fell in love with it. I was really taken aback by the performance, the emotion, the crowd, and that feeling. I was like, “Oh my God! What is this? I’ve never experienced anything like this before!” I sang a Madonna song, safe and easy you know, and the crowd went nuts and people were like, “you’re so good,” I guess I had it in me to perform. Since then, I haven’t stopped [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Black Rose Maze to someone unfamiliar with the band?
Laricchiuta: It’s a new band, just put together. It’s a mix of everything. It’s like a pizza. The cheese would be me, because it’s the best part [laughs]. It’s a collaboration, for one – a mix of old and new. I say old and new, because lyrically the songs talk about my past. It was emotionally deep, just the trials and tribulations of just going through life.
Then it talks about the now – because I collaborated with another writer and her songs were more powerful and independent lyrically. Then there is the melodic rock, which is really cool. It’s a mix of maybe a little bit of hard rock but it’s definitely next level for me, as an artist. I never thought that I would write or make an album that was this deep. For me, it’s the deepest thing I’ve done.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel was most important in bringing Black Rose Maze to life?
Laricchiuta: I only wrote one EP before this, and I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write, and was going more in metaphors. This time, I have to say, it’s the real genuine me coming out. I’m writing about the real stuff. My emotions, my past – it feels really good that I let it out. I don’t know why I waited so long.
Dead Rhetoric: What are you most proud of with Black Rose Maze?
Laricchiuta: My biggest goal in life is to collaborate with other artists. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m a hockey player. I’m from Montreal and I’m a winter girl. I love hockey and playing on a team. I’m a team player so I love collaborating with other artists. I love it. I learn so much, and I just want to keep learning and keep growing. It’s very rewarding to be amongst other artists, and I get to step out of my comfort zone, which I love. I love to be put on the spot, or to be in situations where it’s my first time – either in writing or with life as well. I like to try things and new experiences for the first time. I love the unknown.
So I’m most proud of the fact that I really put together a great team of artists and musicians, as well as singers and writers – it’s a big mix of everything. I’m really proud because I didn’t know if I could pull it off. Maybe someone wouldn’t be interested – sometimes you have doubts as an artist or writer. You don’t know what you are going to get. Now that it’s finished, I got more than what I wanted. I have succeeded in the little details and collaborations that I wanted to get for this album.
The cherry on the cake is that I went to record this album in Italy. I’m Italian, I wasn’t born in Italy, but my parents were. I hadn’t been to Italy in a long time. It really hit home, and it was an incredible feeling when I landed in Italy that day and I knew I was there for music. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be recording an album in Italy. It was extraordinary.
Dead Rhetoric: You said you were a hockey player. Do you do that alongside of music?
Laricchiuta: I don’t play full-time. I used to play hockey but I stopped when I was in my twenties because I started touring the world. I can’t play anymore because I don’t know if adult teams exist. I just play with retired government players, ex-cops, and my husband is a royal mountain police officer so sometimes they put their teams together and I’ll be the only girl. I’m always the only girl [laughs]. We start out with like 3-4 girls and then everybody leaves. Then they are like, “Wow, she’s really good [laughs]!” But yeah, I don’t play as much as I’d like to. I only play in the winter and maybe once every week or two.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned the teamwork aspect; do you see any other parallels between hockey and being a touring musician?
Laricchiuta: I’m not sure. I love touring because it’s like a family. I just love being in a group. It brings me so much joy, because it’s like we are all in it together. It’s tough, because I love to be alone, but that’s to stay grounded. Then there’s that side of me where anything I do in life that’s serious, like an album, work, or artistry – I’m always surrounded by a team. I always lean towards loving being around people more than anything.
I feel like I am by best, as a woman, artist, and performer, when I am in a team/group/band. I get more creative. The connections are incredible and the good energies are amazing. But I’m all about feel. I’m sure that every artist/performer is as well, but I’m so big on feeling. I can walk into a room and tell you, ‘this side is good, this side is negative’ I feel everything. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but other times it’s rewarding. That’s what I juggle with. Imagine being in groups all the time. On tour, I have to say is the most difficult. You are around the same people every single day. It’s really important to find ways to stay grounded. I get that in my sports and exercise.
Dead Rhetoric: What stands out from your experience with La Voix [Quebec’s version of The Voice]?
Laricchiuta: I have to say, sharing the stage with Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Clarkson, and Def Leppard in the finale. That was the most amazing experience of my life. I was so lucky. Everyone was so nice. Melissa Etheridge is a bit of my idol. I grew up listening to her. She’s just an amazing human. Kelly Clarkson was just so cool, I can’t even believe it. Def Leppard too – they were so nice. For me, it was like these super, megastars were so humble and cool. It was really cool to see that. At the same time, the whole La Voix experience was so much fun. Every time I think about it, it was so much fun and I made amazing connections with people. People that I still work with and stay in contact with. It definitely opened up a lot of doors for me.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel that you learned from being a part of the Tran-Siberian Orchestra?
Laricchiuta: That was the big leagues. They found me on YouTube. After La Voix, it opened a lot of doors so I started a YouTube channel and that’s how they found me. It’s funny – everything I do is for the fun of it and it’s crazy how things open up when you do it for fun and you aren’t forced to do it or don’t feel like doing it. When TSO contacted me, I thought it was a joke. Then I auditioned and I got in and let me tell you, the first time I was in that arena, on that stage, it was something I wasn’t used to.
Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone. I didn’t know what to do. I was oversinging, I was using my body. I didn’t know – I sang in festivals and big stages, but this was a different ball game. It’s huge, especially with the musicians involved. So I learned that, big or small venue, whether you are in a studio or in a different city, people still want to feel the connection with me. I have to remember that and stay focused and grounded. I’m here because I’m performing a song. I’m letting all of this energy out and performing. I really learned that. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it was huge. It actually took me a few years to get comfortable with that stage and the immensity of it all. It’s so grandiose and six-star. It’s crazy. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it.
Imagine this – I sang on La Voix, in front of a camera with 3 million people watching me and I was so nervous when I was in an arena with thousands, let’s say 10,000 for a number, and I was so nervous and stressed. It took me a while to get the hang of it. But the energy from everyone was amazing. So I learned how to stay grounded in situations that were beyond my control or that I wasn’t used to. You have to remember why you are doing this.
Dead Rhetoric: From that point, you went to Frontiers. What made Frontiers a good home for you?
Laricchiuta: I didn’t know who they were. I had no idea that my TSO mates were actually signed with them. Dino Jelusic from Animal Drive, who is also signed to Frontiers, asked me to do a cover song with him, which was Roxette’s “The Look.” It got a lot of attention on YouTube, and he’s just an amazing vocalist. He presented it to his label, and they were like, “Who is this girl, and could we get in touch with her?”
Then it was Jeff Scott Soto, my TSO mate and labelmate, who approached me and told me that they were interested. From there, the rest is history. I had no idea they existed, and the fact that it was Italy, was it a sign? They were Italian, of course I wanted to speak with them. I couldn’t believe that all of this was happening. I’m really happy and really grateful.
Dead Rhetoric: What goals do you have for Black Rose Maze?
Laricchiuta: Like anyone else who releases an album, I would love to tour Europe. That would be my first goal. I would love to get a predominately female band, and it would be so cool. It would be fun and empowering. Go out there and spread the message of being independent women and being strong and doing what you love. I would love to tour Europe – I would love to tour the USA too, but I’ve already been there, so I’m trying to give myself something that is out of my norm. Europe would be amazing, and I could speak Italian again.
I would love to go anywhere actually, but I want to tour for sure. I want to keep collaborating. I really started something that I’m excited about. There’s different musicians everywhere – I would love to expand. To go further with it and collaborate with other writers and producers. I’m really excited about that. Those are my top two goals. Maybe next album, would could also have a step up, maybe a little more hard rock. I don’t know. It’s going to be fun and interesting.
Dead Rhetoric: Is there anyone on your bucket list that you’d like to collaborate with?
Laricchiuta: At the moment, yeah. I would love to sing with Lzzy from Halestorm. She’s in that pocket where I want to be. I like the melodic rock that she does, there’s a few songs that I just can’t stop singing and I listen to over and over again. Her voice is crazy. I would love to collaborate with her. Of course, there’s Melissa Etheridge, but that’s another style. And Pink – there’s so many [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: What appeals to you about rock music?
Laricchiuta: The intensity for sure. It’s so in your face. It’s me. When I sing rock, it’s my personality. I’m always full of energy, in your face, and I keep it real. That’s who I am on stage. Live, for me, is where it happens. Studio stuff is really hard to deal with. It’s tough to sing to four walls and get motivated and sing, sing, sing. I need to feel the energy. So it’s the intensity of the rock, that rasp, that I’m coming to get your insides and rip them out [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: What plans do you have after the release of the album?
Laricchiuta: The first thing that comes to mind is doing a virtual launch. It’s a short term goal. I’m really proud of this album, and I’d love to get it done. With this pandemic, I’m not sure – I’m looking at options now. I’d love to rent a space, and maybe look at the songs and change them up a little and do some full and some acoustic. Have that for people to see. The pandemic is killing everything, so not only will they be able to buy the album but they can see my live performing the songs. Maybe I can talk about the songs as well. Like what it is about and why I wrote it. Make a nice story about it.