In today’s edition of THE INTERVUE, our guest is known as an indie-pop powerhouse with breathtaking range, infectious rhythms, and lyrics preaching self-love and acceptance. While headlining the High School Nation Tour this Fall, ROYSE spoke to student’s promoting body positivity.
One of her most personal songs and previous single “Heavy Lies the Crown” was a catalyst used to share her struggle with an eating disorder when she was younger. The emotionally powerful hit is also a tribute to her late aunt, who passed away from complications of anorexia. Her exploration of heavy topics in music results in beautiful melodies meant to empower those who need a hopeful message.
Now with a jaw-dropping music video to follow on November 14th, we can all see how Royse brings Oxygen to life!
How did you realize the moment you wanted to become a musician and artist? When did you realize that?
See, that’s always so hard for me, because I feel like my whole life, like since I was little, I have been so passionate about music and art and just being creative, and that whole thing. I always just like wrote songs and was doing silly stuff like that. And it wasn’t until I was about sixteen that I really started taking it seriously. I was like, “ok, I really want to do this,” because I was entering a songwriting contest and my song was played on KISS FM, at the time and I came in third, so I was like, “you know what? This is actually really what I want to do.” So then I went to school for music, and yeah, that’s kind of how I came to be.
That is amazing. And the KISS FM, where is the KISS FM, because we have a KYS FM up here in D.C., so I want to make sure for our audience which KISS FM you’re talking about. Where is this KISS FM?
Yeah, it was the one in Dallas.
So let’s talk about this brand new single, Oxygen, that’s going to launch November 14th. Tell us what inspired you to write this song?
Yeah, so this song is probably, I want to say my most raw song, because it’s about that relationship that you know is toxic and you know it’s not good for you and it’s not good for either of you, but it just feels so good and you’re so connected to that person that you just can’t give it up. And what I’m kind of talking about with Oxygen is anxiety that comes with it where you get super anxious when you’re not with that person because you know it’s wrong and you feel all that when you’re together, it just feels right even though it’s wrong. So that’s kind of what the song it is.
Well, I definitely hope our audiences in the DMV and across the country will like Oxygen coming out this Thursday, so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’ll admit, it’s one of the good songs I’ve heard this season, so I applaud you for your great efforts with this song.
Aw, thank you!
You’re welcome. Now, as we mentioned earlier in our conversation, you’re currently headlining the High School Nation tour, which you’re talking about body positivity, especially when it comes to this entertainment industry who feels a size 0 is the thing. And I want you to talk about your experiences about what you went through because you had also a battle of eating disorders and you want to talk to students about that. So, I want you to talk a little about that.
Yeah, so I actually just finished the tour. And it was such an amazing experience because I’m so passionate about talking to high schoolers, obviously, because my high school years were some of the hardest times of my life, especially because that’s when I decided I wanted to be in entertainment. And I thought that meant being a certain size, but for me, my eating disorders kind of started when I was in fifth grade; that’s when I started throwing up. And it was just a whole journey of like, I kept digging myself down this hole, and I’m trying different things.
I spent so much of my life being miserable, feeling ugly and insecure. And it just started taking hold of my mind, and it really hindered me in so many ways. Could I really just lead such a free life if I just knew my self-worth and that I have so much value? So for me, that I mention to high schoolers, “Listen, you are worth far much more than what we see on TV.” Positive people and idols we look up to, they’re fat too and they’re hurting.
And it’s really just about loving yourself. So, falling in love with you and who you were created as is kind of like, my whole thing. I just want people to see their value.
Absolutely, and we definitely have people like Lizzo who really promote that body positivity. No matter what size you are, if you have a great talent, make it happen. Flaunt it out, you know?
Yeah, I know. And also, everybody’s so uniquely beautiful. And I think people should hone in on what makes them “you.” What makes “you” great? Everybody has a distinct thing about them. We all have one thumbprint. We’re all distinct in some way, so don’t try to be something we think is beautiful, we think is what we’re supposed to be. Be who you were created. Be who you truly want to be.
You took your struggle with your eating disorder and you turned it into an emotionally hit Heavy Lies the Crown, which is a tribute to your late aunt. For those who haven’t heard the single, tell us about the single
So, Heavy Lies the Crown, as you said, is a tribute to my aunt, because she was probably one of the most amazing, beautiful people I’ve ever met, and she was such a queen. And with that, things were really hard, and when you are something great and you hold so many amazing things inside—life doesn’t make it easy for you. It’s hard being a queen. It’s hard being a king, you know? And that’s kind of what that’s about. Even though you are amazing, you are a queen, that doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. It’s going to be hard. It’s hard carrying heavy burdens like that. That’s kind of what the song’s about, and just staying true to who you are and you’re beautiful.
What do you feel the industry needs to do to promote more body positivity, to promote more acceptance? Because with the changing times in music, especially on television and in the movies, it’s not just the size zero anymore. It’s all sizes, all races, all sexual identities that we should be promoting, not just limiting because they have to look a certain way or dress a certain way or sound a certain way.
Right. Right, yeah. I think you know there’s so much that needs to change within the industry. Diversity is something that really needs to be changed because there’s still one image that gets shown as beautiful and there are so many different types of beautiful looking people, and it’s just really kind of sad that only one certain demographic gets that standard. But hopefully, with Lizzo and I and other artists out there, it’ll slowly start to change and the more people who are different will feel confident in who they are/ and start stepping up when no one else will that’ll also make a huge change.
We hope that change continues and really pushes the diversity and the positive body image that we all should feel and embrace. I definitely agree with you. Why do you feel music is therapy for you? Because you mentioned that music has always been a form of therapy for you and I wanted to know why.
So, I’ve always been such an emotional person and such a heavy feeler and I always just had all these feelings inside me that I couldn’t always express and so starting young, I started songwriting. Just writing to release, because sometimes a song can say things that I can’t. Sometimes putting it into a melody can explain how I’m feeling more than me trying to sit down and have a conversation. And also, when I was going through things that no one understood, music somehow always understood. You know, if I was listening to Lana Del Ray I was like, “oh wow, this is how I feel!” So music is that therapy and that empathetic thing that you need when you’re going through hard times, and that’s how it is for me.
I’m glad to hear it. Who are some of your musical influences growing up?
There were so many! There are so many. I would have to say, Lana, of course. Lana Del Ray. And I’ve always loved Katy Perry. Her music spoke to me. I love her pop sound. She’s amazing. As well as Adele. Adele is someone who musically and vocally-wise definitely influenced me a lot. And the list could go on and on. That list would be my top three.
Well, those are very good top threes. What do you hope people will take away from Oxygen and your other singles? What do you want the takeaway to be?
It’s that the main thing is you’re not alone. No matter what you’re going through and the hard times you’ll get out of it, you will overcome. My music, I usually write when I’m going through something and then I’m able to get on the other side of it and create a song that kind of shows that whatever you’re going through, you’ll be able to get through it and you’re not alone. This world can get so lonely and I hope people feel alive and feel confident in listening to my music and empowered.
I hope so too. Now, will you be planning another tour soon or are you going to go back to the studio and complete your album down the road?
So, I am going to do more shows in the spring. I don’t know the exact dates yet. I’m definitely going to be doing some shows with High School Nation. And then when it comes to the album, for right now, I’m currently working on releasing singles, because a full album, I have so many songs and I want to do a full album, but right now I’m just trying to keep releasing singles and slowly building up everything.
All I ask this is: I’m not sure if you did this with your last tour, but make sure you come down to the DMV—the District, Maryland, Virginia. We welcome you.
Yes! I need to do a show out there. I would love that!
For those who are listening and reading and they want to be where you are; they want to be a musician. What’s the one piece of advice you would love to give them?
I think the one piece of advice I would give is…it’s kind of a two-part. If you’re passionate about it, don’t stop, no matter what people say, and be 100% you. There are so many artists out there. There are so many kinds of people. Singers that can sing incredibly; musicians that can play like nobody’s business. But you being 100% you is the most powerful thing.
For more information on Royse please visit her website at www.roysemusic.com. You can now stream the song an all music platforms or at this link: OXYGEN Single and check out the Oxygen music video on November 14th