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Underground Update: Local artist Mama Rose prepares for debut release

Charlotte “Mama” Rose channels her experiences, personality and eclectic musical influences in her first EP, “drink More water.”
Image by Emily Pofahl
Local artist Mama Rose poses for a portrait at Lake Nokomis Park on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Rose is releasing her debut solo EP which combines many music and art styles such as Neo-jazz, hip-hop, and spoken word poetry.

A mother of three, a self-proclaimed psychic and an all-around artist, local musician Mama Rose spent the latter half of 2020 in the studio.

Her debut EP, “drink More water,” is set to release on all streaming services on Feb. 26, with the project’s single, “sweet Waters,” dropping on Feb. 19.

A combination of sounds and influences from folk, hip-hop and neo-jazz, “drink More water” is a cathartic reflection on change, identity and discovering one’s relationship with the world and nature.

Rose began work on the EP in the summer of 2020 while pregnant with her third child.

“Right around that time, my partner and I found out that our baby had some pretty serious health complications,” Rose said. “And at that time in my pregnancy, we weren’t sure if he was even going to be able to breathe or swallow when he was born or if he would make it. So, I was in a very peculiar place of wanting, knowing that I had something coming up in my life that was going to be an extreme shift when he was born.”

Rose felt that despite the concerning news, it was the perfect time to create.

Before recording “drink More water,” Rose had been in a search for the perfect-fit producer who would help her realize her goals for her first release.

“I’ve been waiting for that person before creating my first project because I knew that whatever I put out to the world for my first project, it needed to be something that really represented me,” Rose said. “Finally, last summer, I found Jason Faye.”

Faye, a local musician and audio engineer, took point on recording “drink More water” after they met at a wedding, with Faye DJing and Rose officiating.

The two kept their recording sessions collaborative and unrestrained as they focused on improvisation and free-flowing ideas.

“Great songwriter,” Faye said. “She is just in the moment. She can just make things seemingly out of nothing and really work quickly. Very intuitive.”

Charlotte “Mama” Rose discovered her creative side at a young age. Her mother, a nonprofessional visual artist, encouraged Rose’s participation in every area of the arts, signing her up for art competitions, theater camps and eventually songwriting contests. Rose attributes her musical influences growing up to different family members, with her father playing classic rock around the house, her mother listening to funk and R&B and her older sister imparting her taste in hip-hop.

Coming out of high school, Rose was offered an academic scholarship for the nursing program at St. Kate’s University.

“The reason that I wanted to do that is because all four of my nieces and nephews — my sister’s kids — were born very early,” Rose said. “Three of them were born three months early, and they spent a lot of time in the ICU. So, I wanted to be able to help babies.”

Eventually finding herself in a transitional and transformative period, Rose left St. Kate’s at 19 to pursue music.

“I decided that I needed to stop going to nursing school because if I were to go down that path, I was never going to have enough time to be as committed to art and music as I needed to be,” she said. “I really didn’t know what that was going to look like. At that time, I was climbing out of a hole to try to convince myself that I was actually an artist, or could be.”

Rose began her performance career opening a show at Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, a now-closed St. Paul restaurant where she was working at the time. From there, she began to perform more regularly in the Twin Cities area. “That was the beginning of a new chapter. I did that and then just kind of slowly eased into doing more performances. After that, I created Mama Rose, which is the version of me that I share in all my art now,” Rose said.

Rose’s publicist, Krista Vilinskis, hopes that people will listen closely and take in the lyrics of “drink More water.”

“I really hope that [listeners] stop and smell the roses,” Vilinskis said. “The mindfulness behind her art is really authentic, and I feel it when I talk to her and when I listen to her music. Some people are just naturally talented, and she’s definitely one of them.”

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