We had the good fortune of connecting with ROZEN and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi ROZEN, how do you think about risk?
I feel like “risk” is necessary in order to be successful, period. In order to succeed you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and keep doing so. Stepping out of your comfort zone is taking a risk. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I believe that is how you grow.
My entire career and livelihood have been built on that 4 letter word, “risk.”
When I was in 5th grade, I forged my Dad’s signature in order to enroll myself in the Beginners Tap class with Miss Jenna Tauvares. I’ll never forget it – it was my very first official dance class. Everything else I had learned was just from staring at the TV whenever TRL was on.
I ordered the tap shoes and everything. My Dad didn’t find out until he got hit later with the bill. My Mom and Dad watched my very first tap dance recital and I discovered I could actually pick up choreography very well. The next year I was on the dance team with my sister. Was it worth the risk? Absolutely.
I moved out here less than a month after graduating from Western Michigan University with $160 in my pocket, that was a risk. And yet, I’m still pleasantly residing and thriving here 8 years later. I left an abusive relationship and wrote about it in my debut EP, which was risky, to say the least. But it led me to travel across America and speak at places like Georgetown University and raising awareness against Domestic Violence by sharing my original music. I said no to signing with a very prominent, well-known record label, that was a risk. A risk that I took that led me to have the joy and freedom of creating what I want, when I want, and showing up how I want.
People may also say it’s “risky” having my “hand in too many things.” If you know me, I’m not just an R&B singer. If I could sum myself up, I’d say that I am a multi-talented creative artist, and I run an online business. To say that I’m “just an R&B artist” or “just a singer” would simply be a lie. I’ve been told I wear “too many hats” and can’t possibly ‘do it all.’ Truth is, I can and I am doing it all. You have to take the risk. It’s a challenge that you and only you can step up to and a payoff that you and only you can experience. Why wonder?
Overall, the act of taking risks has shaped my life to be what it is today. To risk is to dare greatly.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me and my art apart from others is that I am a storyteller. What that may look like for me is R&B/Pop Artist, dancer, creative director, model, or actress. I’m telling a story, but I’m choosing a different way to tell it. I’ve never been just a singer/recording artist, although nowadays most people know that to be my identifier, however, I have never been limited to just that. My purpose has always been “to create.” Music, dance, acting, modeling, and creative directing are to me what brushes are to painters. While others say I may dabble in too much and that I can’t possibly ‘do it all’, I think the different selection of “brushes” make life more colorful and exciting.
I am an R&B Singer/Songwriter, Model, Creative Director, Custom Content Creator, and I also run an online business. What makes me the most excited about all of that is FREEDOM. I can work from home/wifi when I’m not in the recording studio, rehearsing, shooting content for myself or clients. I love collaborating with brands as a model, and a petite model at that! I remember when an ex-boyfriend told me I’d never make it as a model or dancer in Los Angeles. Funny looking back on that now. When I’m not creating for myself as an artist, I’m creating for others with my new content creation and creative direction business. I’m finally at a place in my life where I love EVERYTHING that I do! There is nothing in my life that I don’t absolutely love.
A couple of recent highlights that I’m most proud of most recently is the release of my latest single, “BBO”. I produced the music video and co-wrote the song with my best friend, producer, and artist, Rome B. We created such a fun summer song that is fresh, fun, and catchy. What made me most proud of it was that there was no label. Everything was paid for by myself from my online haircare and skincare business, and the love and talent of my incredible friends. It was insane to see it come to life from song concept to shooting the music video. It was a dream come true and to be able to share it with friends made it even better. Another recent event I was proud of was definitely singing the National Anthem on Inauguration Day 2021 for the LA Clippers. As a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, it meant a lot to be on the big screen and to have everyone tune in from all over the U.S. during that moment. Last but not least, another unforgettable moment in my career was the moment I spoke and performed at Georgetown University. It was an honor to have the opportunity to travel and speak to so many college students around America about Domestic Violence with my personal story let alone perform my original music. All of this was just an idea I had, and to see everything that followed after the release of my debut EP, “Pages”, it’s been a true blessing to say the least.
As a creative director, this new creative business endeavor fulfills me in so many ways. The first being that I get to help others tell their story. They say that what you’re meant to be doing is oftentimes right in front of you, hidden in plain sight. That’s exactly what this has been for me. I’ve always creatively directed my own visuals and aesthetics as an artist, from my wardrobe to album cover art, to live performance outfits, to fully produced live performances, and everything in between. Now I allow my creativity to flow between all sorts of different clients who have different sets of talents. My day capturing the story and brand of a breathwork coach is completely different from my day working with a freelance makeup artist. I feel like all my years of being in every position in the past from the pageant world, to featured extra work, to be the leading lady, to be a backup dancer, to then headlining artist – it’s made me the perfect person for this job. I know how to tell your story and how to make you comfortable and look good as you tell your story. I’ve had a lot of practice doing so with my career as an independent R&B artist. So I figured, let me help tell the stories of other people.
I am thrilled to be in a place in my life where I can just flow from “brush to brush” and create the life of my dreams day by day. It took a lot of stepping stones to finally acquire all the tools in my toolbox to become this creative swiss-army-knife. Every job/gig has trained me to be the artist that I am today. Trial and error got me here. Blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of prayer got me here. I know a lot of people can relate, but everything really did change when things were taken away from me overnight. I had to take risks and be willing to fail before even seeing a sliver of success. You have to be patient and stop and smell the flowers because they don’t bloom every day. You have to be willing to take a chance on yourself and your dreams because life is too short. I definitely had to learn to believe in myself as much as others believed in me before I finally started seeing growth in my success and happiness. The challenges will come, but that’s the amazing thing about faith. It’s always there for you to lean on whenever you need it. I owe all of my strength and resilience to the Big Man upstairs. The stronger my faith is, the easier the challenges are to overcome, and the greater the payoff in the long run. I learned that when prayer becomes a habit, success becomes a lifestyle. And if I could let everyone know one thing, it’s just that. Don’t go through life alone. Lean on your faith through the good, the bad, and the ugly and you will always find your way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question! I’d easily take my best friend to all of my favorite spots in Los Angeles. I already know a lot of food will be involved. I’d start off with a fun ladies brunch somewhere like the Highlight Room in Hollywood or Gracias Madre. Gracias Madre is great because they have amazing vegan food and the Highlight Room is great because it’s a rooftop bar and restaurant. Any trip to LA means a trip to the beach, so I’d take them to one of the small beaches along the PCH in Malibu. If it’s during the week, I’d take them early in the day to El Matador State Beach to enjoy the beautiful coves! It’s great to catch all the influencers and content creators “do their thing” on this beach! It’s very LA and I get a huge kick out of it. Some of my favorite places to eat are in Malibu, so I’d have this friend choose between either Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, Neptune’s Net, Malibu Cafe, or Sunset Restaurant to dine at.
What I love about this city is the fact that they have so many amazing Filipino restaurants. That has my heart. We’d definitely need to spend time in my neck of the woods; the valley. So I’d most likely take anyone visiting a restaurant called “Bamboo Bistro” on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. They have amazing food and offer “kamayan style” and serve food on banana leaves on certain days! Once the sun goes down, karaoke usually happens and the hosts are always having such a great time. They serve Filipino beer here which is an extra plus! Definitely always leave this place with a fun memory. If they don’t like Filipino food and want something lighter, I’d say El Cocinero. They are a vegan Mexican restaurant and it could fool even the meatiest of carnivores. Definitely a must-try! It’s delicious even if you’re not vegan.
If this person is my friend, they’re most likely a foodie like me. That being said and depending on what time of year it is, I’d take them to 626 Night Market and/or OC Night Market. You’ll be in the best food coma!
Aside from food, I’d take them on a fun shopping experience to the Slauson Swap Meet and/or Santee Alley in DTLA. You’ll find the best clothes and shoes. I’d also suggest going to the roller skating rink in Glendale in the evening or hitting the Venice boardwalk with some roller skates during golden hour and if we’re in Venice, I’d suggest walking along the Venice canal and taking photos. I’d most likely take them to Lake Hollywood because it’s my dog’s favorite park! They have the best dog park with a view of the Hollywood sign and all of Los Angeles.
I’d easily take them to Little Tokyo, eat revolving sushi and drink the best sake at Kura. I’d also make them make a wish upon the wishing tree close by! After eating everything we could, I’d recommend going on a scenic early morning hike at Runyon Canyon or doing the epic “wisdom tree” hike. We could easily La-la land it up and go to the Griffith Park Observatory then head to LACMA in the nighttime to take the famous Instagram-worthy photos.
A trip to LA wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Disneyland! I’m a huge kid at heart, so I love a good trip to Disneyland. I’d recommend throwing on the most comfortable pair of shoes and going to Disneyland. We’d have to eat the clam chowder in the bread bowl there. I’d also most likely convince this friend to go to California Adventure and have some beer then go on the Toy Story ride. For an evening activity, I’d love to take them to a salsa class and then take them to a salsa night out at La Descarga.
There are so many places to go in Los Angeles! But those are the things that come to mind at this time for me!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The saying “we get by with a little help from our friends” definitely applies to my life and journey as an artist and as a person. If I were to include all my closest friends and family, I’d be writing forever. But without these people, my journey would have been a lot harder. All of these people have supported me in so many more ways than one, whether it’s helping capture footage of my concerts, attending multiple live shows, taking artist headshots of me, performing with me regularly, or just constantly showing me love and support, these people have done just that. Your support does not go unnoticed and I deeply appreciate everyone who has ever devoted their time, money, and talents to contribute to my artistry.
– Brian Perales
– Kristen Faith Sharpe + Terry Josiah Sharpe
– Chris Castillo
– Donna English + Drew English
– Their P.O.E.T.S
– Stephen Spencer
– Kat Golez
– Mitch Noble
– Oliver Lee
– Timothy Macdonald
– Jayvid Borja
– Allie Costello
– Jerel Mascarinas
– Roslynn Cobarubias
– J. Gordon
– Isaac James
– MJ Evrywhr
– ALL the incredible dancers that have blessed the stage with me
Taylor Brielle Stephen Spencer Allie Costello Quron Witherspoon