INTERVIEW: Rozzi Crane talks about Maroon 5 and her rise to the top (VIDEO)
If you haven't heard the name Rozzi Crane just yet, don't worry, you will. The 21-year-old musical artist has a soulful fusion sound and can currently be heard on tour with Adam Levine and Maroon 5. Crane was the first artist signed to Levine's label, 222 Records, so the USC student's future is shining brightly.
SheKnows had the opportunity to sit down with Crane hours before she took the stage for the first time at the Staples Center, just a stone's throw from the USC campus where she's a student at the Thornton School of Music. How does a university student go from singing in small college bars to an arena with approximately 20,000 seats? The young musician gave us the inside scoop.
Crane revealed, "Jacques Brautbar, who is in Phantom Planet, was sitting in on one of my songwriting classes at USC. He liked my writing, so we started writing together."
It was that fateful meeting at school that eventually led to her work being heard by Maroon 5's manager, who passed along word of Crane's talents to The Voice judge.
"Eventually, Adam heard a YouTube video or something. I'm pretty sure he did a little YouTube stalking and then wanted to make a label. It's definitely through those guys that all this happened," said Crane.
Outside of Levine's guidance with her career, the YouTube audience continues to support the musician's work of covers of notable songs with that Rozzi twist. Her sound is quite mature for someone so young, but with personal influences like "Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse... Outkast, Tribe Called Quest," you can definitely see where her inspiration came from. Fans will also notice a bit of the Maroon 5 influence on her new EP, too.
She describes her fusion sound for her new EP. "One thing I'm so happy about [is that] the EP sounds like something new, which is exactly what I wanted. I brought all of my influences… soul, '90s hip hop, R&B stuff. And then, Adam has this distinct sound that everyone knows and loves and it's that combination that people will definitely hear."
The Maroon 5 lead singer has not only guided her songwriting, he invited her out on the road with the band on its sold-out tour. Besides that evening's Staples Center performance, Crane recently hit New York City's Madison Square Garden. That's a pretty unforgettable night for an up-and-coming artist.
She told us, "Madison Square Garden was easily one of the most surreal nights of my life. I'm just along for this ride, they just took me with them. It's kind of this really magical couple of months where I get to be a part of something they worked so hard to build."
Last summer, Crane had the opportunity to work on a song for The Hunger Games soundtrack with Levine. It was a heady experience for her since the song was written by Oscar-winning songwriter Glen Hansard and produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett.
Crane wasn't fazed by working with such music industry luminaries. In fact, it was Burnett who really encouraged her in the studio. "I think part of his brilliance is he makes you feel great. He makes you feel like you're killing it."
And "killing it" is exactly what she did in the film's song, "Come Away to the Water."
Besides the soundtrack, the tour and her upcoming EP, look for Crane to hit the road in support of her music later this year. She's excited to share her music with all of the fans who have joined her from the beginning.
On a personal note, Crane shared a few things with SheKnows that we didn't know. First off, the road tour diet has changed her just a bit: After being a vegetarian for 12 years, she recently gave it up.
The first piece of meat she ate? "Salami," Crane chuckled. "And it was delicious!"
What's more delicious is seeing that the music success really hasn't changed the USC student, who has plans to finish her degree from the prestigious university. With Levine guiding the way, Crane is poised to be the next big thing in the music industry.
She describes her feelings about the position she's in. "Lucky, blessed, excited."
That's exactly how SheKnows feels after meeting this talented young artist. Check out the interview at the top of the page if you haven't already!
Images: Rozzi Crane/Travis Schneider