[Interview] Enrose’s “Wait, Create” — A Labor of Love and Wisdom

The R&B, jazz, and pop-infused band Enrose released Wait, Create, on April 15. Their debut EP is a project layered with love, labor, and wisdom. The visionary that led this project to its manifestation is band leader, Gabi Rose, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter hailing from New York. 

With help from band members like drummer Jake Navarro, keyboardist Kit Benz, bassist Mikey Rotunno, and guitarist Will Harden, Enrose is a well-rounded collaborative cohort who are masters when gracing your ear. 

When asking her where the band name, Enrose, came from, she referred to the song, “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf and Louis Armstrong’s version. “I particularly love the message, which has a few different interpretations, but I see it as ‘life in color,’” she said.

And Wait, Create is just that –– life in color. The project feels like mid-summer on the beach, when you take a moment to reflect and soak in life’s complexities. Currently on tour with the band Bilmuri, which has been “an awesome experience” for her, Rose announced the arrival of her new project via Instagram.

Through a brilliant marketing strategy, she told fans that she was pregnant with an EP. And similar to giving birth to a child, she “was eating a lot and pretty nervous.” Which is understandable when you have a masterpiece waiting to be received by the world.

Each song pulls you into Enrose’s world, where you’re met with Gabi Rose’s irresistible tone and arousing composition. The first track of the EP, “Comatose,” is a sensual piece of work that entertains the ear with bold steamy lyrics like “I’ll only turn off the heat cuz you’re my humidity and I can hardly breathe, and I can hardly breathe.”

The title track “Wait, Create” is bountiful in both feeling and meaning, which lends itself to be a poignant piece of work full of valuable anecdotes. Another standout track, “Feels Like Home” is a piano ballad meant for the dreamers that may feel lost and uncertain about their future; yet Gabi clears that confusion with the use of her stimulating voice and insightful lyrics. 

Although she’s extremely talented, it took a while for Gabi to realize her potential as a bandleader––a sentiment she deliberately wants to relate to her fans on this EP. But with the encouragement of her producer, Anthony Lopardo, Gabi was able to dissolve the illusion that she couldn’t be the immediate catalyst to her success. 

With purposeful courage and a killer band, Enrose was able to create a sultry soulful sonical experience that has rightfully earned the ears of music enthusiasts. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Gabi, through email, this past April to gain a bit more insight into the debut project, her journey as a musician, the importance of having a team, being present, and making the most of your time.

Who created the cover art? And what were some of the discussions like leading to the final cover?
The original photo was taken by Sam San Roman, and then I created the cover art! I just had these weird ideas that I would’ve had trouble communicating to another artist so I tried my hand at doing it myself. It was my first time using Photoshop actually. I had an idea of how to use it from similar programs. It took a long time but it’s exactly what I wanted because of that. I’m so happy with how it turned out.

How would you describe your songwriting process?
With this EP, I was sitting down at the piano pretty often, and just starting to get into production. So I wrote a bunch of songs that way — either from poems, lyrics I had already written, or through experimenting with new beats and chords. Early in our musical relationship, I showed Anthony, my producer, the demos I had made and he loved them. We further developed them from there.

On your Instagram, you announced your new project by saying that you’re pregnant with an EP, which I thought was hilarious. To expound on this metaphor a bit, what were some of the prenatal experiences before giving birth to your firstborn?
Similarly to birthing a real child, I imagine, I was eating a lot and pretty nervous.

In your artist bio, it mentions how your EP is a way to reassure your audience that “often we’re the last ones to recognize our own potential.” So, how did you come to realize that you were the last to recognize your own potential? And how did you move forward from there?
Well, I think a lot of what I’ve accomplished as a musician came from being inspired by my peers who were a few steps ahead of me. If those people were encouraging me to keep going, that was all the reassurance I needed.
That is what happened with Anthony Lopardo, my producer. He saw something in me that I didn’t at the time, and he’s really helped me recognize that potential so much. Then, with adding the band into the mix, I had even more motivation to see this project through because now I had some extremely talented musicians, and friends who were willing to help me see this through. Having a team is everything.

The first track, “Comatose,” is a sensual track in every aspect; the lyrics, production, tone, instrumentals… What were some of your inspirations when creating “Comatose”? And why did you want that to be the first track on the EP?
I wanted it to be the first track on the EP because I love the opening chords and I think it’s a great introduction to the EP. It’s also the first song I released as a single, so it felt right!

There is also an audio clip at the beginning of the track where a lady says “but you want it to be easy.” Why was that important to include in the song?
This audio clip happens during the intro and bridge of “Wait, Create” actually! I saw the 2018 movie “A Star Is Born” in the theaters, which prompted me to write “Feels Like Home.” Coincidentally, Lady Gaga sings “La Vie En Rose” in the beginning of the movie as well. Something about that connection and inspiration struck a chord with me really heavily. I knew I wanted to sample something during Wait, Create.

I found the original 1937 version of the film on YouTube. Within the first few minutes, I had my sample and it felt like the universe had just dropped it in my lap. It fit so perfectly with Wait, Create both from a lyrical standpoint, but even sonically because I continued the sample during the bridge of the song, and there are strings in the background of the sample which are perfectly in tune with my song. In the film, Esther’s grandmother is giving her advice about dreamers versus do-ers. The whole scene is about going after what you want, rather than just waiting around for something to happen. This is what Wait, Create is about. It was the perfect pairing and something I’m very proud of.

I’m in love with the title track Wait, Create I found its message topical because as a creative myself, I’m at a point in my life where I see how truly precious time is. Could you speak on how you, as a creative, we’re able to get to that understanding of aiming for real action and gaining abundance in your life?
Thank you! Time really is so precious, and as I’ve matured it’s been an ongoing challenge to use it wisely. There’s obviously this hustle culture that we’ve adopted as an attitude for being successful and fulfilling dreams. I know what it’s like to follow that mindset, and it certainly helps me get things done, but the question I’ve had to ask myself is — are these the right things? A song like Wait, Create explores the idea of pausing and figuring out the right course of action. Time management and productivity, for me, has become less about aimlessly moving forward and constantly working. It’s about giving myself that rest, getting to know myself, setting boundaries, being patient with myself, and learning how to communicate that to others. Then, I act. I don’t want to be ten years into my career realizing I focused all my energy on the wrong things.

What’s your favorite song off the album? And why?    
I think my favorite song is actually “Save Yourself” because it’s the song that got my producer, Anthony, excited about the idea of making a record for me. Before this, we were writing pop tunes, just getting a catalog together with the goal of providing for sync and other artists. This was the first demo I showed to Anthony, and he slid back from his desk and said “We need to do this. We need to record this, for you.” I also love the way the band played on this song. Anthony wrote the bridge and it’s this super cool fusion jam section where everyone gets to shine a little bit. It reminds me a lot of my progressive pop, jazz band from college, the first group I ever wrote music with.

You are an amazing saxophonist! When’d you start playing?
Thank you so much! I started playing when I was 10, so 16 years ago. My first instrument was violin, and I picked up the saxophone a year later. My mom said I thought it looked cool (it does) and I also had the sound in my head already because my dad played a lot of David Sanborn, Steely Dan, Spyro Gyra, and Kenny G around the house.

Who are some of the musicians you look up to?
D’Angelo, Amber Navran (Moonchild), Gerald Albright, Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote), Emily Krueger, Blu De Tiger, Jill Scott, India Arie, Augie Bello, Hailey Knox, Bob Reynolds, Jacob Collier, and Eryn Allen Kane are musicians and artists I look up to from afar.
But there are also artists I know personally who are so inspiring to me as well. To name a few — Johnny Franck (Bilmuri), Shubh Saran, Sam Greenfield, Sammy Rae (& the friends), EVVAN, Crystal Vargas, and so many more.

The music video for “Beautiful Dust” was awesome! I love everything about it. It showcases your artistry and personality all in one. What were some of your creative intentions before shooting it?
We had a blast shooting this video, and I could not be happier with it. The concept came from an initial idea by Jake Navarro, my partner and drummer for Enrose, who suggested we make a video showing the creation of this song — how I wrote all the parts in my bedroom studio and eventually they came to life in the studio with great musicians and production. We combined that with my experience of writing a song as feeling sort of “out of body.” I enter this dream-like state with endless possibilities. That’s what we tried to convey in this music video, tied with a bit of humor and an amazing videographer, James Morano,  who understood our intent completely (James Morano) and it came to life.

I see that you have an ever-growing TikTok following. How has TikTok impacted your music career?
TikTok has been a ride for sure! I started posting regularly in January 2021, and within a few weeks, I had my first viral video, which ended up featuring in a Super Bowl pre-game commercial!
Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working with brands such as Rockstar Energy, Uberliss, Syos Mouthpieces, Legere Reeds, Loop Earplugs, Flex Seal, and more, as well as been seen by some really great artists and organizations I look up to. The algorithm is always changing and because of the volatility of a platform like this, I don’t believe it’s the “end all be all” with musical success, but it’s certainly been a vehicle for me to express myself and spread my work to millions of people.

I also understand that you’re currently touring. How’s that been with the release of an EP on your mind?
Yes! I started touring with the band Bilmuri this year. It’s been an awesome experience. I’ve gotten so close with all those guys, I love the music, Johnny, the brainchild behind Bilmuri, has become a mentor and great friend to me, and playing all original music, even if it’s not mine, to hundreds of people each night is a feeling like nothing else. Being in Bilmuri has only gotten me more excited to release music of my own. All of them take their studio work very seriously, and Johnny has an amazing way of putting together the entire package of his band so that it’s an experience for his fans. I also don’t think I ever would have announced my EP in the way that I did if it weren’t for Bilmuri because I love how they have fun with every aspect of being an original band — from the music, to the marketing, to social media, and merch.

What were some of the life lessons, if you will, that you learned working on Wait, Create?
I learned to take a step back and really evaluate what’s important for me. I’m only going to be on this earth for a short time, and I have to make the most of it. That doesn’t mean working myself to the bone every day, putting pressure on myself to achieve something huge, and being disappointed when things don’t happen the way I planned. It means enjoying the process, recognizing all my blessings, being mindful and present, and not taking myself too seriously that it doesn’t feel fun anymore. The whole reason I got into music was to have fun and express myself. The second that gets lost, something needs to change. This EP is a reminder of what I can accomplish when I trust myself, trust others, and live “la vie en rose.” I know that sounds corny, but I truly feel that way. I even have it tattooed…

If you can, in five words, describe Wait, Create for listeners who have yet to hear about it?
Saxophone-infused R&B Good Stuff!

It was a pleasure getting to know such a remarkable and stunning bandleader. Gabi has blessed the world with Wait, Create and we at Hummingbird Mag can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and Enrose. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s