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Rose's musical career is starting to bloom

March 24th, 2011

by Lilli Kuzma; reprinted with permission from Pioneer Press

Haroula Rose, a Chicago native and formerly of Lincolnwood, knows a thing or two about travel and living in different places. It's her openness to new experiences that has opened doors to a musical career just starting to bloom in a big way.

"Friends used to tell me it was 'just a matter of time' that I'd (achieve something) in music," said Rose, speaking by phone from her Los Angeles home.

Rose is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who just released her first full-length album, "These Open Roads", produced by Andy Lemaster.

With performances at venues like The Hollywood Cafe and having been selected as an official showcase performer at the prestigious South By Southwest Music Festival, Rose is at a turning point in her career.

"These Open Roads" presents contemporary folk/pop, with 11 Rose originals and a mesmerizing cover of Mason Jennings' "Duluth." With a sweet, lovely voice, and accompanying herself on guitar, Rose sings about love and break ups, life and its wishes, dreams and choices, nature, and time.

The excellent production includes 16 studio musicians adding diverse instrumentation, but with Rose's voice shimmering above the mix. The album is available on Amazon.com.

"I think songs should evoke emotion," said Rose. "I mostly write on a 1929 Martin parlor guitar. It might be haunted it's so old. I'm into music 100 percent now. If I didn't do music, I would have some regrets about things."

But, although she has always been musical (violin, piano, singing, and guitar) and enjoyed writing poems and lyrics, Rose did not originally plan on a music career.

Rose, who attended Loyola Academy and the University of Chicago, explained that her first singing job out of college was an accident:

"Fortuitously, I met someone at a party in college from a Chicago production company called Earhole Studios, that does music for commercials, jingles. I had just taken my GREs, thinking of going to graduate school, maybe law school. But I was told, 'we should get you on a commercial campaign."

Rose spent the next two years singing in the recording studio, gaining experience interacting and collaborating with composers, musicians, writers, and filmmakers.

"It was a thrilling experience," she said. "I couldn't believe I was in a recording studio!"

Then a Fulbright Scholarship came through, and Rose was off to Spain in 2005.

"I moved to Madrid for a year, but I loved Spain so much I stayed for an extra year, and took the time to travel to the Middle East, to Israel, and to Portugal, all round. I am fluent in Spanish, and was a teacher (of music and theater) in Madrid, where I also started to perform."

Upon her return to the states, Rose originally set out to work in film, and came to L.A. where she was employed with several different theater companies and worked on film sets.

She was also playing her music, at open mics then at shows in LA., then all over the U.S. Soon she got another lucky break: a song from her EP, "Someday," was picked up by the hit CBS TV comedy, "How I Met Your Mother."

"I always paid attention to music in film and TV shows," she said.

Shortly after her song was licensed to TV, Rose was introduced to Lemaster and plans were made to record her music in Athens, Georgia at Chase Park Transduction Studio.

Said Rose: "Andy is a genius, and would come up with ideas that would stretch the limits of what I expected, but still kept true to the songs."

Chicago is high on her to-do list. "I want to do a bunch of shows in Chicago. I love Chicago so much!" said Rose. And it's home.

Given her career path, Rose's unusual first name becomes entirely appropriate.

"My family is from Greece, my parents moved here in the 60s," said Rose. "My name means 'joy.'"