No Thorns on These Rozes: A Look at One of EDM's Most Distinct Vocalists
Her unmistakable vocals defined a song that would easily become the most celebrated single of the summer of 2016: “Roses,” a youthful single produced by—you guessed it—The Chainsmokers. Released on June 16, 2015 the song’s refrain, “say you’ll never let me go,” expressed a relatable wish, relevant in the midst of the summer flings developing at the time of “Roses’s” debut. The tune would go on to secure a 2016 nomination for the Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Song,” the same year that The Chainsmokers would receive another nomination for a Billboard Music Award, the year’s “Top Dance/Electronic Artist” for the Daya collab, “Don’t Let Me Down.” The Chainsmokers did not win either nomination that year, but it seems the genre won something of equal merit: Rozes.
Born Elizabeth Mencel, the Philadelphia native attributes her stage name to her grandmother Rose. A proponent of Mencel’s aspiration to develop a career in music, Mencel’s adoption of “Rozes” as her artist moniker is a nod to the early influence of her grandmother as a motivating figure. The substitution of the “z” for the first “s” in “Roses” reflects Mencel’s playful, spirited side.
The world would know Mencel best for her work on “Roses,” a single that called not only on Mencel’s vocal talents, but on her compositional abilities. Mencel was no stranger to songwriting at the time of “Roses’s” authoring, and has not grown estranged from the craft since. Mencel is notable for her work on the lyrics—in addition to the lending of her unique vocal style—of the October 17, 2014 Just A Gent hit, “Limelight.” Mencel’s songwriting ability culminated in the release of her debut EP, “Burn Wild,” on Valentine’s Day of 2016.
Mencel strives to remain true to her visions as a singer/songwriter, careful to become preoccupied with writing music in order to satisfy the demands of the radio’s taste. The singer/songwriter’s commitment to authenticity is refreshing in a genre with its eye constantly trained on the Billboard Hot 100 list, consistently seeking to smash charts. Yet on the charts Mencel currently lands as the featured vocalist--alongside rapper, Logic--of Big Gigantic’s August 17, 2016 single, “All Of Me,” a catchy coupling of hip hop and synths. The Rozes supplied hook finds a commonality with The Chainsmokers’ “Roses” and Just A Gent’s “Limelight”: without that haunting Rozes hook, each song would lose its major distinguishing factor.
Growing up on the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Jones, Mencel acknowledges that her rapid ascendency to an EDM vocal queen was hardly expected; the “Under The Grave” singer—her most recent single—predicted her career to follow an alt to pop progression. As Rozes might now testify, one must always expect the unexpected. In the same vein, so must we, as we await new captivating Rozes features and productions in the year to come.