Hailing from West London, singer-songwriter Rukhsana Merrise (known to most as Rox) is gearing up to release her first studio album later this year. We’ve already been swooning over singles ‘Sober’ and ‘Could’ve Been’ and now we definitely want more. We caught up with Rox to find out a little more about it.
Rox makes music regardless of genre limitations or commercial pressures. When she’s in the studio, she’s not thinking about writing a song for her record. She’s thinking about writing a song – end of story.
“Maybe subconsciously I always did want to make music, but I just like writing and singing.”
She describes her journey into music as a ‘happy accident,’ she didn’t really think about going into the industry with the idea of being an artist but instead enjoying making music. She said: “Maybe subconsciously I always did want to make music, but I just like writing and singing.
“I was exposed to a very eclectic taste of music when I was growing up – one day we would have Dennis Brown on and the next day we would be listening to Karan Carpenter. That probably explains why I’m not limited by a genre.”
‘Sober’ is taken from Child O’ Today which will be released in two parts: ‘Child’, which is set for release this December, followed by ‘Today’ in the spring of next year. The single is another example of Rox’s beautiful songwriting ability, where she uses alcohol as a metaphorical and lyrical motif for losing control of love.
She said: “Sober was real to my life at the time I wrote it, I wasn’t in the greatest state. The way I was using alcohol probably was to bottle up a lot of what I was feeling. I was a very frustrated artist and didn’t know where my life was going.
“It’s a true story and real to me, there was never a thought of getting in the studio and writing something.” This realness comes across in Sober, it’s not written for mass production but is a raw stripped back insight into Rox’s journey.
Her journey started in Hammersmith, which played a massive role in her life. She grew up around people from different backgrounds, living in one space where everyone learnt how to get along and teach each other their different cultures.
“Seeing young black artists coming through and being successful is inspiring.”
She was exposed to very different music growing up, she said: “I come from a very open-minded family, who influenced my music. One day I might want to right and acoustic song but the next I want to write something with energy and that comes from my family and the environment I grew up in – which was a melting pot of cultures.”
Before releasing her first album, Rox has worked with some household names such as Wretch 32, who she described as the best UK rapper and Ragnbone man. But having worked with them she has been empowered, seeing so many artists from London telling their story.
She said: “Our music is different but it’s the same reference point, seeing black people make a name for themselves. Seeing young black artists coming through and being successful is inspiring. Its great to see women showcasing their story too and pushing the barriers a bit more.
“I do think there is a lack of soul RnB and alternative artists, which there is a niche for. Ella Mai is someone who is representing this scene, but we need more.”
Listening to Rox, it was clear that she draws inspirations from across the musical spectrum. She points to Joni Mitchell’s storytelling ability, Brandy Norwood’s RnB vibe, Dennis Brown’s voice and John Mayer and Kayne West, who are all pushing boundaries.
‘Child’ will be out in December, with the second part of her album, Today, out in 2019.