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Singer Blake Rose on his new EP 'You'll Get It When You're Older'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Don't worry. You'll get it when you're older. How many of us remember hearing that as children? Well, now Blake Rose has taken that phrase as inspiration for his new EP, a musical portrayal of growing up and gaining wisdom, curiosity and regret.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEMON")

BLAKE ROSE: (Singing) Oh, God, it makes me nauseous that I even know your name. Wish I never said hello and I just walked away.

SIMON: "You'll Get It When You're Older" is Blake Rose's second EP release. He joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us.

ROSE: Thank you, Scott, for having me. I appreciate it a lot.

SIMON: Mr. Rose, you're 25. What made you decide to come out with this kind of EP now?

ROSE: This EP has definitely been a long time coming for me. It's definitely my most vulnerable record so far, and the subject is mainly based around my relationship growing up with my sister, who's been battling addiction for a long time. And I had a lot of questions that sort of remained unanswered for a long time because it's just quite difficult to understand that when you're a kid. The title, which is "You'll Get It When You're Older," came from a conversation that I had with my sister when I was younger, when I was about 14 or so. We'd just met up on this family trip around Australia. She joined us from Europe. She was really, like, starting to get to a really dark place with it all. She was trying to help me understand, but she couldn't, and in the end she just finished the conversation with saying, you'll get it when you're older, which obviously stuck with me for a really long time while I was piecing some of these songs together. And it all clicked and made sense, and I realized that that's what I wanted to talk about.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGAZINE")

ROSE: (Singing) Don't you miss those songs they'd play on the radio, love? I guess we lost that magic. Wish we bottled it up.

SIMON: The song "Magazine." What do you sense is being lost here?

ROSE: I was kind of alluding to what I was guessing my parents' perspective was on the situation with my sister, begging the question of I wonder if you feel like you'll never have the daughter back that you had before she was an addict. It was really, like - they put a lot of blame on themselves for how it all happened. But realistically, like, there was nothing they could have done differently. It just happened the way it happened, and there's nothing they really could have done about it. So I sort of wrote the song as a bit of a way to try and tell them that, like, they are amazing parents and that they've done an amazing job, and it's just - doesn't matter what you would have changed, what aspect of your life and her life. It probably would have all happened the same, kind of thing. That was where the song sort of stemmed from.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGAZINE")

ROSE: (Singing) So you can take away the internet or all the phones, pick her better friends or leave her alone. Even if you gave the girl another name, it probably would've happened anyway.

SIMON: May I ask, do you find it easier to talk to people in a song than just the way we're talking now?

ROSE: One hundred percent. Yeah. I definitely have time to marinate on my thoughts, obviously, when I'm writing a song. And I can really express what I want to say, and I can say - take as much time as I like to say it.

SIMON: Let me ask you about another song. It doesn't have the same kind of indie pop vibe so much of the music here has, but it's more like a ballad, "In Your Arms."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR ARMS")

ROSE: (Singing) Yeah, I just wanted you to let me love you, but I guess it would've made it harder. Wish I didn't have to fly to LA. Wish I could have stayed in Perth for longer.

SIMON: This song for somebody in particular?

ROSE: Yeah, this was definitely written about someone in particular. I went back during the pandemic to Perth. I sparked things up again with this girl that I'd been on a couple of dates with in the past, and she ended up having a boyfriend that I found out, like, a couple of weeks later. And it just became this - like, this weird thing because her boyfriend was cheating on her, and she kept saying she was, like, about to leave. And by the time Christmas came around, that was, like, the final sort of thing. And I'd planned this whole romantic gesture and all that, and it fell through. And then I was just, like, heartbroken and sat at my grandma's piano, which is now in my parents' living room, and just, like, wrote this song out. And it just came out really quickly. Like, sonically, it felt really nice.

SIMON: Well, and whatever happened to the relationship, she always winds up in a song.

ROSE: I guess so. I guess so. That's the circuit with a songwriter at this point, I guess.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR ARMS")

ROSE: (Singing) So when Christmas comes again, I hope I'm in your arms instead.

SIMON: I have been told that you have what I think I will chance to refer to as a peculiar hobby.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE: Hello, Joe (ph) speaking.

ROSE: Hello. My name's Blake. I just got a question for you. I was just wondering if I could sing you a quick song and see what you think of it? It'll be, like 30 seconds.

JOE: Yeah.

ROSE: All right. Sick. It's a cover of this song, "Golden Hour" by JVKE. All right, here we go. (Playing ukulele).

JOE: Where'd you get my number from?

ROSE: Oh, it's just a random number. I just typed it in.

JOE: Oh, OK.

SIMON: Why do you do that?

ROSE: That's a great question, Scott. It's a great question. It actually started in the pandemic, as well. It literally just started with me trying to find a way to, I guess, lift people's spirits a little bit. I started by doing it with covers, and I was just picking a good popular song at the time. Crazy. I just - I really didn't expect anyone to pick up, let alone actually listen to a whole song.

JOE: Yeah, that's all right. Not bad.

ROSE: And so I kept doing it over the course of the last couple of years. And yeah, people seem to really like it, and it's a lot of fun for me. I get some absolute characters on the other end of the phone sometimes. It's hilarious.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALREADY BE DEAD")

ROSE: (Singing) When I was a kid, you told me that you think I won't get it till I'm older. Honestly, I thought I'd never understand, and I'd stay angry.

SIMON: Let me ask you about the last song on your EP. It's called "Already Be Dead."

ROSE: That song definitely sums up this EP and kind of what I was talking about earlier. It's basically me realizing, like, how much I respect my sister for what she went through, because I started to understand life a bit more. It's a little dark, but, like, I don't think I would have made it out the other side had I gone through what my sister went through. And that's essentially what the song is about, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALREADY BE DEAD")

ROSE: (Singing) Darling, if I was you, I'd already be dead.

It's really difficult to understand why people choose paths that they go down until you understand how life can push you towards making certain choices.

SIMON: Do you mind if we ask how your sister is doing now?

ROSE: Yeah, she's doing really, really well at the moment. She's got a new job. She's literally, like, one of the strongest people I know. And I think that's one thing about addiction that's, like, a massive misconception. For people that come out the other side of it, I think a lot of people look down upon people like that. And it's really, like, the opposite. I feel like if you've been through that, to come out the other side of it shows so much strength, period.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "USE ME")

ROSE: (Singing) Love, love, love, love, love, love.

SIMON: Blake Rose, his new EP, "You'll Get It When You're Older." Thank you so much for being with us.

ROSE: I appreciate it a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "USE ME")

ROSE: (Singing) I gave you more than you could ever. Me and you are supposed to be together. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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