Glitter Rose: Outlaw Southern Rocker

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When Glitter Rose was a youngster in her native California back in the early 1990s, she took up dancing lessons. That led to her participating in recitals, as well as national competitions. Then, she sang in school choirs, but by the age of 12, she was also writing her own songs. From there, she recorded an album of country songs that she wrote back in 1997, as well as played in malls and video arcades from California to Texas, where she relocated, sacrificing formal education for homeschooling in the process.

Many more opportunities came Glitter’s way, like being lead singer of a Dallas rock band in the early 2000s that almost had a shot at stardom. When Glitter was then offered the opportunity to become a cookie-cutter pop star, she backed off and evolved into the country-and-classic-rock-influenced “outlaw Southern rocker” that she is today.

Recently, I asked Glitter about the philosophy behind being “outlaw,” and how it became the subject of a mini-documentary, as well as such topics as her first try at playing guitar, her early professional gigs, how a ’90s teen act inspired her to be a songwriter, and how another teen act inspired her to write a tribute song. But for starters, I led off with a question about a competition that she was part of.

GGM:  First, Glitter, congratulations on making the Los Angeles finals of the Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands. Whether you win the whole thing or not, what has the experience been like for you so far?  

Glitter: Thank you so much! Hard Rock Rising was an amazing and fun experience! It was a huge honor to be one of the Top 3 bands in Los Angeles, with LA being one of the top music industry cities in the world. Although we did not win the regional finals, we felt so blessed to be a part of it. Playing at the Universal Citywalk 5 Towers stage for over 1,000 people was beyond words. So exciting!

GGM:  As I am writing this, you are in the midst of touring Oklahoma and Texas, but you’re going to fly back to L.A. for those finals before returning to the tour.  How do you manage to stay focused with all that back-and-forth traveling?  

Glitter: The traveling is fun. As long as you keep your body healthy with lots of water, nutritious food and lots of vitamins, its easy to keep up. I keep focused by always being prepared for the next gig, whether it’s writing my setlists, changing strings, or getting the required rest I need to stay sharp, it’s all part of being a professional performing and recording artist.

GGM:  After having grown up learning how to dance, then sing, when did you first learn how to play the guitar?  

Glitter: I started playing guitar at age 14. I tried to learn when I first started writing songs at 12 years old, but had a right-handed guitar. Being a lefty, this just didn’t feel right, so I moved over to keyboard. Although keyboard is beautiful and takes talent to play, I wasn’t happy with the instrument and really wanted to play guitar. Then I discovered that companies make LEFT-HANDED guitars! I never knew that before! So I got a lefty and was playing guitar chords within my first day, gigging with my guitar after just one month of playing.

GGM:  You were 13 when you started playing professionally.  Where did it happen and how did everyone react? 

Glitter:  When I first started performing, I was stepping up as a special guest to a couple of bands my manager knew from around Dallas/Ft. Worth. I sang a couple cover songs and the bands learned my material as well. The gigs were in small venues around town, and everyone was very receptive and enjoying my singing. Those gigs were to prepare for my first big show, which was my album release at Planet Hollywood in Dallas, TX. I performed a 4 song set to a packed house and it went really well!! I had so much fun on stage, entertaining everyone that I couldn’t wait to dive into more gigs!

GGM:  At about the same time you became a professional musician, you were also homeschooled. Would it have been any different had you continued going to a regular school?  

Glitter:  Definitely, my career would have never advanced like it did had I gone to regular school. I did my schoolwork at odd hours and was also able to incorporate recording, performing, etc. into my studies.

GGM:  Given the diverse array of classic country and rock acts that have influenced you, how did it end up that the oft-maligned trio of musical brothers known as Hanson, of “Mmm-Bop” fame, inspire you to write your own songs? 

Glitter:  Yes, it is an odd influence for me! I loved their songs, the production and musicianship was great, but when I discovered that they were the ones writing the music, I was so impressed. I loved that kids my age were able to create music that made others feel good. I thought, “If they can do it, so can I.”

GGM:  Some of your early professional gigs were at malls and video arcades. How did those compare to your subsequent club shows?  

Glitter:  Every gig is unique, regardless of the venue, which is what I love about performing live. My favorite thing about playing the malls and arcades was the fact that kids my age were able to attend and enjoy my shows.

GGM:  I vaguely remember a Disney Channel reality show from around the late 1990s entitled “2-Hour Tour.” It wasn’t until recently that I came across a clip on YouTube in which you were one of several acts who sent an audition tape for a chance to open for another brother act of that era, The Moffatts, out of Canada. Was it not that big a deal for you to not get that opportunity?  

Glitter:  That was a very cool experience! I did want the opportunity to tour with The Moffatts, and although I was not the winner, it was another experience and accolade to add to my resume as a working musician. The Moffatts actually called me on the phone to let me know even though I didn’t win the competition, they really enjoyed my music and respected me as an artist. That meant a lot to me and made the entire experience so much more exciting than it already was!

GGM:  Along more or less those same lines, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters told Britain’s NME recently that today’s TV singing competition shows “make everyone sound like…Christina Aguilera.” Do you think such shows tend to discourage originality and creativity?  

Glitter:  I think the “contest/reality” aspect of the music business now has changed the character of artists. I am fond of pop music and can appreciate what the networks are doing for entertainment purposes. For myself as a musician and artist, I prefer to have more control of my sound and the music I make. The thing that is so beautiful about music is that it truly is an opinion, and everyone has a right to their own.

GGM:  During the early 2000s in the Dallas-Ft Worth area, you formed and fronted your own band called Hollywood High. I came across another YouTube clip in which you all did a fun and very rocking song called “Britney Jean,” in tribute to the popularity at the time of Britney Spears. Was there ever any reaction to that song, good or bad, from either Britney fans or anyone from Britney’s camp?  

Glitter:  I never heard of anyone in Britney’s camp hearing the song, although I would have loved for them to! I was a huge Britney fan, and though some may think the song was directed negatively towards Britney, it was actually a positive gesture. It was saying that she has the appeal for the world to love her, and those who don’t, love to hate her, which means she’s gained the attention of the entire planet and that’s superstardom.

GGM:  As Hollywood High became successful enough to relocate to Los Angeles by 2004, it attracted a lot of attention from the big-time people of the music business. Did it seem like they were trying to single you out from your colleagues in the band?  

Glitter:  There was definitely more attention on me verses the rest of the band. The line up of Hollywood High changed several times throughout the years, and by the time we had gotten to Los Angeles, I was playing with L.A. professionals. I never wanted to be a “solo rock act,” otherwise I would have just been simply Glitter Rose at that time. I wanted the unity and excitement of a rock band. The industry pros that were looking at me for bigger projects, weren’t necessarily interested in signing me as a band, or as a rock act at all. They actually would have preferred me to switch to pop or R&B, and I just couldn’t give in.

GGM:  I don’t blame you for turning down the opportunities that the industry sent your way, but do you think staying independent and avoiding the “cookie cutter” mentality of the big time thus far has been more to your advantage?  

Glitter:  Financially, no. For the integrity of my music and the appreciation I receive from my fans for doing so, absolutely! One of the first things I hear from my fans, which many of them become my personal friends, is “good for you for not giving in.”  I think I’m giving true music fans something to believe in. I believe I will make it very big someday on my own terms, as a true artist. I guess that’s why they call me an Outlaw 😉

GGM:  You’ve been described as the “Outlaw Southern Rocker.” I grew up in the ‘70s listening to Southern Rock, among other things, so how would you explain your “outlaw” brand, particularly as it pertains to how you have evolved since 2005, as well as through your albums Southern Comfort from 2007 and Dead or Alive from last year?  

Glitter:  The “Outlaw” aspect of my music is that I don’t follow the conventional rules of the music business, I don’t give in to the “cookie cutter” machine and I’m proud to be unique. I don’t know that “Outlaw” is so much a genre, as it is a way of musical life for me.

GGM:  My last question follows up on that with your recent 1-minute short film Outlaw in L.A., in which you talk about your triumphs and struggles. How did you hook up with the film’s director, Miguel Amodio, and will there still be plans to make Outlaw in L.A. into a longer film even if it’s not entered into the Sundance-London Film Festival?

Glitter: I met Miguel at a North Hollywood coffee shop called Moby’s Coffee and Tea Company. The owners of the shop are in the film industry as well, and have created a small hub for independent creators to come get great coffee and mingle with other artists. After Miguel had a chance to hear my music, and learn about my story, he wanted to focus on that for the subject of his film. The minute clip did not win the competition, but was in the Top 25 submissions and has gotten him more work with the company Talenthouse! We’re not sure what the future holds for that particular piece. It is definitely something we are both keeping in the wings, and we are also talking about doing other projects together.

*****

Here’s hoping for more of that great “Outlaw Southern Rock” from Glitter Rose.  Perhaps a new album in the next year or two.

You can find out more about Glitter Rose by visiting her website, www.glitterrose.com.  Also, you can like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/glitterrosemusic, follow her on Twitter @GlitterRoseTX, and also watch some videos of her on YouTube at www.youtube.com/glitterrosemusic.

Photo credit:  Candice Payne

~Glitter Rose is proudly endorsed by TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik, Orange Amplification, WARRIOR Guitar, Gibson AcousticBAE Audio, Fishman Acoustic Amplification, DiMarzioRotosound Music StringsGuitar Hands Hand Care and Moody Leather.  Please visit the Endorsements page on GlitterRose.com to learn more about these fine companies!  Also, check out our interview with Orange USA.

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