“Nearly old enough but too young to understand,” frontwoman Jordan Reynolds sings on her band Rose Hotel’s latest release “10K,” the single for the group’s upcoming album, “I Will Only Come When It’s a Yes,” out May 31. The lyric feels right at home in the typical college student’s experience, a time of simultaneous youth and maturity.
In fact, Atlanta-based Rose Hotel will be in Athens on Wednesday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on the Georgia Theatre Rooftop, opening for Athens-based band Wanderwild. Local musician and University of Georgia student Elijah Johnston will also perform.
We spoke with Reynolds about her musical inspirations, the ins and outs of Atlanta’s indie music scene and Rose Hotel’s upcoming show in Athens.
The Red & Black: Rose Hotel started out as a side project that became your main endeavor after your previous band dissolved, but how did your general passion for music begin?
Jordan Reynolds: I guess from even in young childhood just always loving music, even as a baby. I wanted to sing all the time. That was just a thing I loved doing and my parents really encouraged it. I guess my passion for music started super young from Disney movies and it has just grown from there. I started taking it more seriously as something I wanted to do when I was a teenager.
R&B: You’ve cited Laura Marling and Jessica Pratt as some of your influences. What about them inspires you?
JR: I got really into Laura Marling when I was 16 and I was living in Michigan. I just admire her so much as a songwriter and vocalist and storyteller. I am so in awe of her ability to communicate a story through her words and music. As a performer, she’s so impressive and has this presence that’s gently powerful.
The same with Jessica Pratt. I really appreciate her records because the way she builds a lush sounding, beautiful song with minimal elements is really inspiring.
R&B: Despite being influenced by many female solo artists and being one yourself, you’ve said you don’t want to be “pigeonholed into the stereotypical ‘female-fronted indie rock’ category.” What do you mean by that?
JR: I think it’s easy to categorize music that has women as the singer and songwriter and lump it all into one big genre when there’s so many subtleties there. Just because I’m in a female-fronted band doesn’t mean I sound like another band that has a woman in front of it. I’m inspired by female songwriters, but that doesn’t mean we all draw from the same well and are sounding the same.
R&B: Your album “I Will Only Come When It’s a Yes” comes out May 31 and is currently available for preorder. What is different about this record from your first release, 2017’s EP “Always a Good Reason”?
JR: It’s the first record I’ve made with a full band. “Always a Good Reason” was basically just me and a few friends that came in and played a few instruments, but for the most part, that was a largely solo work. We live tracked a band [on “I Will Only Come When It’s a Yes”] and it’s also the longest thing I’ve ever put out. I’ve only ever put out EPs. It’s a more fully formed idea of a record and fully formed idea of sound, not that the other one wasn’t fully formed but this one is more of a full band rock sound.
JR: I’m very lucky to have a lot of awesomely talented friends and they all have different, unique abilities. [I was] just kind of thinking of my friends that I admire and their talent and seeing how I could bring them into the project. I liked the idea of having the record be a bunch of different people creating it together rather than it just being one person.
R&B: Most of the time when people think of music in Atlanta, they think of rap and hip-hop. As an Atlanta-based indie artist with a multitude of indie artist connections in the city as seen in your recent collaborations, what are your thoughts on Atlanta’s indie music scene?
JR: That’s something that is so cool about Atlanta is that it is so diverse with music. There is this amazing rap and hip-hop scene with the major label of big rappers and this awesome underground hip-hop and rap and R&B scene. There’s also this really solid punk rock scene and indie rock scene, so it’s really diverse as a city. The indie rock scene here is awesome. There’s so many incredible bands doing really awesome and unique stuff. You can’t really categorize Atlanta under one type of band whereas a lot of times I feel like people hear about other cities like, “That sounds like a such and such band from that city.” With Atlanta, no two bands sound the same.
R&B: What can people expect from your upcoming show in Athens on the Georgia Theatre Rooftop?
JR: I’m bringing the full band and we’re playing a set full of songs off of the upcoming record so I guess people can expect a little preview of what the record is going to be.
R&B: You’ll be back performing in the Classic City on June 1 for an album release party at Flicker Theatre & Bar. Why are you coming back to Athens to celebrate the release of “I Will Only Come When It’s a Yes”?
JR: I just love playing in Athens. I love the people in Athens and I have a lot of friends there. I always appreciate shows in Athens because it seems like the crowd is really into the music. People go out to shows to hear good music and I appreciate that so I want to come back.