Haroula Rose sings with the spirit of a gypsy soul, always searching for meaning or a seed of truth in each fleeting moment. Her voice is at once intimate and solacing, its gentle inflections betraying a subtle, plaintive sway that enriches moments of guitar-driven folk with the pathos of classic country.
She grew up just outside Chicago, lives now in Los Angeles, and considering even a bit of what’s shaped her artistry it’s clear that with her remarkable debut album, These Open Roads, she has found her defining purpose.
Upon the album’s release earlier this year, Haroula commemorated it with an ambitious five-week residency at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. It wasn’t the first time she’d performed at the famed venue. In fact, in recent years she’s played live on countless stages, most notably at venues like the Bitter End in New York City, Lestat’s in San Diego, T.T. the Bear’s Place in Boston, and the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip.
Though crucial to craft, playing live — like songwriting and singing — is but one aspect of her talent. “For some reason I used to think you had to pick just one thing and focus on that one-hundred percent of the time,” Haroula says, “but I don’t think that’s true anymore.” Perhaps she felt as much because her musical curiosities have, since childhood, been diverse. Growing up, she took part in musical theater and school choirs, over time learning to play the violin and, later, guitar and piano. She sang in a cappella groups and in various bands with friends. She worked for a while in a recording studio, learning tools of the trade that would serve her well in years to come. And, after graduating from college, she taught music theory to children while living in Madrid on a Fulbright Grant.