by Molly Smith

Manchester born, London based JJ Rosa hit The Ministry’s stage on the 14 April 2022 in a glorious barrier breaking performance, to release her new single ‘Rockstar’ featuring, American rapper, Lexy P.

As an artist JJ Rosa is unapologetically demonstrative that the refusal to adhere to the norms of a single genre can result in pure magic. ‘Rockstar’ is saturated with grit and attitude and although it initially reads as pop-rock fusion, it is clear that JJ Rosa has been influenced by a plethora of musical styles throughout her career.

‘Rockstar’ is cleverly produced, scattered with guitar licks that gradually reveal the extent of JJ Rosa’s technical skill.  I’d heard whispers about her ability before I saw her live and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dubious about the comparisons drawn between her and Hendrix – but I completely understand it now. As I scroll though the charts this afternoon, there isn’t an artist I can see whose ability to play guitar rivals this powerhouse. All I wish, is that there was a way for streaming services to provide a disclaimer reiterating ‘this is not a session guitarist’ because you’d be forgiven for the assumption.

The single features a well-timed, well-placed verse from Lexy P which is a certainly an asset to the track. The flow can’t be faulted, there’s no hiding behind fussy production and I admire that he sounded exactly the same live as he does on the recording. On stage he and JJ Rosa have a commendable synergy that makes for an exciting and entertaining performance.

JJ Rosa’s stage presence is second to none. She’s energetic, loud and makes challenging vocals seem effortless. On this particular night she outdressed everyone else at the venue in head to toe white latex and gold jewellery. Judging by her Instagram, statement outfits are not uncommon, and I am here for it!  This single lends itself well to the art of live performance because JJ Rosa’s skill and authenticity is impossible to ignore. She has an incredibly powerful, soulful voice and an indescribable ability to take a room from zero to party in a matter of seconds. This was demonstrated by the clean sweep of crowd engagement within seconds of the set starting, despite having no supporting artists. To release a single, live, with a ‘cold’ crowd is bold by anyone’s standards and she pulled it off perfectly. JJ Rosa is proof that fortune favours the brave as she also gifted the crowd a cover of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ and it was immaculate.

Although an artist is rarely off the clock, it’s been a few years since we’ve heard from JJ Rosa and ‘Rockstar’ truly is the perfect single for an epic comeback.  After speaking to her at the The Ministry this song feels like a true embodiment of her character on and off stage.  Having recently signed a global distribution deal with Sony/The Orchard/IMA, the self produced artist released the single through her own record label JJuicy. Despite it being unique is so many ways, there is a vast sense of familiarity and warmth stemming from the sound of a cassette player in the opening few seconds. This nostalgic feel is subtly recreated throughout the track, echoing elements of the pop, rock and R&B music that raised so many of us.  

 Although JJ Rosa has been around for years and had her praises sung by many industry greats, she is still grossly underappreciated and underrecognized for what she brings to the table. She sings as well as those who only sing, she plays as well as those who only play, she performs as well as those who only perform – yet she’s doing all three (and making it look easy). I feel lucky to be at the start of this new chapter which I have no doubt will bring her every success.

Word has is that more singles are on the way, but until then you can stream ‘Rockstar’ on all of the usual platforms and follow @jjrosaofficial on Instagram.