Canadian RnB-pop powerhouse Neena Rose releases today her newest music video — “Mannequin” comes ahead of her forthcoming EP, 333.
Music isn’t just a creative outlet or destined career for the Canadian singer/songwriter… It’s also — much like the video — a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic experience that skyrockets beyond what the rest of us count as traditional receptions of sound.
“Songs are colourful for me,” she says of her highly unique and wildly fascinating multi-sensory perception of the senses, chromesthesia synesthesia. “Every song I hear or write has a very specific colour visual.”
Synesthetes make up just four per cent of the population and are eight times more likely to be artistically inclined, so it’s little wonder the 17-year old Hamilton, Ontario artist gravitated to the craft.
“I love it all, but writing lyrics is my favourite part of the process,” she muses, reflecting on previous toe dips into nu-country, emo rock, and lofty pop bops before finding her most authentic self in R&B. “It’s always been a thing I love to do. Any time I feel any type of way, I’m writing a song. If I’m happy, I’m writing… If I’m sad, I’m writing…
“And I’m always listening to new beats… Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but it’s not uncommon for me to go into the bathroom at school and listen to music. I’ll play 30 different backing tracks to flesh out what feels right and solidify the sound I’m looking for.”
Most recently, she was invited to speak on the “Young Guns — Innovative and Thriving in the New World Music Order” panel at the California Copyright Conference, making her the youngest female Canadian to participate in the conference thus far. Her debut single, “Rock N Roll Lullaby” was recorded at age 12 with Diamond/Platinum producer/songwriter Roy “Royalty” Hamilton III (Britney Spears, Nas), she has counted Oprah among her audience members, and is a voice behind CHCH’s legacy program Tiny Talent Time’s theme song. (Fun fact: her dad performed on the show — with his accordion — as a kid!)
She’s an “amazing young talent,” says Universal Music Publishing Group’s 80 Empire, who co-wrote and produced Neena’s forthcoming EP. “She’s an incredible vocalist and witty lyricist… Working with her is a sheer joy!”
“Neena Rose truly was hellafun to talk with,” adds Cashbox Magazine Editor in Chief’s Lenny Stoute, reflecting on their recent cover story interview. “This teen is an unusual combination of music biz savvy and emotional intelligence, with a commanding voice. Gonna go far.”
Innately entrepreneurial — including a specialized course completion to further learn the business of music — Neena has also set her sights on the cosmetics industry, and weaving it into her burgeoning brand.
“Make-up is newer to me than music. Ever since I started doing colourful, more expressive make-up, I’ve found it makes me more confident. I’m not wearing a face of rainbow make-up to feel beautiful, per se, I’m wearing it to stand out and express myself… And that, in itself, makes it beautiful. I like sharing that.
“I want people — especially girls — to gain empowerment from my music. I want it to communicate to them: ‘you’re powerful, you’ve got this.’
“I want them to know ‘you can be different. You can do anything.’”
It’s true, and Neena Rose is leading by perfect example.
“Mannequin” is available now.