Rather than sit back and simply envision a life beyond the small-town confines of Vanadzor, Armenia, Rosa Linn stood up and grinded tirelessly to transform her musical dream into reality. The trilingual singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer crossed a seemingly unbridgeable gap from composing music in her childhood bedroom to multiplatinum success and international renown. She did so by creatively sticking to her guns, trusting her gut, and singing straight from the heart, delivering an unfiltered perspective on pop underlined by conversational honesty, a palpable sense of personality, and live instrumentation.
After generating over 1 billion streams and earning widespread acclaim from the likes of FLAUNT, Wonderland., Billboard, and The BBC, to name a few, she continues to progress personally and creatively on her debut EP, Lay Your Hands Upon My Heart, [Columbia Records], and more to come.
"Coming from Armenia, the distance to a career in music felt endless," she observes. "I didn't stop, because I couldn't stop. I'm here. I'm thankful I can help my country, share my culture, and take care of my family. That was my life goal. I'm really proud of the 13-year-old girl who was writing in her bedroom dreaming of this life and not giving up."
Rosa learned piano at six-years-old and never looked back. She immersed herself in all kinds of music, absorbing inspiration from Adele, U2, Sting, Coldplay, Phil Collins, Ozzy Osbourne, and more. Picking up guitar, she wrote songs as a method of "self-expression" as a kid. She penned her first tune after a formative experience. "My best friend told me she was going to leave town, and I was so hurt," she recalls. "It was the first time I turned my feelings into a song, and it felt good. I don't think I've ever changed the original reason why I write."
Beyond playing multiple instruments, she notably spoke Armenian, Russian, and English. Growing up, she spent countless hours creating music on her own and performing locally. During a festival gig in Armenia, she attracted the attention of Nvak Foundation. She participated in a songwriting camp led by Co-Founder and C.E.O. Tamar Kaprelian. With Nvak in her corner, she introduced her signature style via "King" [with Kiiara]. However, she achieved a mainstream breakthrough with "SNAP." After representing Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest, the song exploded worldwide, eventually going gold in the United States and cracking the Billboard Hot 100. She made her late-night television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden where she delivered a powerhouse rendition of "SNAP" accompanied by musicians on traditional Armenian instruments. Plus, Ed Sheeran tapped her as the opener for his 2023 +-=÷x Tour, and she later hit the road with Milky Chance and Young the Giant.
In the midst of this whirlwind, Rosa further honed her artistry. "I literally left my life behind and started with a blank page," she notes. "It was 100% different except for the fact I was still writing the songs. I came here alone, and it was hard to be away from my country, family, and friends. So, I always try to share my story through music. I leave a piece of me on every song I write."
That holds true for her next chapter. In the studio, she not only played piano and guitar, but also grabbed the bass for the first time and oversaw arrangements. Expanding her creative palette, she immersed herself in films such as Frankie and Johnny and August Rush in addition to books a la 100 Years of Solitude, Rick Rubin's The Creative Act: A Way of Being, and Russian and Armenian literature. Musically, she channeled key inspirations, including jazz, classical, and rock 'n' roll. "I got back to my roots in an upgraded way," she goes on. "The instruments are natural with eighties and nineties vibes. It's all of my influences."
In 2023, she formally dove into assembling what would become her debut EP, Lay Your Hands Upon My Heart. She found a trusted creative confidant and collaborator in legendary GRAMMY® Award-winning producer and songwriter Rick Nowels [Fleetwood Mac, Dua Lipa, Madonna]. In the sessions, she pushed herself by gleaning wisdom from Nowels and leveling up as an artist all around. "From the first day we jammed together, I really connected with him," says Rosa. "We spent a lot of time writing and recording, and he taught me so much. I was a sponge. He made my vocals sound like nothing I'd ever heard before, and we finished the EP together."
Telling candid stories of her journey, she initially heralded the project with "Never Be Mine" and "Hallelujah." Among other highlights, murmurs of gentle piano echo through the soft beat of the title track "Lay Your Hands Upon My Heart." On the bridge, she urges, "Sing me to sleep and take me to heaven," before the chorus glistens, "Lay your hands upon my heart, try to make it beat again with everything you've got."
"When you love somebody and feel down, this individual is the only one who can bring you back to life," she elaborates. "This person can make your heart beat again. It's a beautiful way of saying how much you need someone."
Elsewhere, upbeat percussion and organic guitar drive "Mountains," and a towering refrain rings out, "Take me somewhere higher than I've ever been where the mountains grow." Rosa adds, "My hometown has a lot of mountains, fresh air, and less cars. I was homesick, and I craved deep conversation and good old friends."
With reverence, she takes a Nowels classic for a spin, imparting her own spirit and style on the Stevie Nicks solo staple "If I Were You." Neon synths glow as she pays homage to Nicks with no shortage of soul. "The whole EP started from 'If I Were You,'" she reveals. "The original blows my mind. It's very personal, and that's how magic happens. I tried to make this version mine and show her respect."
Simultaneously, she never loses sight of where she came from. While performing at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO, she donned a coat with the phrase "STOP THE BLOCKADE #ARTSAKH," calling attention to the injustice faced by Armenia. "I'm not the type of artist who talks about politics in my songs," she exclaims. "I don't hide any messages; I write about myself and my feelings. At some point, there are things I can't stay silent about. This was about people's lives. I have to do that for my country."
In the end, Rosa's dream is much bigger than her, and that's why she's bound to resonate with audiences for a long time to come.
"When you listen to me, I want you to feel something," she leaves off. "It doesn't matter if it's sadness, happiness, or euphoria. I hope you find your story in the lyrics. I listen to music constantly to cope and get something that saves me a lot and escape."