Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Mar 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sweet Serendipity

music_ToriRose1UCSC grad Tori Roze makes triumphant return with jazz/R&B outfit The Hot Mess

So far, Tori Roze’s life has been a series of blessings in disguise. The first occurred when the singer/songwriter left The Boston Conservatory for an education that didn’t focus solely on musical theater. After being turned down by several schools, Roze ended up at UC Santa Cruz.

“It turned out to be a good surprise,” says Roze. “I loved going to school in Santa Cruz—I didn’t think I would, but I learned so much and I was exposed to so much.”

After graduating in 2005 with a theater degree, Roze returned home to San Diego. When plans to move to Los Angeles fell through, she met her band mates. “One day I was singing karaoke and some guy came up and asked if I had a band,” she explains. “Being in San Diego was the best mistake ever.”

Once the band formed in 2008, the only thing left to do was come up with a moniker that suited them. “I changed their name every night,” she laughs. “One night we’d be Tori Roze and the Pancakes, the next we’d be Tori Roze and the Waffle Irons.”

While her affinity for breakfast foods hasn’t changed, Roze discovered her band’s name—The Hot Mess—while living with “two fabulously gay men.” “They would come home every night a hot mess, and talk about it the next day,” she says. “It really stuck. We never rehearsed, so it fit.”

A far cry from the indie folk duos that populate today’s music scene, Tori Roze and The Hot Mess delivers a smoldering, old-timey blend of jazz, R&B, and soul with an eccentric twist. Their debut effort, 2010’s From the Hip, is the materialization of a dream Roze had the first time she heard Amy Winehouse.

“When I was living in London, Amy Winehouse had just come out,” she explains. “When I heard her sing, my jaw dropped and I ran to the Virgin store. She made old music relevant to young people, and that is the pinnacle of what I wanted to do.”

Much like her idol, Roze and her band mates make the brass-infused sound and deep contralto vocals, that put big-band music on the map, accessible to a new generation.

Roze believes her passion for the genre developed as a child. “Daniel Jackson did a jazz workshop at the theater when I was 13, and my dad had me bring my trumpet. He handed me a sheet of music, and it just clicked—all the swing music and old standards we listened to were jazz bands.”

Though an old soul—she describes her music as, “if Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Erykah Badu had a baby”—Roze is only 27. In fact, she will be celebrating her 28th birthday at The Crepe Place on Sept. 30. “All I wanted for my birthday was to play in Santa Cruz,” she says.

A kid at heart—she worked at Hot Dog on a Stick for nine years because she got to wear a costume (she still has her hat, don’t tell)—Roze still feels vulnerable when songwriting. “Love Heroin” off From the Hip, is a peek into her soul, as she explores the pain of a breakup. “[The song] opened the floodgates and allowed me to release that person from my life,” she says.

music_ToriRose2Today, Roze identifies more closely with “Tick Tock,” a song that explores the uncertainty one faces when chasing a dream. For strength, Roze looks to her mother, who sings back-up vocals and plays flute, and the rest of The Hot Mess.

“We’re the most motley crew you’ll ever see,” Roze says of the sextet. As for their upcoming show, Roze warns Santa Cruz to expect the unexpected. “I’m quite a sight onstage,” she laughs. “There may be lots of shaky leg dances—who even knows?”


Tori Roze and The Hot Mess perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994. And at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Streetlight Records, 980 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose. No Cover. Photo:  James Norton

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia