How long have you been creating music?
I have been singing since I was a little girl. I started violin at 7 and never stopped. Producing and songwriting came later. I released my Pop Soul World album “Destiny” worldwide in 2013. It made it into 10 categories for a potential Grammy nomination last year.
I grew up in a musical house with 5 siblings. I started with the recorder when I was 5, the violin at 7, later I learned some guitar and piano. At 12 I knew I wanted to tour around the world. The songwriting and producing like I do it now started around 2005. I wrote more jazz related compositions before that, which I recorded with a live band. I changed my music and found my own style. That’s who people have associated me with among many others, so I say “Roswitha = Sia, Sade, Bjork and modern Marlene Dietrich with a violin”
What brought you to Brooklyn?
It is a funny story. I was never one of those who said “I need to come to New York.” It was not on my mind. I was invited to a classical master class in Minneapolis and decided to book a flight with a stopover in New York. I was also studying Jazz in Austria. I was supposed to visit for three days, fell in love with NYC and extended my stay for one week. The last evening I visited a female musician, a friend of a teacher of mine at the school in Austria; he said I could trust her. That night she asked, “Do you like New York?” and if I wanted to come here. I said I would love to. She started to strategize with me all evening. It was not something I had thought about before. I fell in love with NYC intuitively. It does not make sense. I grew up in a small village in the Austrian Alps. I love nature. I don’t like big cities. Two years later I became a student at the New School Jazz Program, slept on my new friend’s couch for two months, then had a room in exchange for babysitting in Soho and moved to Brooklyn a few months later. Here in Clinton Hill I can sleep with my windows open; I can hear the birds. I still consider myself a country girl. Where I grew up I knew all the neighbors, I know several of my neighbors on my block. I biked everywhere in Austria and I bike everywhere in Brooklyn.
If you could do anything else what would you be doing?
I did music so intensely from the age of 12, never took a vacation without my violin from 13 to 19. I decided I wanted to try something different, to make sure music was my destiny. I worked in a psychiatric hospital for a month and loved it. The patients are special and sensitive. I think it’s important for society to embrace them and to take the stigma off! They wanted to keep me there, but I missed music. I would be a psychiatrist if I had stopped pursuing music. I still want to become a public speaker and destiny coach and see myself as an activist and spokeswoman. With my organization ‘Building Bridges’ I am creating intercultural communication to foster peace and a shift from segregation to integration, one person and performance at a time. One day I’d love to be an actress and a director. I love to bring out the best in people. I directed my first music video for the anthem song of my organization, which was amazing!
Would you say you are living the dream?
Absolutely, I am living my dreams. There are always new heights that I work on achieving. I create the life I want to live daily. I always challenge myself pushing against my limits. It is important to grow. I still have my childhood dream of touring the world. I have toured in South America, USA and Europe. I would like to be an opening act for an international worldwide touring artist. I am living my dream and I will be performing much more. My motto: It’s never too late!
If you were to write a letter to the future what would it say?
My letter would be to future Leaders my organization Building Bridges empowered. I see myself as a role model, an artist bringing empowering conscious messages into the world. One of my dreams is to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Not because of the award, but for the confirmation I achieved my life goal: empowering leaders in the world shifting systems to create sustainable change for peace on the planet. I make music to connect people from different cultures; empowering people to live their dreams. I am teaching children violin and it is my responsibility to show them that they can create the life they want, with a lot of discipline. Family is a big part of my life. I have 5 siblings and 8 nieces & nephews; I am close to them even though they live across the Atlantic Ocean. I’d love to have four children and a lot of grandchildren to leave a legacy for 🙂
Are you happy doing what you are doing?
Yes, I am very happy. I am never content though. I am always looking to grow to the next level. My CD release show was one of the best days of my life. I got to share my original music, sing and play. I can’t wait to have many more shows! I am an independent artist currently managing all aspects of my career, sometimes with the help of friends, while educating myself on how to grow my business. I look forward to outsourcing that so I can spend more time creating music.
Meeting new people and friends make me happy too. I love sports and being active, especially in nature, which is a big influence for me. I grew up hiking and skiing in the Austrian Alps. I love to travel and to fly. Praying and meditating is important to me, God is the source for my life.
Who do you admire?
Martin Luther King – his stand for equality and justice, he was my childhood inspiration. Nelson Mandela – for his fight for freedom and the example of forgiveness he set. Barack Obama, he is a big stand for the underserved people. I write songs about things that I am passionate about. I am against guns, in Austria we are not allowed to carry a gun and I never heard of a gun death until I came to NYC. I wrote a song the day I heard of Trayvon Martin’s killing, which is on my “Destiny” album. I was living on my own by 14, my parents trusted me and let me move into the city to study violin at the university while going to high school. It was possible because it’s safe!
Do you get to express your voice through your work?
Yes, I get to express myself through my lyrics. I pay a lot of attention to each word. Singing is the most vulnerable way to express myself. I also express myself through my violin, but it feels like I can hide behind the violin. It took a lot for me to embrace my dream of singing, because of my insecurities and shyness. I have this duality going on and I occur as confident and outgoing.
Anything else you want people to know?
It is important to have a big vision beyond work and circumstances. They don’t define us. Everyone has something deep inside she/he truly cares about. Create a big vision, one that inspires you to get out of bed every day. Even if you think you won’t be able to achieve it. It takes one person to start change. I want to inspire people to find the purpose of their lives and live their destiny. I was raised to stand for justice in the world. It takes something to follow your dreams and recommit to them daily. It is never too late to find your inner vision and to live your dreams.
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