Get To Know: Haitian-American Bossa Nova Acoustic Songwriter John Roseboro Talks New Single & Upcoming EP ‘Homage’

The buttery voice of John Roseboro shines through in his latest single “Saints of God,” and it’s no surprise that his gentle singing and pious references earned the artist the nickname “Angel of LA.”

In just two minutes, the Southern California-based songwriter tackles the heartache you feel when you realize that those you love aren’t always what they seem. In a time of great uncertainty and division, the track is a relevant take on divided communities.

A folksy voice tells the story, without saying too much — the type of song that feels like smoking a cigarette on your back stoop when you’re stressed and don’t know where else to turn. The feeling of utter abandonment is articulated in universal lyrics, soft vocals, and complex guitar-strumming.

Roseboro’s talented acoustics seem to be rooted in a Bossa Nova sound, with Brazilian-style strumming that may remind a listener of a stripped down, modern take on Gilberto Gil or João Gilberto. Roseboro’s style carries other similarities to those greats in that his music focuses on personal and social justice, undertaking major concepts such as human rights, love, and religion.

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The artist’s latest track is set to be featured on his upcoming EP, Homage. Each new track on the EP will be released weekly, giving listeners a taste for the next new tune before feeding them the entire project. As a whole, Homage will be a homage to humanity and what it means to exist in this world — together and apart.

As we look forward to the EP, we got the chance to pick Roseboro’s brain about his songwriting process, musical inspirations, upcoming projects and much more.

So how did you first get into writing and playing music?
My family moved around a lot when I was younger, and we spent a few years in San Antonio, Texas. That’s where a friend first introduced me to the guitar. I immediately began to write my own songs.

Who are some of your inspirations that influence your sound?
I look up to personalities and characters much more than songwriting or that sort of thing. I’ve been inspired by Lauryn Hill, Earl Sweatshirt, Kanye. Really anyone who has consistently been true to themselves.

What does your songwriting process look like?
This feels weird to say, but I think of my life and lifestyle as one big process. When I write a song, it may take just 15 minutes outwardly, but inwardly I’ve been working on that song my whole life.

Do you find that the pandemic has affected your creative process? How so?
Only in that it has helped me to take inventory of my life. It helped me to remember that I have to live my life on purpose, which motivates me to create much more.

Other than songwriting, do you have other creative endeavors that you enjoy that may inspire your music?
Storytelling, whatever the medium! I think of art as articulating the heart, and I have a pretty big heart, so I like to put my hand to anything that gets the message out. For me, though, that usually looks like writing and directing.

Your latest track, “Saints of God,” premiered Nov. 1st. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration behind that track?
Absolutely. To be frank, “Saints of God” and a lot of the EP is inspired by my disappointment in, as well as my dedication to my community, be it either my spiritual or corporeal community. “Saints of God” in particular is a response to the cognitive dissonance that comes when you find out that the people closest to you are not who you thought they were.       

Who else was involved in the track’s production?           

My engineer David Antonio Garcia. He captured every sound on the record. He mixed and mastered it while I breathed down his neck.

“Saints of God” is set to be part of your debut EP, ​Homage,​ looking to come out on Dec. 1st. What other tracks are you most excited for on the EP?
I know David’s favorite right now is “Babylon is Fallen”, but what I’m most anticipating is the record’s closing track, “Son of My Father”, out November 29th. “Saints of God” is a banging introduction, but last impressions are everything.                           

How does the process of creating a full EP differ from the creation of singles? What did you find to be the most challenging part of the creation of ​Homage?​ The most rewarding?
The difference is the same as flirting and going on a real date… Honestly, what I think will end up having been the most challenging as well as the most rewarding part of creating a full project is the release strategy. Homage is rolling out as a series of weekly singles with a unique piece of art for each song, and visuals as well. It’s very ambitious. I’m happy now, but I’ll really be smiling once we can enjoy it together.

Is there a specific tone or message that you hope comes across in your upcoming EP?   

There are definitely some common themes in my music: love, self-discovery, one’s relationship with God, et cetera. With Homage, I hope listeners will consider what it means to be human and what kind of rights and responsibilities come with that.       

In the realm of reason, what do you hope 2021 brings for John Roseboro’s music career?           

I hope 2021 will bring with it the fruition of my entire life up to this point. It can be reasonably expected that I’ll be recognized for my voice and vision. People will see that I’m contributing to the culture in a way beyond myself and rock with me, even if they aren’t picking up everything I’m saying, because I’m doing and being my best. This will be self evident in my music and art. Releasing an album would be nice, too!

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