Ronnie Watts chats about Famous In California
Ronnie Watts is an on-the-rise singer-songwriter dedicated to working on her craft in order to connect with people around the world.
Ronnie Watts is an on-the-rise singer-songwriter dedicated to working on her craft in order to connect with people around the world. Her devotion and passion for music began at age five and with over a decade of sharing her experiences through lyrics under her belt, Ronnie is fully geared up to share countless tracks with music fans in the near future. Her debut single, ‘Famous In California,’ has already caught the attention of thousands across streaming platforms and has resonated amongst listeners of all ages. In an exclusive interview with United By Pop, Ronnie Watts opens up about her music, dream collaborations and what fans can expect to hear and see from her this year.
How did you first get started with music?
Well, my Dad is a musician, so I really have just always grown up around it. We have a studio in our basement. And it’s just filled with so many instruments, which has been always been really nice to have. I’ve really just been able to experiment [with music] so much ever since I was a little kid. I always loved music and I kind of always knew I wanted to do that for a living. I have always written songs too, but when I was around 11, I really fell in love with songwriting. And I told my parents [that] this is what I wanted to do…to be a singer-songwriter and they said, we’ll support you, you just have to prove it. I started working really hard and practising a lot [as I was] learning guitar and piano and gigging around Rochester which is where I’m from! I ended up graduating a year early from high school to just to do music full-time, so it’s definitely something I’ve always wanted and grown up around.
Who would you consider your inspirations in the music industry?
I love Lorde. She is my queen. I’m totally inspired by her all of the time. I also love The 1975, Billie Eilish and Lennon Stella. I just think they’re all really great. I love them because you can cry to them or you can dance to them…or you can kind of just do both at the same time. They have definitely influenced and inspired me because despite the type of song I’m writing, if it’s super sad or super upbeat, I want that ache to be in the song and that kind of nostalgia. I think artists like Lorde and The 1975 totally nail that, so I’m super inspired by them.
Since you grew up in New York, did you spend a lot of time in New York City recording or writing songs about being there?
I didn’t actually. Rochester is like six hours away from New York, so I always dreamed about going there and I had never been [when I was youhnger]. My diaries are filled with me just wanting to be in New York and like be a Broadway star or something, but I didn’t end up going to New York until my first time which was when I was about 14 years old and I fell in love with it. I went there for an audition and then when I was 16, I lived there for the summer and I knew that it was where I wanted to live [in the future]. I’m down there so often now and I love it so much…hopefully I’ll live there full time soon.
Speaking of cities and famous places, you have a debut single titled “Famous in California”! What was the inspiration behind that track?
All of my songs are inspired by what I’m going through in my life and how I’m feeling. I wrote Famous In California at the end of this past summer. I had just got my heart broken for the first time by a boy and my friends had just left for their first year of college, so I was kind of just left behind since I don’t go to college. It was definitely a really weird transition for everyone, so I was trying to catch up to that whole change. I feel like there’s this kind of pressure as a young person and a teenager to live that teenage dream or feel like you’re in some coming of age movie, which is super unrealistic, but I definitely feel pressure to live that out. “Famous in California” is kind of about those nights where I held on to moments because it did feel like I was in a movie or something [at that time]. It’s also about trying to move on, but it being so scary …change is a scary thing.
I wanted to show the contrast of either feeling like everything is the best or everything is the worst through its lyrics. I’ve been blown away by [the feedback I have received]. I really wasn’t expecting much. I always set my expectations low, but I then still have high hopes. It’s just been so amazing so far. I’m always hard on myself, so I think no one’s gonna like it. I’m just so grateful for every stream and message I have received. It’s so nice because I write songs for myself, but I release them for other people. To hear that they like the song or it’s like helping them get through something is why I do what I do.
The artwork for this single is incredible and so creative! How did that concept and portrait come about?
Thank you! I kind of had the idea for a while to use those confetti letters. Something that I really love is that every part of this project is kind of just my friends helping me along [the way]. That photoshoot was [done by] my friend who is 17 years old and the music video that we’re doing is also directed by a 17-year-old. They’re just my friends helping me which is incredible. It’s funny because we actually shot that cover art in the bathroom of a science museum. We had music playing and our whole setup going on and people were just walking by kind of looking at us, like, what are you doing? I’m really happy with the outcome.
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Do you have any future dream collaborations?
Totally! I would say Lennon Stella because she is my favorite vocalist in the entire world and I think her voice is insanely beautiful. I also think it would be cool to collaborate with Taylor Swift. She has definitely inspired me throughout my life and she’s super honest in her songs. I think her lyrics are so amazing. I also think she would be a great teacher.
What would you consider to be your dream performance or performance achievement?
The overall goal that I’ve had since I was a little kid was to perform at Wembley Stadium. I remember watching an Ed Sheeran documentary and seeing him perform at that stadium a long time ago and I was like, that’s where I want to play someday. I know stadiums are far away, but that’s my goal that I [want to] strive for.
What can fans look forward to coming up soon or in the future?
I have a lot of music coming out this year! I spent all of 2019 basically just songwriting and getting inspired. All of my songs were written in 2019 and so 2020 is getting that story and those songs out there. I’m super excited to share those songs with everyone because I’ve been sitting on them for so long now. It’s finally happening and I’m super excited about it.
Lastly, if you could only listen to three artists or bands for the next three months, who would they be and why?
I would say ROLE MODEL. He’s definitely like more up and coming, but I love him because he was kind of just the soundtrack to my last summer. Any song that I can connect a memory to I just love a billion times more. I think Clairo is another one because I can just listen to her music all day. Her last album is amazing and she just brings you along on a journey. Finally, I would say Lorde. She never gets old and I’m super excited [because] I heard she might be releasing new music this year. I’m not sure though. I still listen to her first album. She has such intent with every lyric and note she sings.
Follow Ronnie Watts on Spotify and Instagram.
Listen to ‘Famous In California’ here.