Songwriting can be a very personal and expository endeavor. Past traumas, long-forgotten memories, and deeply ingrained emotions can be dredged up, and feelings of vulnerability and nakedness can ensue once someone shares their songs with the public.
It is for this reason that San Francisco singer Rose Droll has held onto her music for so long, amassing more than 1,500 fully formed songs that have yet to see the light of day.
“I never wanted to put my songs out because I don’t write them to be heard,” Droll says. “I just write them because I feel like I have to record. They’re like a musical diary.”
Droll’s attitude has since changed, as evidenced by the flurry of albums she’s been uploading to Bandcamp since February. The songs stem from her college years, back when she lived in Seattle in 2011.
And now that Droll’s anxieties about sharing her music are starting to fade away, she’s ready to release new music, as well, starting with “A Little Blue.”
Written in August 2016 and recorded and produced by Droll in her Outer Sunset apartment, the song is a slow-burning folk song filled with delicate guitar, Droll’s fragile, wan voice (which sounds like a more forlorn Vashti Bunyan), and the slightest hint of drums.
The music video — filmed by Arjan Brandsma while the two were taking a road trip to Portland in January 2016 — features mundane footage of myriad places and things, like 7-Elevens, snow-covered Volvos, pool halls, snowmen, and motel rooms, that mesh well with the song’s bleak and forlorn nature.
The song itself, on which Droll plays every instrument, is about depression, and it chronicles a range of emotions and situations that Droll has dealt with, like wanting to go back to bed to avoid the day and having difficulty finding the beauty in things.
“Looking at my writing, I don’t think there’s any way I could get around talking about depression,” Droll says. “I could wish that I wrote in a different way, or I could wish that I was happier or a different kind of person, but I can’t. I have to accept it and try not to worry about it since it’s also comforting to hear other people talk about depression, because it’s more unifying.”
Droll is currently working on her debut EP and has a show coming up on Thursday, May 4 at Brick and Mortar. More info here.