Alumna musician brings tranquility to Starbucks stage

Starbucks’ Mics and Mochas hosted a special guest on Tuesday April 26—musician Susanna Rose ‘09. Her music brought a calming presence to the MacVittie College Union, as students studied and sipped coffee while listening to Rose’s peaceful melodies. Her set list consisted of newer songs such as “Working Girl,” “Separate Ways,” “Old Broken Heart,” “Snowbound,” “Lullaby,” “Ancient History” and “Benediction,” off her album Snowbound. She also performed some of her older songs including “The Wishing Well.” Each song portrayed a peaceful and authentic sound, as Rose’s talented voice and beautiful strums on the guitar resonated through the room.

The young artist got started as a professional musician about six years ago. During her last semester of college in 2009, she studied abroad in London and learned to play guitar from a friend on her trip.

“I never picked up a guitar while I was in [college],” she said. “I was amazed by what [my friend] did. [I asked him], ‘Oh my gosh, how can you write your own songs?’ He replied, ‘It’s really easy, you just have to learn two or three chords and then you can write a thousand songs.’”

From there, Rose started to come into her own as a musician. She learned as much as she could from her teacher, who gave Rose her first guitar so that she could play on her own.

After graduating as an English major and returning to Rochester, Rose kept playing, and eventually wrote her first album, The Wishing Well, which she recorded at her friend’s house in Rochester.

Upon returning from an eight-month trip to South Korea where she taught English, Rose experimented a lot more with music, leading her to create Snowbound, which was released in Nov. 2015.

Rose performed in both New York City and Massachusetts last month, and is eager play her music all around the world. Ireland is on her wish list, where she hopes to tour by playing in small pubs around the country. And if she gets 1,000 likes on her Facebook page—which she is hoping to reach soon—this will help Rose with booking shows and possibly traveling to Ireland.

Rose’s inspiration stems from modern folk musicians and bands such as Iron and Wine, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, as well as classical folk artists Carole King and John Denver. That being said, Rose explained that inspiration also comes from her daily life and things that she learns along the way.

“Everything that I was learning and experiencing in life sort of can come out in a song and you can be inspired by anything,” she said.

Rose has always been a musician in her own right, experimenting with different forms since she was child. “I took piano for a long time … I did chorus,” she said. “But it never really came together—how I could make my own songs—because I don’t have a mathematical mind for the notations ... so I would have melodies in my head that I was singing all the time, but I had no way to really notate them,” she continued. “So when I learned guitar, that’s when it really clicked.”

Her love for the study of English literature helped her get into music, as well. “I always wanted to be a writer,” she says, “And then I discovered that writing and music can come together and I can be a songwriter.”

It seems like that realization really paid off for Rose—she created such a graceful atmosphere for her young audience at Geneseo with her tranquil tones. Hopefully, she will continue to do so for the rest of the world—especially Ireland.