The mere mention of the red-eye trip is enough to make one groan. But Filipino singer-songwriter VJ Rosales, aka VRO, has arrived to change your mind with his upbeat and energetic new single, “Red Eye.”
Rosales has been making music all his life, first singing karaoke at parties (“You know, being Filipino American,” he jokes) and later performing in a high school choir and marching band. . He went on to earn a performing arts degree from California State University, Long Beach, and made crucial connections that would later lead him to co-found The Filharmonic with fellow Filipino singers Jules Cruz, Joe Caigoy, Trace Gaynor, Barry Fortgang and Niko. Del Rey. The a capella team has since appeared on “Pitch Perfect 2” and “The Sing-Off,” and supported Lizzo and Camila Cabello on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show.”
Nine years after joining The Filharmonic, Rosales began his solo career. He released “Red Eye” in early June and released the music video for the track today, July 14. But don’t worry, Filharmonic fans, he won’t be abandoning his a capella roots anytime soon. Check out our full interview below to learn more about Rosales’ upcoming work, her experiences with The Filharmonic, and her goals for her music. And after reading our conversation and listening to “Red Eye”, don’t forget to follow VRO on Instagram and Twitter to follow its latest news!
CM: How does it feel to pursue a solo career after playing with the Filharmonic for so long?
VR: It’s interesting. Although I love being in the band, there’s a different aspect to going solo and doing your own projects because it’s all you, which is really fun. But you are used to relying on the other members of the group. It’s something to adapt to, but I really like it. It is also a creative cleaning. It’s thinking differently and being creative in a different way.
It’s also such a genre shift for you, from a capella music to pop music with instrumental accompaniment. How has this transition been for you?
It’s nice to sing along with leads and instruments because it’s such a sonic change. I’ve sung with bands before, and will sing with a band here and there, so it’s not new to me, but it’s still a change. When I sing at my own gigs now, it’s cool; it’s fun and challenging.
What are some of your inspirations behind your new track, “Red Eye?”
I wrote this song in 2019 with a ton of writers. We wrote it in London for a songwriting camp for another artist, and I won’t say any names, but a lot of these songwriters write for huge R&B artists [like] Chris Brown and Janelle Monáe, to name a few. So, we wanted to put those songs with their teams, but none of them took “Red Eye,” which is a song that really meant a lot to me. During the session, the songwriters said, ‘Hey, VJ, if nobody takes this, you should probably take this yourself, because this is definitely your sound. It is made for you. I didn’t even know the songwriters. They just knew that was who I was as an artist, and at that time I didn’t really consider myself a solo artist. So, I was like, ‘I’m going to take it for myself and present it as my own art.’ I’m really happy and proud of it because I loved the song from the start and felt like I found my sound with that particular song.
What kind of response did you receive after “Red Eye” came out, especially since you also came out publicly as queer at the same time?
I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of scary to finally represent who I am. For so long I was afraid to be transparent and to be an artist. But you realize that you have to know yourself; you must live in your truth. Once inside, it becomes easy. So, I felt that with “Red Eye”, I was finally myself. I’ve had some great feedback and it’s been a supportive period for me, so I’m really grateful for that.
What can fans expect from the clip?
Some of the guys from The Filharmonic will be there, so there will be a few cameos. It’s a really fun video. My goal for this song was just to get people up and dancing. I got that vibe so far from the people who listened to it, so I want this music video to take that a little further.
So, the other members of Filharmonic also support your debut?
That’s why I love The Filharmonic so much. The opportunity to be in this group has changed me in many ways. I have grown so much and we have all become this brotherhood that supports each other in our different undertakings. So they were very supportive of this solo move.
They are a big part of why I do this too. I attribute a lot of my success to being in this band, so I want to continue with this new art form and continue with them as well.
And what are some of your other goals as you move forward as a solo artist?
I want to release an album; I want to keep releasing new music all the time. I want to be that artist who creates music that is authentic to me, with what I experience as a human, and I want those to be amplified through my art. So, I will continue to write songs; I’m going to keep making albums and perfecting my craft and getting better and better.
But at the end of the day, I want to represent the [LGBTQ] community and I want to represent Asian Americans. We are underrepresented, and I want my music to transcend and reflect those groups of people.