Rosé has been juggling different personalities throughout her life. Born to Korean parents in New Zealand, Roseanne Chaeyoung Park grew up mainly in Australia, comparing her childhood there to the double life of Hannah Montana: She was a Korean Chaeyoung at church on Sundays, attending services with other immigrants. During the week, she was the Australian Roseanne kid at school. Behind the Blackpink character, she said, “I really don’t do too much. I live a really quiet life. My mother came to my house…that thing. ”
Now, she’s trying to reconcile the simpler, less well-known woman with the public figure – playing the guitar, high-note singer with a “golden voice,” as the fan favorite points out, the star has her 2021 single “On the Ground” (the lead track on her solo release, CHEAP) topped both BillboardsGlobal 200 and Global 200 Excl. US charts, making her the first K-pop solo artist to do so. “I’m trying to merge those two worlds together in the middle,” she said as she munched on fried rice at a pho restaurant inside YG Entertainment headquarters. “That was fierce [Rosé] persona – it’s fun when that happens, when I can highlight this whole different character. ”
(To celebrate Blackpink’s appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone, we’ll be publishing individual digital covers featuring each of the band members; check back throughout this week for more.)
What is the pandemic like for you, when everything stops?
Oh, that’s terrible. I’ve never rested like that in my life, and it was the worst. I was sick at one point – you know, what kind of stuff does your body go through when stress hits you? I have shingles. It came to me not knowing what to do in a life without work. I’m a workaholic, obviously. I can’t stand the fact that suddenly all of our schedules are empty for the next two to three months. I started thinking, “What if people don’t care about me, or us, at the end of this pandemic? What will I do for the rest of my life? “I don’t know why I think that. Now that I think about it, I was so tragic. Why am I so grumpy?
How did you use that free time?
I used that time to get to know myself better. “How do I cope with myself? How do I deal with myself in a quiet room? ” I think a lot of people can really relate. I was extremely extroverted back then. It was time for me to tune in to my inner self, to act like an introvert. I created this introverted personality. – I remember being in a big room with a group of people and I wanted to go home for the first time.
Is music something you were drawn to as a child without thinking?
I think so. We have this really old piano that was given to us by our aunt – she’s had it for 10 years or so. It’s light brown, very dull and drab, but it works. It always sits in the living room. We had our lessons growing up – I hated them. I used to cry because I didn’t want to practice. The teacher is really scary.
Oh, my God, even in Australia, Korean parents force their children to take piano lessons?
Of course! I lived a very ordinary Korean life. I remember, one day, I said to my mother, “I don’t want to study anymore.” She agreed. I was surprised. I learned how to play basic chords. So that’s enough to become a tool for my singing. The internet back then was too slow. In the morning we wake up and if we want to watch a movie we will click “download” and we will have to wait, say two days. But the piano: We don’t need to charge it. We can play it on the spot.
My parents always worked – surprisingly I didn’t really hang out with friends that much back then. My friends all live quite far away from me. My sister will study. I have nothing to do. I watched TV for three hours, and eventually I got bored, so I started playing the piano, until my parents literally said, “We need to go to bed now! Can you keep quiet?”
Tell me about a moment when your parents said, “Rosé! Stop singing and go to sleep! ”
Actually, I remember them being, “Oh, Rosé, why don’t we sleep now?” But then, my sister told me, they used to meet upstairs in my parents’ room and discuss who would get their turn. [was] go down to tell [me] stop. They’ll roll their eyes: “Oh, my God, she doesn’t know how to stop.” I don’t know about that! They didn’t tell me. I mean, it’s great if you think about it. Thanks for not smothering my dream of becoming a superstar, ha-ha-ha.
What do you remember about your childhood home?
It was an ordinary two-story house. We have a backyard, a dog. There are many old people living around us; it is not a youthful area. It is very quiet, very friendly. We are a quiet Asian family. There are many lizards. We wake up and put our shoes on outside; there will be little lizards inside our shoes. Small lizards, big cockroaches – I’m still terrified of them.
Let’s talk about music. You are serious about your profession. There’s all this noise, photography, interviews, spectacle – but the music is what matters.
As corny as it sounds, it’s accurate, for sure. It started with my love for music; that’s what makes me happy. It’s like a feeling – what do you call it? – is healing. It’s something that calms me down during the day, it makes me stop thinking. But with that, I have to do all these wonderful things. To take a photo! In front of the TV [cameras]! It’s been really fun and I’m so grateful to be able to do these things. But then, I forgot about the music. I forgot to sit down and take my guitar and sing.
During my break, I started to realize that I just love to sit and sing. Recently I started picking up guitar again. I haven’t done that in the last two or three months – getting caught up in life. But I’ve had a few days where I don’t have anything. I have no plans at all. I just decided to stay home and see what happens.
You and that empty room.
Yes, basically! I even told my mother that I wanted to be alone for the next few days. So she didn’t come over. I started picking my guitar. I sang a few songs that I liked. I wondered, “What if I sang that? How will I sing? ” And I started singing. I loved it. I turned on my iPad – I did this in Australia too. iPads just started coming out, and my dad bought me an iPad, and I remember I did the same thing – and I recorded it myself. It was fun. It sounds silly, I love music.
You have high standards, and sometimes you are harsh on yourself. Is this drive to get better sometimes a burden?
Sure. Sometimes I look at someone very confident, and I admire that. I wish I could too. I’m very insecure about it, but only because I care about it too much. I respect it very much. Yes, it burdens me sometimes, but I work hard to get over it. Confidence is something I do every day.
Security isn’t a negative – it’s one of the most powerful drivers of fine art. Tell me about how you made yourself vulnerable to music.
I think I’m just vulnerable! I started to realize how sad it is to live a life without stress. In the past, if I felt nervous, it would burden me a lot, because you just want to relax, right? But being nervous about something, really interested in something new is what makes life interesting and fun.
What makes you think about all of this?
Why am I crying? Oh, my God, that’s weird. I’m so sorry. I hate myself for this, this is funny. This is really strange. Oh my God. What made me think so? How many years has it been since we formed Blackpink, six years? So it’s time to start getting comfortable in certain settings. I think a large amount of comfort and a large amount of vulnerability are always good. I also really enjoy that feeling of being hurt and really want or crave something – I really enjoy that feeling. So I don’t want to lose that, ever.
Is there an artist you envy these days?
I recently went to a Dua Lipa concert. She sang live. Well, this is – I was like, her voice is – her voice is, it’s just, it’s amazing. She was very good. I was blown away. I took a lot of notes. I’m definitely liking it.
You released your first solo singles last year, “On the Ground” and “Gone”, to great success. How does it feel to stand alone, without a groupmate?
It was a huge challenge – that made me even more vulnerable. The four of us as one. We are there for each other, and if one cannot be at their best that day, we are there to fill the other. Standing alone was scary. It made me realize that Blackpink has been a big support for me in the past. When I don’t know what to do, I call to ask how they feel, what their opinion is. So they were always there during my solo activities.
Tell me about the lyrics “Everything I need is on the ground.”
This line was originally written by the producer of the song. That’s what impressed me and my producer the most. We were drawn to this song because of this phrase.
What is “on the ground” to you?
Just us as humans. A year and a half ago, maybe two, I remember we ate. It was the four of us and Teddy. We were just hungry people – we arrived at the restaurant, very hungry, and the food was delicious. This is what makes us feel like people. Just us, eating with the people we love. It feels like a family, that’s what makes us happy. At the end of the day, you have to sit down and remember that everything we need is – the most ordinary things we do, hanging out with the people we love, doing the things we love.
Music can be loud and very enjoyable; we love that because it creates a movement and we can bring people together; we can enjoy and celebrate life together. But then, “How did we get here? Rosé, what does music mean to you? “Everything I need is on the ground. That’s where I started.
Have you ever imagined life after Blackpink? After this is over?
I think about it. But I don’t think it will end. Blackpink is family forever. I grew up with them. They are part of me. I don’t think it will ever end. I was stupid to have to worry about that or think about it. But you know what, when something is good and you love it so much, you always think about it, because you don’t want to lose it.
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/blackpink-rose-new-music-solo-on-the-ground-1356345/ Blackpink’s Rosé on New Music, ‘On the Ground,’ Childhood in Australia