With sultry vocals reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra, Rodes Rollins is creating music fit for a modern cowgirl. The reverberating guitars on “Young & Thriving,” the opening track on her new EP Young Adult, lead effortlessly into Rollins’ smoky tone. And Young Adult is filled with tunes like this and “Wes, Come Back,” that combine melancholy pop and country-rock into gripping, nostalgic coming-of-age tales.
Rollins sat down with Paste to discuss her wild shoe choices as a child, dressing mysteriously and her Barbie-related outfit malfunction.
Paste: When did you first paying more attention to style or fashion?
Rodes Rollins: Growing up, I was always drawn to wearing unique pieces, especially wild shoes! I’ve really never felt shy about wanting to make a statement with my outfit.
Paste: Do you feel that you dress more for yourself or for others?
Rollins: Both. At the end of the day, my outfits are for me. But I dress differently based on my environment. Who I’m hanging with and what I’m doing affect what I’ll be wearing that day and what will make me feel my best.
Paste: Do you dress any differently on stage than you do in your day-to-day life?
Rollins: Depending on the show, I generally like to wear my day-to-day clothes on stage. I’ll likely dress it up with a wild shoe. My clear lucite heels (aka “Young & Thriving” shoes) have become one of my favorite pairs to perform in. But really, put me on stage in a great pair of denim jeans, a tank top and some crazy shoes, and I’ll feel my best.
Paste: What is your biggest style inspiration?
Rollins:Music is by far the biggest inspiration for my style. Nancy Sinatra is one of my main inspirations sonically and visually. Her music conveys mysterious, western vibes and I take a lot of inspiration from that when writing and thinking about the visual aspects of my performance.
Paste: In your opinion, what movie, TV show, music video, etc. had the best or most iconic style?
Rollins: I am obsessed with Vince Staples’ “Prima Donna” music video. Everything about the video, from the costume and set design to the layers of storytelling, is right on. I’ve seen it 10 times, and I’m always finding new things each time I watch. The video itself is iconic.
Paste: What’s the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made?
Rollins: When I was 6, I had a life-size Barbie, and I decided it would be a good idea to wear her outfit to school. When I was hanging on the monkey bars at recess, Barbie’s pink skirt fell right off of me onto the ground. I’ve probably worn worse outfits since then, but I have to say that was the most embarrassing fashion mistake I’ve made.
Paste: In general, how do you approach the visuals that you use with your music, such as music videos or album art?
Rollins: This isn’t something that’s been easy to get right, but I try to convey a mystery and a darkness in the visuals for my music. These are elements that are important to highlight in order to really tell the story I’m trying to bring forth in my songs.
Paste: Why do you think music and fashion are so intertwined?
Rollins: We live in such a visual world these days, and there are so many avenues for us to communicate as musicians that aren’t just musical avenues in the traditional sense. Music and fashion are both mediums through which we tell stories, and fashion helps to bolster the stories we tell through music in a visual way. It functions as a method through which the music can be physically embodied. The two really go hand-in-hand.
Paste: Why do you think fashion is important?
Rollins: Fashion provides an immensely powerful tool for visual storytelling and branding (personal and professional). It conveys social ideals, perspective and innovation. I think sometimes we take its impact for granted. But it’s one of the most defining methods through which we communicate as a community and as individuals every single day.