Rodes Rollins has been gathering buzz ever since the release of her first single, 'Young and Thriving', last fall. She quickly followed that release with the excellent 'Wes Come Home' - both of which feature on her upcoming EP, Young Adult.

The way she mixes genres, combined with the natural story telling in her lyrics, captivated me and the 405 straight off the bat. In light of this, I caught up with Rodes Rollins to get to know her a little better.

Where did you grow up and what was life like where you grew up?

I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. It's a beautiful and peaceful place to live. But, it's a bit of a bubble (not much cultural, political, or socioeconomic diversity to speak of).

When I was 10, my parents enrolled me in a bilingual school. At the time, this was not a very common choice, but it was the best decision my family could have made. The school was 70% Hispanic students, mostly first generation Mexicans, and, when first entering the school, I felt like a "minority". I didn't speak a word of Spanish, but I learned quickly and gained a deep appreciation for Latin culture and language.

Since then, I've spent time living and playing music abroad in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. I don't have a Latin bone in my body, but Latin America, and the artists it has produced, have been an enormous influence on my life and my music.

What are your earliest memories of music? What was played around the house growing up?

I remember driving around in the car with my dad and sister listening to Cat Stevens a lot. His music is incredibly nostalgic for me. I started making music of my own when I was 8. I would record my songs in my guitar teacher's garage-turned-studio. I remember feeling so in my element there.

When did you first start to form your own musical identity? What bands/artists drew you in when you were young?

I started writing when I was 8. I was a happy kid, but for whatever reason, I would always write really sad songs - songs about loss, and breakups, and relationship issues. I remember playing my music for my parents, and totally freaking them out. They were like - "Why is our 8-year-old daughter singing about relationship problems? Did we do something wrong?" -- But for me, it was what always came naturally. It didn't matter if I hadn't experienced it yet. I felt like I had a lot of stories in me that I wanted to tell. I found my inspiration there.

I was a rock kid. My dad introduced me to lots of classic rock. Nirvana and the iconic LA punk bank, X, really stuck out to me. I remember listening to their album Wild Gift, and especially Exene Cervenca and John Doe singing 'The Once Over Twice'.

What was it about those artists that attracted you?

When I listened to that stuff, I felt older. I knew that they were singing about stuff that I didn't understand, but I wanted to.

How has that music shaped the music you listen to now?

I'm still drawn to a darker vibe. I love listening to it, and I love writing it. Nirvana has been a huge influence to me in my writing. I find myself writing a lot of Nirvana-esque chord progressions. There's been an amazing revival of the dark, grunge sound in a lot of people's music recently. Always excited to hear it with a fresh take though.

At what point did you realize that music was what you wanted to do and nothing was going to stop you?

When I was living abroad in Buenos Aires, I was playing a lot of live music and meeting lots of artists. There was something so magical in the air there. It felt like each gig led to another one, and I was so energized by it. Music is something that has been with me for a long time, but during that period, a spark was really lit. I was convinced that writing and playing was something I had to pursue professionally. Nothing else makes me feel the same.

What was that early music you wrote like? Would it be recognizable as "you" to listeners now?

My early songs are funny because they are really mature, content-wise, but my voice is so high pitched and squeaky. It's like the body didn't quite match the soul. My style has changed and developed significantly over the years. I made an EP when I was 17, and even that music feels so far away to me now at 22. I was really still exploring styles at the point. I feel like I found my current songwriting niche when I was 20 (we will see what I have to say about the music I'm making now, when I'm 24!)

What prompted those stylistic changes to create the music you are currently writing?

My time living in Buenos Aires was a huge turning point in my writing too. It was a true coming of age experience for me, between the culture shift and new relationships, it really impacted my writing. There, I was also reacquainted with grunge music - there's a big "grunge" scene down there (both established and indie). Those sounds inspired me. It was a very prolific time of writing.

Not to get too cliché, but your sound is haunting. There's a blend of old country, psychedelic, and modern pop that urges to be played in a corner of a gothic castle. What does it take to seamlessly merge these styles when writing your music? Or is this just what naturally comes out?

Thank you! Blending those sounds is something that I really tapped into when writing this EP. Alex Goose, my producer on this project, as well as Keith Armstrong our amazing engineer, helped me a lot with refining the sound. I would write and arrange the songs on my own, just with my acoustic guitar. Alex and Keith were so great at identifying the sounds I was going for and knowing exactly which musicians to bring in and which instruments to use (I think, between the two of them, they own close to 40 different guitars.) They helped to take my arrangements to the next level and really achieve a rich sound of blended styles.

To stay on the topic of sounds and genre, what's your take on genre these days? Specifically, do you find genre to be important when it comes to music?

I think it's getting increasingly difficult to label music these days by genre. Everyone is blending sounds and bending "the rules". I don't find genres that important when talking about music. I find references to certain sounds and moods far more meaningful.

How do you feel the internet and instant access to literally all recorded music ever is affecting the way not only musicians are influenced, but listeners as well?

We are living in an ADD world these days when it comes to media. We are used to consuming thousands of bite-sized pieces of information every day and largely forgetting them shortly thereafter. It's not that music is making any less of an impact these days, but because there's so much of it available to us, it's hard to remember it all. There's a lot of faceless artists today because of the ubiquitous availability of music. We find ourselves saying: "Oh! I like this song." But rarely do we remember, or even know, who performed it.

Getting back to your writing, what jumped out at me is your gift for telling a story. What's your approach when working on lyrics? Do you write prose as well?

Thank you again! I love telling stories, and not just through music but through lots of different mediums - photography, film, graphic art, fashion, on-and-on. I also really love writing prose. And editing too. Friends are often confused by my enthusiasm, but I'm always asking them if I can edit their pieces. When it comes to writing lyrics, I almost always write the music first, and let the lyrics follow. It's the sound and the music that inspire the story for me.

When you're in a writing slump, who are some musicians/ poets/ authors that you turn to for inspiration- whether for lyrics or composition?

It always changing, but as of late I've been listening to a lot of Rodrigo Amarante and Timber Timbre. I've found their sounds and stories to be super inspiring. I'm also drawn to visual inspiration. I was just on a flight back from Mexico City to the States, and looking down at the vast desert inspired so many new lyric ideas for me. I was day dreaming the whole flight.

Who are some artists you think any person considering becoming a song writer should listen to?

There are so many I could mention, but Lianne La Havas is the first one coming to mind. She is amazing! I think she's a really great artist to listen to because her voice will touch you without a doubt. From having seen her live show, she also seems like a really kind and humble person. She's an inspiration for sure.

Who are three living artists/ musicians/ bands that you dream of collaborating with?

Rodrigo Amarante, Kurt Vile and Broken Bells.

Lastly, what advice would you give to any young person considering to seriously pursue music for a living?

If it makes you happy, do it. And don't look back.

But most importantly, smile and kindly ignore all of your parents' friends who ask you how you plan to make a living doing music!