Whether you’re a rock junkie, a lover of folk, or grew up on early hip hop, this year’s Forecastle Festival is sure to please. Along with some of the biggest artists across genres – Jack White, Outkast, and Beck, to name a few – the 2014 lineup includes some of the best of Louisville’s local artists as well.
The Highlands’ own James Lindsey Jr., better known as Jalin Roze, made the list this year, and though he may seem like just another local artist to those outside of Louisville’s music scene, he’s definitely a must-see.
Those who went to last year’s Forecastle might recognize the name after seeing Jalin Roze perform a cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” with Louisville’s melodic rock group The Pass during their set at the festival.
“The Pass called me a couple of months before Forecastle last year and asked me to rap on their cover of ‘When Doves Cry,’” Roze recalls. “It was such a great opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up. I was able to network with so many people there.”
That night of networking helped him book several shows last year and land his spot on this year’s lineup. “After Forecastle, I was able to play at the CMJ Festival in New York, and because of that festival experience, Forecastle booked me right away.”
When asked what got him started in the music business, Roze says, “Life is short, so you should do what you want to do.”
After the death of his mother when the rapper was in his early 20s, he was faced with the reality of how short life really is. “I asked myself, what can I leave behind?”
Jalin Roze has been gaining significant recognition since the independent YouTube release of the music video for his first song “Taxi” three years ago.
“I sampled a beat by Mos Def for the song and had a friend film me rapping for the video. The attention I got from it was unbelievable,” he says.
After the popularity of his first song, the rapper connected with his close childhood friend, Josh Larock, who is now Roze’s producer and the creative mind behind the Jalin Roze logo and website design.
And if Larock’s name sounds familiar, you might know him as a graphic designer for Actors Theater. His talent has also been featured in several of Louisville’s recent GonzoFest advertisements.
“At first I played at shows with all types of bands: bluegrass, rock, everything. I just wanted to perform and get my music heard,” Roze says. “I would call venues to book shows, and they would ask me, ‘who are you?’”
However, since writing more music with his producer, the rapper has been performing at more shows at venues across the city, and has even served as the opening act for several major names in hip-hop, such as Big Sean, Asher Roth, and Slick Rick during their Louisville appearances.
When the musical mastermind isn’t playing basketball at the Douglass Loop Community Center, or dining at his favorite local restaurant, El Taco Luchador, he’s focusing on musical opportunities. “I don’t have a manager, so I don’t have any help. I book every show, I direct every video, and I write every song.”
And last fall, Roze proved his success and growing popularity after taking home the award for Best Local Hip-hop Artist at the first annual Louisville Music Awards.
This award was particularly important to the artist because the city plays a major role in his musical inspiration.
“I want Louisville to be known nationwide as the best city because I feel like it already is the best city,” says Jalin Roze. “If you could take your favorite rapper and make him from Louisville, that’s what I want to be.”
And the greatness of the city will certainly be reflected at this year’s Forecastle Festival, not only through Jalin Roze’s music, but through the vendors, the venue, and the friendliness of the locals in attendance. The rapper can’t wait, because, according to him, “Forecastle represents Louisville.”
After his big show on Saturday night of the Forecastle Festival weekend, Jalin Roze plans to continue working on his upcoming project, The Galleria, which he describes as his best work yet. “I have a band now, so I’m incorporating more live instrumentation into this album. It will definitely show my progress as a musician.”
The first single from The Galleria was released this past week on Louisville’s WFPK. There’s no set release date for the full album yet, but Jalin Roze promises it will be worth the wait. “It’s not just about rapping anymore; it’s about the music.”
If you can’t wait until Forecastle to hear some of Jalin Roze’s best music, you can see him perform along with The Pass at Zanzabar this Saturday, April 19.
You can also hear Jalin Roze on the soundtrack of Chuck Deuce’s new local film, Good Luck With That, which features a cast of all local actors, and all music from local musicians.
For more information on up-coming shows, discography and booking, visit Jalin Roze’s website here.