Roszo immigrated to the US from Ukraine at the age of seven and grew up in the heart of northeast Minneapolis, and still remembers what life was like as a kid spending summers by the Black Sea in Mykolaev, Ukraine.
“The sands were burning hot with thorns that would cut your feet, a metaphor for the difficult lives that many lead there. Although … the views of the Black Sea were mesmerizing; something I will never forget it,” says Roszo. ” The closest thing I can compare it to from my experience here in the US is the view from the mountains south of Santa Barbara looking out over at the Pacific Ocean.”
Northeast Minneapolis is an ethnic melting pot, with diverse cultures. Like so many others, Roszo had to learn a new language, making communication difficult at first, so he was drawn to the arts to better express himself.
“Music, dance, drawing, and painting were all spaces where I felt understood and was given the freedom to create. My musical journey began when I started learning the piano at age 10 with early influencers like the Beatles as well as classical and traditional Ukrainian music. I picked up the guitar as a teenager and started listening to 90’s rock, such as grunge, pop/punk and metal. Around the same time, my interest in singing and songwriting began to develop.
One of my earliest memories of Ukraine is playing around with an old guitar belonging to a uncle. I doubt he was too happy with me. Later when I became more serious about the guitar, songwriting seemed to develop naturally. I literally had just learned two barre chords and wondered if I could write a song with that. Needless to say it wasn’t very good, but it was still invigorating. Same deal with singing. For me, the two have always gone hand in hand. I had found my ultimate tools of expression.
I went through a period of diminished creativity following the death of my mother when I was 17. During that time I experienced a disconnect from my artistic passions and self identity. I was in survival mode for a while, losing a lot of confidence in myself. Despite it all, writing songs and composing music were a solace for me, and I continued to work on my skills in private. It was through the help of close friends that I was able to regain my confidence and rediscover passion for the arts. With newfound determination, I decided to commit myself to a musical career.”
Other influences impacted Roszo’s musicality, such as dance and Karate. For 10 years, he was a dancer with the Cheremosh Ensemble, the Minneapolis-based ethnic-Ukrainian dance group, having performed many times across Minnesota. Roszo is also a third-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu Karate, having practiced for more than 15 years.
“For me, music and dance are freedom incarnate – freedom through movement. Just as there is with music, the structure and choreography of dance uphold ones soul, Both music and dance are elaborate displays of yin and yang, soft and hard, slow and fast, and together they create (at least in my own mind) the ideal expression of life. As I write this, we are in production for the first of my music videos, with two more in pre-production. The idea that movement and dance and music can be integrated into a whole is a truly exciting thought.”