Mass.-born artist Rosie Darling returns to Boston for sold-out show Feb. 6

By Karissa Schaefer, Staff Writer, Living Arts

Originally from Canton, Massachusetts, Rosie Darling grew up singing, messing around on the piano and guitar, and obsessing over Taylor Swift. 

There’s a delicacy to Darling’s voice—like a soulful blend of Halsey and Sara Bareilles—which she pairs with somber writing and mellow background beats. While she’s done EDM-style songs for features, she is more focused on pop and ballads, though always open to trying different sounds. Besides Swift, she loves to listen to and draws inspiration from other rising popstars such as Adele, Lizzie McAlpine, Mimi Webb, and Gracie Abrams—whom she credits as an influence on her upcoming project. 

“Whether it’s released or not, experimenting is always really important,” Darling said. “I’m working on an album—I’m still writing for it—but I’m using a lot of piano, guitar, and real recorded drums, that’s something new I haven’t done before. I don’t know how to describe it yet, but it feels very organic and less like structured pop music. It feels a bit different, but it’s still me and I hope people will like it.”

Now based in Los Angeles, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter returns to Boston on Feb. 6 as an opener for Ashley Kutcher’s sold-out show at Berklee College of Music’s Cafe 939. 

“It’s fun to tour because in some cities you don’t know anybody, but if you have friends in other places, they come to your shows and you get to say hi to your friends too,” Darling said in an interview with The Beacon. 

This is Darling’s second time as a tour opener, having previously done six West Coast shows for singer Caleb Hearn in mid-2022. As this tour is two-thirds of the way through, she looks forward to what’s ahead. 

“It’s my first bigger tour—it’s 10 shows and everything,” Darling said. “I’m excited to explore more of these cities, keep meeting people, see their experience of hearing my music, and hopefully just get more of my music out there as soon as possible.”

Over time, Darling’s passion for music exuded the confines of a hobby—it felt “natural” for her to make a career out of being a musician. She considers herself lucky because her career is a rewarding one. It rarely feels like work, especially when she gets to meet her eager fans.

“It’s overwhelming a bit, people just want to give you all this love and be so nice and kind,” Darling said. “After the show, getting to go and meet people to hear which song they connected with the most, it’s really nice to hear those unique stories. In Phoenix, this one fan brought me flowers and I never thought in a million years someone who doesn’t know me would bring me flowers.”

Darling first found success in 2017 with the release of her first single “L.A.,” which gained over five million streams on Spotify. In 2019, she wrote the song “Never Be The Same” for EDM duo Tritonal, which hit No. 1 on SiriusXM’s BPM radio. Since then, she has garnered over 55 million streams on Spotify, with over three million monthly listeners. 

Since graduating from Elon University in 2018, moving to L.A. has been auspicious for her career. Being that the city is home to a large portion of the music industry, she’s exposed to more artists, producers, and writers than she could dream of.

“I’ve grown to really love writing too, that was something I needed to perfect, and I’ve been able to meet so many other writers who inspire me,” Darling said. “There’s a lot more that you do that people don’t see. Living in L.A., I’ve found people who can elevate my ideas and bring them to life.”

After seeing the popularity everyday people could find by posting videos on the internet, Darling was inspired to share her first music video on YouTube at age 12, calling it “our version of TikTok” back then. Even now, her videos continue to be casual and conversational.

“I was trying to put myself out there and I loved singing covers—I still do,” Darling said. “I still do those things, it’s just different now with social media. Some of the music videos are different, more bigger production, but usually the performance shot is just me in nature or something. It still feels not homemade, but not as big of a deal.”

Darling’s favorite music video she recorded was for “Always Almost,” directed by Laura-Lynn Patrick. Since its release nearly a year ago, the video has received over 73,000 views, 1,900 likes, and immense support in the comments from fans. 

“It just came out so nice, the storytelling really showed through,” Darling said. “I got to work with an actor for the first time which was cool. I don’t know how to act, so luckily he did everything. We got to hangout in LA and run around to all these beautiful locations to just do our thing. I’m super close to [Laura-Lynn], so she’s going to be doing more of my stuff in the future. Building that relationship was really cool too.”

Darling’s debut EP, “Coping, launched in 2021 with Nettwerk Records, and the title track hit the Top 20 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart. The song is her most listened to on Spotify, amassing over 51 million streams. Her sophomore EP “Golden Age”—in which she attempts to make sense of COVID’s impact on her life—released in August 2022, and the second track, “Say Less,” is her most played, having currently amassed over six million streams. 

Fans know her distinctive musical and lyrical styles, which she pours all her life lessons into. Through her songwriting, Darling is able to describe emotions from lived experiences into reflective words that many people can connect to because “we’re all human,” as she said in the interview. An artist like Darling reinforces why emotional growth is best heard through the art of music.

“We all feel a lot of the same things, but depending on the situation, it sometimes can feel very unique and even isolating,” Darling said. “I love to find new ways of saying something that’s already been said, like a creative or clever way of saying something. Being specific about things in my music and hearing how it relates to other people in their experience is the best part, it’s the most satisfying.”

Darling’s favorite feel-good songs to perform are “Coping” or “Witness,” because they’re some of the most popular among her fans—placed towards the end of her set, Darling is fully able to let go of her anxieties and just have fun. 

In preparation for her shows, she catches up on as much sleep as possible, focused on staying healthy and hydrated with tons of tea and water. And in order to calm her nerves, Darling loves to distract herself by reading, even if it’s scrolling on her phone. 

“There’s just a lot of anticipation,” Darling said. “I get to the venue to scope out my surroundings [and] get adjusted. Each venue is so different. I try to stay calm and once I get on the stage, I feel good and I’m ready to go.” 

Darling plans to release singles after finishing the tour; her next is slated for March. Fans can expect her first album in the future, but before that, she’ll be hitting the 2023 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas—her first-ever music festival. With a one-off performance, she’s excited for the opportunity to have plenty of time to organize her set and put on a good, fun show. 

Excitedly, Darling’s Feb. 6 show will be the first concert she has done in Boston—one that’s extra special because she’ll be surrounded by family and friends. Looking forward to it, she said she hopes to have more shows in Boston in the future.