Photo: Savana Santos

Introducing: Khloe Rose

19-year-old Khloe Rose demonstrates that she truly does it all in her debut EP The In Between. The seven-track EP is an anthemic coming-of-age that poetically describes the transitional period between adolescence and young adulthood. “For me, the EP is actually kind of a perfect snapshot of my life over the past three years,” Rose explained. “There are two songs that I wrote when I was 16, two I wrote when I was 17, and then there are three songs that I wrote when I was 18. So it’s definitely something that’s taken from a significant span of time over my life.”

Each song, written by Rose and produced in collaboration with Alex Hope, lyrically captures heartache, anxiety, yearning, and change and transports listeners back to that time in their own lives. “It feels very surreal and really exciting, but also really nerve-wracking,” Rose described when discussing releasing her first EP. “I feel like there’s more pieces of me that are out in the world than there have ever been, so I’m definitely adjusting to the new experience. But overall, I’m very proud and excited.” 

But before she reached the point of releasing an EP, Rose was just another young girl with big dreams of becoming a singer. Rose recalled a particular Taylor Swift performance at the 43rd Academy of Country Music Awards in 2008 that truly inspired her ambitions to become a singer. “I just remember being so young and watching that performance, where she’s singing and the rain is pouring down on her,” Rose reflected.  “It was like a switch flipped in me and I was like ‘I think I want to do that.’ I just thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen up to that point and then I never really outgrew that idea of being a singer.”

From then, Rose’s parents enrolled her in piano and singing lessons, and eventually began songwriting at age 13. “I never ventured into songwriting before that because it felt like a really niche skill and talent that you had to be born with,” Rose explained. “ I thought that if you weren’t already successful with it, that meant you shouldn’t explore it and I just didn’t think it was a skill that I had.” 

The first song she wrote was in eighth grade about her anxiety affecting her life at that point working through those issues at a young age. “I was trying to reconcile with those emotions and feelings. It’s hard because when you’re not young, you feel like literally no one understands and all you want is for someone to understand without explaining it to them. And that’s what the song was about.” 

At 15 years old, Rose played one of her original songs for her vocal coach, who encouraged her to branch out and share her music. She started by just showing her friends first and joined her community theater program, which served as her main outlet for performing in her small town. Rose later turned to TikTok to share her music as an alternative outlet for performing at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During that time, she wrote the upbeat pop song “Fictional.” A fangirl at heart, Rose described the feelings of being in love with fictional characters in books in the song.  “At 16 years old,  I wasn’t in love with anybody. I had never been in love with anybody at that point,” Rose explained. “I didn’t have good relationships with the boys that went to my school. They were not nice to me and I did not like them; it’s something I struggled with when I was that young because everybody else is dating and falling in love around me. And it’s hard because young women get so deeply criticized for taking an interest in any sort of romance media and basing their standards on that because no one takes it seriously. I think people fail to understand that the reason we’re so attached to these standards and this media is because we’re not experiencing that in our real life. It helps us cope with the disappointment and the heartbreak that we’re actually experiencing so we can have hope for it in the future.”

“That was something that I felt really strongly about when I was 16, and I wanted to write it in a way that I knew is going to be relatable, but I also wanted it to be fun, youthful, and fantastical. Rose posted the song on her Tiktok account and it went viral and later became the first single on her EP. “Gosh, I was so dramatic at 16,” she laughed. “But it’s so fun. And I’m glad that I got to talk about a topic people relate to. It’s nice to hear someone acknowledge that we’re all a little bit delusional.”

From there, Rose connected with producer Alex Hope to record “Fictional” and work on the rest of the EP together. Recording and working on songs for this debut was her first time working with a team experienced in the music industry. 

“It’s very intimidating to go into a space where you know that you’re going to be working with people who are seasoned in their position,” she explained. “At the same time. I learned to find the balance between standing strong in my decisions and not backing down. You know yourself best, while also respecting the expertise. I’m really lucky because the people I am working with provide the most comfortable environment and always reassure me that my opinion matters.”  

The title track “The In Between” was selected by Rose as the second single for the EP. The song was inspired by a conversation with her best friend about not giving someone a chance because of the anxiety of getting hurt by them.”It was definitely something that I really related to at the time I wrote the song. I had feelings for this person and I couldn’t bring myself to fully commit to this thing because I’m just too scared and I’m projecting all of these malicious intentions on them. They never showed me that those fears were true, but I just couldn’t shake  off the feeling.”

The music video for “The In Between” depicts the emotional stress of the situation Rose grappled with and the importance of friends who can bring you back down to Earth while working through those emotions. “We were throwing paint at each other for an hour,” she remembered fondly. “Then I went and ate at a restaurant with paint in my hair and all over my face.” 

For Rose, this EP is only the beginning. She hopes to continue making music that connects with listeners and eventually tour and share her music with the world. “I tend to overthink so many things. I feel like I have to work really hard to be good at something and songwriting and singing is the one thing about my whole life I’ve never doubted. I’m most proud of committing to this whole process and diving into the deep end.” 

The In Between is now available across all streaming platforms.