Southend-born Rosalie’s intriguing career story began at the age of 12 when she first picked up a guitar with serious intent. “Even before then,” she says, “I was picking out melodies on the piano and writing little songs, but developing an interest in the guitar was the catalyst to forming my first band at school.”
The eldest child of a musician/journalist father and yoga teacher mother, Rosalie grew up with her three siblings in an environment where music was constantly in the air.
Fascinated by The Beatles, Slade, Syd-era Floyd, Bowie, Small Faces, Genesis and Black Sabbath, her creativity first reached the wider public in 2007 when she founded her first professional band, the all-female, Gothic-psychedelic outfit Ipso Facto, releasing three singles and a mini album, touring as support to Magazine and The Last Shadow Puppets, and becoming the new darlings of the UK and European festival circuit.
After Ipso Facto’s split, Rosalie immersed herself in the session world, guesting with numerous bands and artists, and appearing on TV programmes including ‘Later… With Jools Holland’, ‘BBC Electric Proms’ and NBC’s ‘Jay Leno Show’, however, the burning urge to cultivate her own music came to the fore.
In 2011, wearing her psychedelic influences even more proudly, Rosalie’s next move was to launch the internationally acclaimed Purson. Initially signed to Rise Above, Purson released their first album, The Circle & The Blue Door (2013), which included the singles ‘Rocking Horse’ and ‘Leaning On A Bear’, as well as live favourites ‘Tragic Catastrophe’ and ‘Spiderwood Farm’. Dealing with “the struggle between light and dark”, the album was followed by an interim four-track EP, In The Meantime…
Then, in April 2016, came the Spinefarm/Universal release, Desire’s Magic Theatre. Rosalie’s widescreen vision of “vaudeville carny psych”, this beautifully executed album bore tracks including the heavily playlisted ‘Electric Landlady’ and ‘The Sky Parade’.
Purson frequently toured the UK, Europe and North America – with the likes of KISS, Ghost and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – and featured regularly on BBC 6 Music. The band also had the honour of winning several major accolades. Hailed as Best New Band and being awarded Best Debut Album in ‘Terrorizer’ magazine’s 2013 readers poll, Purson was shortlisted at Classic Rock’s 2014 Rock Roll Of Honour event in Los Angeles. In 2015, the band won the Vanguard award at the Progressive Music Awards in London.
There was also more to Purson than the music. Keenly aware of the visual appeal of their retro sensibilities, Rosalie and band colleague Sam Robinson worked closely with Mr Fish – the legendary British fashion brand behind the wardrobes of David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix – to design their very own stage outfits and become the faces of the brand’s 21st century relaunch.
Released in July 2019 to immediate widespread acclaim, Cunningham’s eponymous début album was the result of an extended period of reflection following the break-up of her band Purson, and contains her most compelling and daring songwriting to date.
Her brand new five-piece live outfit – featuring guitarist Rosco Levee, keyboard player Lee Spreadbury, bassist Alpha Michelle and drummer Raphael Mura – came storming out of the starting gate this summer with a live session on BBC 6 Music and an extraordinarily well-received tour of the UK, offering what reviewer Mike Ainscoe described as a “wholly immersive experience”.
The analogue character of Cunningham’s solo debut affirms her natural artistic tendencies to inject the original flavours of psychedelia, prog and folk-rock into the modern age.
Her focus is still firmly informed by ’60s and ’70s rock giants like Jethro Tull, Cream and Deep Purple, and yet there is a kaleidoscopic haze, awash with fuzzy guitars and Wurlitzer organs, that ripples through many tracks....
The release of Cunningham’s solo dedut has been enthusiastically supported by feature articles in such leading magazines as Classic Rock, Prog and Shindig! She says: “I am wholeheartedly delighted with the universally positive reactions to the album. Moving forward has never felt so exciting, especially with this amazing, shit hot live band I’m blessed with!”
“Getting out there and playing the songs every night to a dazzled crowd, with a band who never cease to amaze me, was such a high. The summer tour was just the start. It inspired me to up the ante and storm some festival stages across the globe in 2020!”
“Rosalie’s fans are more than used to her multi-instrumental brilliance and sublime imagination by now, but newcomers should definitely strap themselves in for a mind-blowing trip and an unforgettable introduction to one of our most delirious talents.” PROG
“A debut solo outing that is a heady brew of psychedelia, hard-driving riffs and glam rock, all in thrall to Cunningham’s bewitching vocal presence.” 8/10 GUITARIST
“There is something wonderfully dramatic and theatrical about Rosalie Cunningham’s debut solo album.” **** DAILY EXPRESS
“The songs display a new sense of freedom as they skitter between psychedelia, prog and playful avant-pop.” 8/10 UNCUT
“Her voice is always extraordinary.” **** PLANET ROCK MAGAZINE
“She’s a great talent and this album is the proof.” 9/10 POWERPLAY
“An enthralling album, Rosalie Cunningham has touched genius in this dramatic, pulse-driven recording.” ***** LIVERPOOL SOUND & VISION
“Cunningham’s self-titled debut is a cohesive masterpiece that’s not to be missed.” *****
“Fabulous stuff that by rights should earn Cunningham the stardom she deserves.” **** SHINDIG!
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