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Roz De La Cruz Saves a Relationship That’s Heading “South”

From the Philippines to Toronto, r&b/pop recording artist and singer-songwriter Roz De La Cruz releases the slow jam of the year with his latest passionate single, "South."

Since moving from the Philippines, Roz has heavily impacted the vibrant Toronto music scene, having studied music and Humber College while performing his personal tunes all across The 6IX. His breathtaking performance stylings alongside his lush, soulful vocals definitely make Roz De La Cruz an act to keep an eye on.

Now releasing his luscious, laid-back ballad, "South," the new song tracks the emotional road of a rocky relationship and doing everything in your power to save it from ending. The song was written by Roz and longtime friend/artist Kala Wita and produced by Roz's skilled production team. "South" was mastered by Grammy and Juno award-winning engineer Riley Bell (Daniel Caesar, Chris Brown, New West).

Roz De La Cruz wanted to give "South" a modern twist on the familiar catchy Filipino ballads he grew up on, and he's done exactly that and more. The song takes listeners into this slow, soulful, and ultra-groovy space reminiscent of Frank Ocean. The overall blissful feel is quickly halted when Roz De La Cruz vocalizes those painful emotions in a troubled relationship.

However, he does a perfect job of laying it all on the line and navigating where things started to go "South," attempting to make it right once and for all. The soothing r&b production keeps our toes tapping with the warmest tones and melodies, sending us into a harmonious listening experience that's truly impossible to resist.

Feed the mind and soul with Roz De La Cruz's honest and groovy new slow jam, "South," now available on all digital streaming platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Roz De La Cruz. We were honestly stunned when listening to the chilling and blissful experience within your latest single, "South." What inspired this deeply personal and passionate piece?

Thank you so much! I am so proud of this song. This was the first song I worked on with my team back in 2018. I think about how when I was brought up in the Philippines, I listened to a lot of power ballads and pop/r&b songs on the radio and was always watching those music videos on MTV and MuchMusic when I moved to Canada in the early 2000s. So I wanted to write a song that was reminiscent of those early sounds but with more of a modern edge to the production. Lyrically, this song is about those rough spots couples go through and emphasizes that talking things out when things go "south" is really important. I wanted to romanticize those old memories of relationships, the good and bad parts, and hope that the listeners can reflect and relate to those feelings.

What sound and vibe did you want the production and instrumentals to offer in "South?" How did you want these aspects to make listeners feel?

The team and I wanted the production to feel very modern. It starts out kinda lo-fi and then hits the listener with a full band when the beat comes in. I've been blessed to be surrounded by some great musicians in Toronto whom I regularly play with. It all started out when Sam Goswell, our lead engineer (and a killer drummer, too), sent me a beat sample, and our heads were immediately filled with ideas. We then experimented with synths and tried to get everything to sound real lush. A good friend of mine, Evan Porter, laid down the bass on this track, and he just knocked it out of the park. The bass on this tune is so much fun, and Evan helped bring that to life. Another buddy of mine, Raymond Eswagen, helped develop the guitar on the track too. For the drums, we wanted to create a blend of live and sampled elements, so we created a kick and snare groove and combined that with real live drum patterns played by Sam and our other producer Marcus Sisk. The mixture of real instruments and programmed sounds give off more of a unique, natural sound that still feels raw, authentic, and fresh. I think the listeners will enjoy the easy-going, bouncy nature of the track. We experimented a lot but made sure that we didn't get too carried away with putting in too much. We wanted to make sure that each sound we picked was essential to helping the song.

Did you experience any challenges when creating "South?" Whether that's an emotional struggle or a physical hurdle?

Every song that we've worked on has been a challenge to a degree. With this song, in particular, it was going to get botched. We tried re-recording the track as a more stripped-down version, changed the key, and we just were never happy with it. Then two years went by, we listened to the whole catalog of songs we had worked on, and listened back to the 1st demo version of "South" and asked ourselves, "What the hell were we thinking? Were we going to throw this one out? Are we dumb?!" We realized it was a great introduction as my first release and that it showcases my vocals. But it goes to show. Sometimes a song takes a day or two to make or two years. So follow your gut, trust your instincts, and you'll know what to do next.

What was your songwriting process like for "South," alongside Kala Wita? Did this collaboration make it easier to find the words you were looking for?

Kala (from the group New West) and I have been friends for a while now. We attended college together alongside the rest of my team, Sam Goswell and Marcus Sisk. They've been working hard to help develop the sound of "ROZ DE LA CRUZ ."When Sam sent the first demo for "South," I started writing ideas and lyrics, trying to make a song that encapsulates both the good and bad times in relationships. Then Sam and Kala helped me write the rest of the lyrics. I wanted the song to be catchy, memorable, and not too busy, so people could sing it right after hearing it for the first time. The verses and pre-choruses are simple, with the chorus lifting up the movement with a wavy and floaty melody that gets the point across. It's a pretty heavy topic about the importance of communication when things get rocky in relationships. Still, melodically and sonically, the song feels very light and romantic, which we always want to strive for in songwriting. Happy-Sad, Sad-Happy.

What's next for you?

After this release, I plan to put out 2 - 3 more songs this year. The songs all show slightly different sides of me. We're planning to release the 2nd single in the summer and the other ones in the fall and end of the year. There's no final date yet, but I plan to do a show in Toronto around November-ish? So keep an eye on that. We want to release enough material this year and keep listeners wanting more.

On top of that, we have a self-made label called "Keep It Down! Records". So that will keep me busy developing our artists and creating more content. It's always been a dream of mine to be involved with as many projects as possible. But "Roz De La Cruz" will always be my priority, and I can't wait for you to hear more!


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