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Local musician and singer Tori Roze gets messy and tries to kickstart her future

SAN DIEGO -- Victoria (Tori) Roze is the hardest working gal in local showbiz. Don't believe it?

Take a gander, for example, at her typical workload:

She works for the Village Hat Shop, moving between the Hillcrest and Seaport Village locations and produces the Female Fronted Bands at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.

She also models for art classes and manages her own band, while fiercely promoting and helping every other local band she can.

To top all that off, her band, The Hot Mess, is currently on tour, opening tomorrow night for Nikka Costa in La Jolla.

She's also busy trying to raise funds (through Kickstarter) to help offset the realistic costs involved in releasing her band's sophmore album; and, this weekend she is off to Los Angeles to try out (again) for The Voice.

How does she do it?

"I have to be kept busy, otherwise I flounder," she told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. "Or I will get into a lot of trouble."

Becoming that hot mess

A native San Diegan, Roze graduated from Point Loma High School in 2001 before transversing the globe to further her education. She landed back in San Diego for what he had expected to be a just short period, but performing has kept her around.

According to her website, The Hot Mess is "comprised of five exceptional jazz-infused musicians that literally bring the house down (one of which is her mother), is sure to leave you reeling with toe-tapping excitement."

Yes, you read that right ... her mother, Lee Clark, an acclaimed musician herself, is also in the band.

Obviously having a mother "in the biz" would give you an early advantage. Roze explains.

"I first got into music at a very young age - my mom is classically trained both vocally and on flute, so it was always embedded in the environment surrounding me," she said. "I remember walking around with a tape recorder making up songs at age 6, singing my little heart out and tearing up as I did so, because I felt the notes so viscerally reverberating through my soul.

"Music is simply intrinsic to my makeup: my heart might cease to beat without it in my life," she continued. "I did choral performances in every school I attended and at age 7 my mom signed me up for piano lessons. I did not stick to them for very long, but I had begun to establish a relationship with instruments other than the voice at that point.

"From there, I picked up the trumpet at age 10 because my elementary school offered a music class. That trumpet was my main shebang until I got a chance to sing again."

At 14 she got the urge to sing again, after checking out a local performance of "Bye Bye Birdie." It was then she put the physical instruments down and began developing the voice that came with her body, her voice.

Musical theater became her new method of expression. A long stint at Diversionary Theater only ended when her band got off the ground in 2008, and she often misses it.

"Musical theatre is the true thing that brought me to today and I am forever indebted to its ability to inspire an individual," she said.

The biggest thing we've ever done

La Jolla Playhouse recently opened a brand new theater, the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Cabaret-style Theater, a unique cabaret-style space featuring a 1920s “supper club” atmosphere, with multi-level platforms and custom banquettes, and accommodations for approximately 400 people.

Roze's band will be only the third or fourth act to take its stage when they open tomorrow for Costa, who first gained stardom in the early 2000's when her song "Like a Feather" made it to MTV rotation, back when MTV actually still showed videos on its network.

"This is the biggest thing we've ever done to date," Roze said. "It's an honor to be opening for Nikka; many I respect musically have opened for her, so this is like a milestone for us."

Doors will open at 7 pm, The Hot Mess starts at 8 pm and tickets are $10 and $15. This is a "16 and up" event.

To get tickets for tomorrow night's show, click HERE.

La Jolla Playhouse is located on the UCSD Campus via the Revelle entrance.

2910 La Jolla Village Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

Kickstarting a hot mess into gear

After production costs for the Hot Mess' debut album "From the Hip" came out of Roze's own pocket, she decided this time around they'd look for a little help. Nearly two months ago she launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com to do just that.

This is where fans come in.

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects -- they can be music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other related, creative fields.

The catch? It is an "all or nothing" funding methodology, to protect all involved. You set a goal, a time period to make that goal, you make the goal, you get the money. You don't make goal -- you don't get the money. Pretty straightforward.

As of this writing, Roze so far has 42 "backers" who have pledged $1,820 toward her $5,000 goal and she only has 15 days to go.

In other words, if she does not make at least $5,000 by April 11, she doesn't get any of it and will be back to square one. That's plenty of reason to be a nervous nelly.

Why $5,000?

"To have a product that truly represents us in the way we want to accomplish it, we need at least $5,000," she said.

What will the money go to?

"Studio time, engineers, art work, printing of the CDs. To do it all well costs money," she explained.

Kickstarter allows you to set up "rewards" so that your donors get something back for their donation, and Roze has been quite creative in not only the donation amounts, but what you will receive in return.

  • There are a total of twelve tiers and each offers something back to the donor, along with all "rewards" from the previous tiers.
  • Her lowest tier for donations is just $ 1 (one dollar) -- an amount that will get you a personal 'thank you' in the liner notes of the album.
  • The highest tier is set at $ 1,000 -- which gives you a private, two hour concert with the full band, at a time of your choosing.

There is something everyone can afford and Roze wants her fans to help her make this album and be part of the next milestone in her life.

"The quilt making up my musical life is very deeply rooted and I could go on for days about every milestone," she said. "In a nutshell, I guess you could say that my life has been one musical snowball into the next. I am on the ride, just hanging on to see where it all ends up."

Hopefully the next stop will be that still-yet-to-be-named sophmore album.

To help Tori Roze and The Hot Mess make their sophmore album, visit their Kickstarter Project Page.