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Reflections from Rosalie

close-up of Rosalie Sorrels looking into camera

Rosalie on being an artist:
Iím an actress. Iím a troubadour. I take the news from place to place. I do it with music. I do it with poetry and stories and I try to connect. I think we need to be connected and thatís my mission. Thatís what I think I am; Iím a connector.

I have people who ask me, ďAre you really sad because you arenít successfulĒ? ďWhat do you mean Iím not successful? I do what I like to do. I make a living doing it, if you can call it a living. I have made that my life. I have the respect and the friendship of my peers. I live in a house my father made with his hands. I have a damn good life. What do you mean Iím not successful?Ē

Rosalie on her performances:
...connecting to my audience is the most important thing to meÖ I think everything has to be connected; the people you work with and the people you work to. Theater is a living thing and to me itís way more than just coming out and prancing around and having a character that you assumeÖ I want to break the ď4th Wall,Ē which is a theatrical thing.

Iíve always wanted to be that Ė whoever Iím seeing or whoever Iím being, whatever Iím doing. I like the idea of breaking down barriers, breaking down walls.

First you make them want to listen and then if they want to, the quieter you get, the more intense that feeling is.

Itís lovely to be very quiet. Thereís an intimacy in that that you canít achieve if youíre shouting and yelling and singing, which I like to do, too. I love it when I can sail notes out there and make them feel it.

You connect with a whole room full of people you never even saw before in your life, and you just feel like you want to pack them all up and take them every wherewith you.

Every human being wants to communicate, and if you are able to do it that way, thatís an incredibly blessed thing to have in your life, to feel comfortable with letting go of all the things that make you hold back your real feelings.

Everybody has hard things happening to them. They donít talk about them. I think the reason I talk about them and sing about them is because I see that it is helpful to people. And I want very much to help people. Thatís very important to me. I try very hard to find the way to tell those stories so they relate to everyone.

Itís almost like getting outside of yourself, getting outside of yourself and then watching yourself do it. Itís really hard to describe but when I feel like Iím completely free, Iím outside of myself.

I use music from all kinds of disciplines and Iím not always the same. You could see me a lot of times and still not know exactly what I do because Iím going to do something different if I get a chance.

Iím a storyteller and I use music to tell the storiesÖ I was raised by a very literate family. In fact my mother taught me that you can go anywhere in your mindÖ

Sometimes I sing places where they donít want me to tell stories and I almost canít do that. I can sing a bunch of songs but they donít make any sense to me if you donít have the stories. They donít connect. They donít have a context if you just sing them.

I hope they donít just think of one song. I hope they get a whole piece. I think itís a story. I think it has a beginning and a middle and an end and I hope they remember everything.

I think folk music is music that you make because you need it, not because youíre going to sell it or because youíre going to perform it. You make it because you need it.


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When to Watch

Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho premieres May 19, 2007
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Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho DVD

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