Magic Smile - A Tribute to Rosie Vela

Made On a Mac

A Brief Rosie Biography
Rosie Vela

Roseanne "Rosie" Vela was born in the gulf coast city of Galveston, Texas. Musically inclined from an early age, she started playing piano at age six and studied opera singing as a young teenager. Once she discovered rock'n'roll, Rosie immersed herself in the late '60s Galveston pyschedelic music scene and soon began singing in a local band called Purple Haze.

When Rosie was 16, she moved with her family to Little Rock, Arkansas. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the University of Arkansas, where she studied art and music and dabbled in modeling. Also while there, Rosie met and fell in love with a musician named Jimmy Roberts. Rosie and Jimmy married, but sadly Jimmy died of cancer a few months later.

Shortly after Jimmy's tragic death, Rosie left the university and moved to New York to pursue what would turn out to be a very successful modeling career. In the mid '80s, Rosie put that career on hold in order to act in a few films and pursue her long-time musical ambitions. She bought synthesizers, built a home studio with the help of her brother, and concentrated on writing songs. Rosie's commitment to her musical vision eventually culminated in the album "Zazu."

Aside from singing two songs (and starring) in the film "Inside Edge" and participating in a few songs on movie soundtracks, Rosie has not released any new music of her own since "Zazu." She completed a second album, but it never saw the light of day because of an unsympathetic record company. In the '90s, Rosie began working on a third album of music, but its completion was postponed because of her participation in musical activities with Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). She sang backup vocals on ELO's 2001 album, "Zoom," and performed as a member of ELO during their first concerts in 15 years.

Today, Rosie resides in Los Angeles, California, with her dogs, and she has resumed modeling on an occasional basis. To read a fact-filled, insightful Rosie Vela interview, check out the May 1994 issue of the now-defunct Steely Dan fan magazine Metal Leg. This article, by Eric Pooley, is republished from the November 3, 1986, issue of New York Magazine.

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