Rose Hotel: 5 Things That Inspired ‘Honestly’

rose hotel

Full-length out this summer via The Fir Trade Records

There’s a lilting and resigned sadness to ‘Honestly’ from indie rock singer/songwriter Rose Hotel. It’s in no rush in the song with a charmingly simple chord progression and slide guitar underpining the subtly emotional vocals of Jordan Reynolds before a modicum of drama is added with mournful horns. For me, the track deals with how we never truly know anyone. Which is a pretty sad thought to be honest.

Luckily, you don’t have to listen to my hackneyed interpretations as we recently had a chat with Jordan who explored the track in more detail with us. Honesty is an important feature. Which is always wise.


When people ask me what ‘Honestly’ is about, it’s sort of hard to describe in terms that I already haven’t laid out in the lyrics. (I also always feel so strange and awkward explaining my songs, haha) It’s a very confessional song, so the biggest inspiration for the song was the emotional state I was in at the time – and being able to translate those emotions into the music. However, there were some outside factors that I used as inspiration for Honestly as well.

1. Patsy

For the most part, my music lives in the world of sort of dreamy bedroom indie rock, but for this track, I delve a little more into a country-inspired sound. At the time I had been listening to a lot of Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris, and I love the way that Patsy uses her melodies to convey so much depth and feeling even with pretty simple lyrics.

2. Telling the Truth

Sometimes it’s hard for me to be straightforward about how I feel with people. As cheesy as it sounds, it is easier for me to sing about how I feel because I can control the way the message is put out there. I wanted to use this song to tell the truth about a situation I was in, and be honest about how I was feeling rather than holding it in like I always had in the past.

3. Friends w/ Horns

I loooooove horn sections in music, and I was so happy to be able to incorporate them into this track. I had a couple great friends offer to play horns on some of my recordings, so I was able to shift around the way the song was written to leave space for those beautiful parts they laid down.

4. Dichotomy

In the song, there’s a line that says “A woman’s only half her words and half what she decides to do”. By that line, I meant to say that being a woman means sometimes being two things – the nurturing, loving, kind worded person who’s always looking out for everyone else, and also being strong and doing what’s right for yourself even if it hurts someone else. It’s a dichotomy of being selfless and selfish at the same time.

5. Looking in the Mirror

When friends have asked me about why I wrote this song, I tell them it was a way for me to “look in the mirror” and actually face myself and how I was feeling. Sometimes the hardest person to admit you’ve done something wrong to is yourself. Honestly is my way of doing that.

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