ROSA PULLMAN – Joshua Tree Singer/Songwriter

Songwriter with Placement on Hit Television Series and Films Finds Her Greatest Joys in Her Community

By Lisa Lynn Morgan
Cover photo by JD Rudometkin

It was a casual backyard birthday party with local musician friends set up to make some music as part of the celebration. The place was full of kindness, love, laughter and meaningful conversations about the culture and the growth of Joshua Tree – pretty much business as usual. But then “she” happened, floating in like a leaf gently separated from a tree. Her presence didn’t really draw attention initially. She was just a peaceful, gentle spirit, lacking airs or bravado, with eyes softly reading the room as if to make sure she didn’t cast a shadow on anyone else’s bit of sunshine. Then, she was invited to sit down at the piano. She nestled up to the microphone, opened her mouth, and the entire atmosphere fell into hushed awe as the lovely notes, effortless extensions of her fingers, rang out. It quickly became obvious that her throat was the place songs go to get warmed, buttered, and served with honey (and maybe a bit of spice). There was no question that this woman’s heart and bones were made for such things, and every ear within range new they were in the presence of something special – everyone except the musician herself – Miss Rosa Pullman. For her, this was just her breathing.

In an interview with Joshua Tree Voice, Rosa shared just how deep and far reaching her musical experiences have run, and where her music is leading her.

Born Rosa Viggiani-Pullman in Ithaca, New York, to Francie Viggiani and Joe Pullman, she grew up amidst a sweet music scene with an international influx, thanks to nearby Cornell University and Ithaca College. She was exposed to The Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance that echoed the influences of her own family’s history with bluegrass, old time and rock and roll, roots reggae, and zydeco.

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“My parents played music together for a time when I was young, playing and singing harmonies in the bluegrass and older country spiritual realms,” Rosa shared. “My mother also played wonderful classical piano. There was a piano in the house which, apparently, I was drawn to from a very young age. I wrote my first song on it when I was around 6 years old. My mother’s brother is a classically trained jazz pianist as well, and my maternal grandfather also played beautifully. I was exposed to those sounds growing up and developed a reverence and awe for the craft. As I am the only child of my two parents, who parted ways when I was 6, music became like a sibling to me. We spent a lot of time together. I was deeply emotionally affected by it and would often sit and play the piano and weep (when I was alone). Me and music have been bonded on a deep level for as long as I can remember. I have largely felt like an outsider and more of an observer in life, and music was a language that I was very drawn to. It seemed to be able to express what I felt in a freer way. It had an ability to reach depths that I longed for, and still do.”

Rosa’s mother had a healthy record collection complete with the Beatles, CSNY, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, and more. “I remember my father got into Dire Straits,” she recalled, “which I proceeded to love – specifically the ‘Brothers in Arms’ record. I can sing almost every guitar note Mark Knopfler played on that.”

Her mother’s brother, Uncle Carl (Viggiani), gave her some blues records to listen to, and her world deepened even more. “I was particularly drawn to Howlin Wolf and Ray Charles,” she noted. “Then I heard Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and Tina Turner. Later it was Madonna and En Vogue. To put it into context, I was born in 1979. There were explosions happening of all kinds in the music world. I remember weeping and singing with Annie Lennox. Paul Simon’s Graceland felt like the soundtrack of a few years of my life. There were many influences, and I soaked up all of them. I heard hip hop; A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul. Radiohead came on the scene. Trip-hop came along with Portishead and Massive Attack. I was all in. It was a ripe sonic scene.”

Photo by Natasha Agrama

Rosa dances gracefully between piano and guitar in her performances today that most would identify as Folk-Rock/Americana, but her influences come from an international kaleidoscope of genres. “I played piano mostly until I was around 15 or 16,” Rosa explained. “I would sing along with much of the music, though mostly in private. I had taken piano lessons for a few years with a wonderful teacher who encouraged me to learn songs that I was drawn to, to learn by ear, and to improvise as well. My uncle taught me some blues, encouraging and demonstrating improvisation. I would sit in with different groups in western New York who called themselves the DaDa Society. It wasn’t until I was around 16, that I started really exploring my own voice and writing songs, while accompanying myself. I also started learning guitar on my own, picking up chords here and there. I began recording myself as well, first with a double deck stereo, then with a Tascam 414. I would make layers of harmonies and sometimes add poetry. I took an experimental music class at the college I was enrolled at. I worked at a radio station and opened for a country singer who was traveling through town. Then I moved to Boston and began the next part of the journey, joining an experimental trip hop band called Jupiter 88 (first band I was in). I was 20.”

“There is so much to recount, as I get into it,” Rosa continues. “From the time I moved to Boston, I was exposed to Indian Sufi and classical music. Drawn by the power of those sounds and feelings, at 22, I went to India and lived there for around four years. Then I came to California and began another part of the journey, writing songs and getting up on a stage to sing them. I had done some of this in my teens and 20s but went silent for a while. My time in India deepened my understanding of the world and us humans, with more of our ancient magic, music, and beauty. It also introduced me to inequality, corruption, and abuse. I appreciated the elements of the United States and the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements then, more than I was able to, growing up in America.”

“It is a real long journey we are on to learn how to live together in harmony.”

“It wasn’t until I was 30, I really started singing, playing, and writing while learning about the whole wider world of music, in action, and in earnest,” Rosa recounted. “Some call me a ‘late bloomer’ which I think is more like, ‘multiple bloomer.’ It’s a big ol’ burly garden, and I’m a lifer.”

“The most important thing with me and music is that it is a soul matter. It is in my bones and blood. It is medicine and has saved me in my life. So, I struggle to make a business out of it. While I feel it is a calling for me, it has not been natural to navigate the industry. It almost feels like a split personality issue – maybe because I seem to take things really seriously… the spiritual journey part of it, the truly powerful part of it. The more one learns about the business (of music), the more shadows start crawling around with stories of manipulation and exploitation of this most sacred, life-giving, activity we call music and of the people who let it move them. It is definitely a journey, and I am not giving up.

If you were to ask Rosa what genre she calls her music, she’ll likely answer, “Personal.”

“All my songs are deeply personal. It seems to be the genre I hail from,” she explained. “I write mostly from personal experiences. A song that has particularly deep meaning for me is called, ‘Take it Back’. There is not a released recording of it yet, but I hope to have that on the next record which I am working on now.

Photo Credit: JD Rudometkin

Placement in television and films is an incredible accomplishment for any artist, and Rosa has several: Nashville – “Turn Me Down” and “Radio Tower,” Supergirl – “Daydreaming,” Virgin River – “Radio Tower,” Lucifer – “Your Time Has Come,” The Wilds – “Worries,” Monarch – “Let it Be a Call,” and more. But for Rosa, the main highlight on this musical path has been meeting and connecting with people and sharing precious moments together.

“The more I play and sing the more it becomes clear how powerful music is. It is our birth right, and it brings us together. It can deliver messages to our hearts and change the course of our lives and enlighten our connection all over the world.”

“I have been so grateful to be welcomed by the magical community here in Joshua Tree and the high desert,” she emoted. “I have written so many songs and met so many wonderful people. My heart is truly grateful for it.”

Rosa first came to Joshua Tree as part of a band led by Dean Chamberlain, around 2009. “We played at Pappy and Harriets and at The Palms in Wonder Valley,” she remembered. “I was immediately in love and began coming out, next with Cydney Robinson (who I met in Dean’s band) and then over the years, to play at The Palms Wonder Valley and stay for a few days. For a time, I sat in with the legendary, multiply incarnated, Sunday Band at Pappy and Harriets, and got to meet more magical people in the area.”

One might think that Joshua Tree was always in Rosa’s future. In the highly acclaimed annual fundraiser for Mil-, “Live From Joshua Tree,” Rosa shared a song she had written in her teens. “I was off script for that one,” she shared about that performance. “I mostly let the words of the songs tell the story. One of the songs I sang, ‘Coyote Moon,’ was one of the first songs I ever wrote, when I was 17. It had the desert in it, before I had ever been here or knew about it!”

Coyote Moon
By Rosa Pullman

Well I’m weak in the knees
And I’m carrying these dreams
And I’m on this road that keeps turning

Think I’ll burn down that house
Let it crumble to the ground
And when the cold winds blow, I’m leaving

Now the smoke rises high
There’s a thunder in the sky
And an eagle flies over my shoulder

I’m just a new desert rat
Got my ticket and a map
And the signs in the sand keep shifting

But hey can’t you see
There’s no chains on me
I’m free as I can be
So I’ll sit by this road
And watch them all go
As the wind, carries them home
Cause I’ve got my ticket to roam …

Today, Rosa has been focusing more on writing and recording as of late and has a few records worth of songs to deliver this year, but you can catch her at a few very special local shows.

Photo by Sandra Goodin

Upcoming shows:
April 5th at Spaghetti Western, 50048 29 Palms Hwy, Morongo Valley, CA (7-9pm)

April 14th at Mas o Menos, 66031 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA (2-4pm)

May 4th at The Firehouse, 65430 Winters Road, Joshua Tree, CA (7pm) with Nigel Roman and Sophia Corrine

October 10-13 Joshua Tree Music Festival (TBA)

Follow Rosa Pullman at,  on all streaming services, at, IG: @rosapullman, and Facebook: Rosa Viggiani Pullman

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