As a kid, Carter Perkins loved video games. He grew up with the original Xbox, and was part of the original COD community. As a kid, Carter Perkins was also a talented singer, posting recordings starting when he was nine.
As an adult, he’s better known as the artist, “Rozei.”
“I have to remind myself every time I wake up that this is real,” he said. “I’ve learned to not take anything for granted because I know this is what I’ve been working for my whole entire life, so I just want to all take it in and just soak it up.”
It truly is a dream. Kevin Weaver, the head of Atlantic records, signed Rozei at age 21. He then collaborated with FaZe Clan on a music video for his song, “Ooo La La,” which streamed over a million times within three weeks of release, in large part due to the gaming community.
Many Fortnite streamers would use his song during clips and compilations, garnering wide support and establishing a large following from the community he grew up in. When Rozei found out his song blew up due to Fortnite, which Rozei plays, he was more impressed with the skill of the gamers than his song being featured.
“It’s funny. I’ll hear my song and I’ll say, ‘They used my song that’s awesome!’ And then I just completely zone out and watch their gameplay.” he said. It’s clear, Rozei loves gaming, and this love dates back to his childhood.
The story of Rozei begins with an unlikely protagonist: his father. Just like Rozei, his father harbored a love for video games, so much so that at the age of six, Rozei was playing Doom with his dad.
“Me and him used to game all the time,” Rozei recalled. “We had this little gaming room set up in the front of our house, and we had pretty much every original Xbox game you could have.” They would even have “game nights” where the pair would just grind games for hours. Now, it’s his outlet.
“Gaming is an escape from anything that puts stress on me when I was younger or anyday,” he said. “If I’m having a stressful day, I can forget about all that. I get to live in the moment, nothing else matters.”
The grinding didn’t stop after Doom and Microsoft’s first console. One year for Christmas, his father bought him an Xbox 360, and Rozei started grinding a new game: Call of Duty. In fact, he said he was in the original COD community, when Tim and Housecat and FaZe were just starting out.
His community, however, wasn’t one of purely skill, but style. Rozei was part of the “Trickshotting community,” where the goal is to get the most elaborate or inventive final kill on the kill cam in a match. Rozei said if a player hits a crazy killcam, everyone in the community would know about it. This community is where he met some of his closest friends that he keeps in touch with to this day, and were some of his biggest supporters when he started making his career in music.
In this community, just like others, there were people at the top, and most often the best COD players were the best trickshotters, putting FaZe at the top. Rozei said he spent the next five years grinding in an attempt to join FaZe Clan.
So it really was a dream come true when he was able to partner with them to create his music video.
“It almost didn’t seem real at the time,” he said. When he got the call asking if he wanted to partner with FaZe on his music video, his answer was “Dude, there’s nothing more I want.”
It was because of COD that Rozei entered the music scene to begin with. From the ages of around nine to eleven Rozei used to enter COD lobbies to sing, regardless of request. He said people even then asked if he recorded.
Nearing the end of his time trickshotting was the start of his reentry into music. In high school, he used to freestyle with his friends at lunch, and described that crowds would form around them so people could listen to their flow. His earlier music started out with the same vibe. Then, in around 2016-2017, he started singing in his songs, rebranded himself, and “Rozei” was born.
He dropped a song titled “Buzzin!” and followed up with “Ooo La La.” After the latter’s instant success, calls from record companies flooded in. Through it all, Rozei “always had [his] eye on Atlantic,” even flying to LA after coming back from New York, where he was meeting with other labels.
When he walked into the building, Rozei said he knew he was home.
“When I walked in, it felt super natural, like I was hanging with my boys,” he said.
The story of Rozei is not one of a choice between gaming or music, but rather the harmony of both. In fact, Rozei says it’s the most rewarding part.
So what’s next? Rozei’s currently playing Warzone and Among Us, and is excited for Cold War, Cyberpunk, and the new Tony Hawk game. He hopes that his stream will keep growing, and wants people to keep jumping in chat, as it’s one of his favorite things about streaming. Looking towards music, Rozei says that new music is coming, and to get excited for it.
“Ooo La La was just the start,” he said. “This has felt like a long battle, but I’m really just getting started!”