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 psychedelic 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.