Updated: Feb 24, 2022
Caroline Romano has a voice that demands attention. The 20-year-old Nashville-based artist has a grit to her vocals that pulls your ear, and her alternative rock sound delivers exactly what the industry is currently seeking. Her anthemic songs provide music that defines an anxious generation, and her intriguing character has allowed her to rack in a substantial audience of supporters over the years.
Caroline just released her two new singles titled “Oddities and Prodigies” and “Lonely Interlude” on September 10th. The double release offers a perfect combination of styles, with the punk rock sound of “Oddities and Prodigies” acting as a perfect contrast to the acoustic ballad “Lonely Interlude.”
Caroline is an old soul, and her wise perspective translates into her introspective songwriting, relating to the feelings of loneliness that everyone can relate to. She has an eclectic taste in music, with interests that span from the likes of Freddie Mercury to Taylor Swift. Her modernized rock-fueled melodies display her broad style and extensive knowledge for music.
The A-side to the double release titled “Oddities and Prodigies” is a punk-rock banger that speaks to the outsiders in society. Inspired by revolutionary artists like Hailey Williams, Caroline channels her inner punk-rock icon with powerful vocals and angsty lyrics. The energy to the song is electrifying, and you will find yourself screaming the lyrics after the first listen.
The B-side, cleverly titled “Lonely Interlude,” holds reflective lyricism, showcasing her ability to romanticize the experience of teenagers in today’s society. The raw vocals and simplistic production of the piece expresses the more melancholic side of Caroline’s songwriting through the acoustic ballad. Her delicate words are heart-wrenching, with lines like “I’ve been waiting for my whole life / For the day I feel alive / And Eleanor Rigby asked where all the lonely people go / And I think you and I know.”
Caroline looks forward to the anticipated release of her debut album coming soon next year. “Lonely Interlude” and opening track “Oddities and Prodigies” are the first two singles on the record. They act as a perfect introduction to the collection of music that Caroline refers to as a personal narrative with songs that are more honest than ever before.
Caroline has touched the hearts of fans everywhere with her vulnerable songwriting and bright personality. Just finishing off her teenage years, she has already built quite an impressive career for herself. During her time in the industry, she has released a number of singles, including her billboard-charting song “I Still Remember” in collaboration with R3HAB. Caroline has a lot more to say, and with millions of streams and an amazing group of dedicated fans at her side, people will certainly be listening.
Continue below to read the full conversation we had with Caroline and hear her newest singles "Oddities and Prodigies" and "Lonely Interlude."
Take me through the creative process of writing a song like “Oddities and Prodigies” vs “Lonely Interlude.” Were the processes similar?
“I think I always kind of create songs in the same way where I'm telling the same story, just in different tiny chapters. I wrote 'Lonely Interlude' in 2019, and I remember sitting on my bathroom floor and writing it in like 30 minutes. I didn't really know where it fit into the story until I wrote 'Oddities and Prodigies' a few months ago. I see 'Oddities and Prodigies' as this title track opening up to me saying ‘this is what 19 and 20 looks like for me.’ It's mostly a personal narrative, and they are both coming of age songs. Those songs both came oddly naturally in the way that they just spilled out and I tried not to edit them too much. They were kind of similar in that way, and they're both songs that are definitely searching for something. 'Lonely Interlude' stands alone in the fact that it's simple, while 'Oddities and Prodigies' is this completely built out punk track, but I think they complement each other.”
Was there a certain moment or experience that motivated you to write these songs?
“I would say that ‘Lonely Interlude' was definitely a moment in my life. I was at a point where I was truly and utterly lonely. I was 18 and just moved to a new city by myself sitting alone in this apartment in a city where I didn't know anyone. I felt like all I had was this friend of music, but it was also an enemy because it was the whole reason I was here in the city in the first place, so that was definitely a very emotional response to write the song. ‘Oddities and Prodigies’ was more intentional in the way that I had these words for a long time and I wanted to figure out the right time to use them. That one was something I worked on in my mind prior to going into these writing sessions.”
I was 18 and just moved to a new city by myself sitting alone in this apartment in a city where I didn't know anyone. I felt like all I had was this friend of music, but it was also an enemy because it was the whole reason I was here in the city in the first place, so that was definitely a very emotional response to write the song.
Your production style is so distinctive, and it really catches your ear especially with these new releases. Can you take me through the production stages of these songs?
“When I'm writing a song, I have to be able to hear what the final production is going to sound like in my head, or else I can get very lost. With ‘Oddities and Prodigies,' I wanted it to feel so big that it was almost cinematic, but with a punk 80s music sound. I wanted it to have a lot of highs and lows, and I knew I wanted lots of drum fills and vocal stacks. ‘Lonely Interlude’ actually went through a few different stages. When I was actually recording the song professionally, I wondered if I should try to throw in a few extra little elements to make it feel less boring. But, with every version I got back, I realized that it needs to be boring. It needed to be just a sad little dreary interlude. Most of the time, I try to stick with my gut, because I feel like everyone's gut is right most of the time.”
I noticed that these new releases are somewhat experimental compared to the sounds on the rest of your discography, is this change in sound intentional?
“I've definitely touched on a lot of genres in my time releasing music, but a lot of that was trying to figure out where a 16 or 17 year old girl would fit, and thinking about what would be best for me rather than what I actually wanted to make. I've always been a huge fan of punk, British-rock, and alternative sounds with some pop elements. It's what I listened to in the middle school bathroom, and it's how I started writing music. I'm terrible with roles, and when someone tells me to do something, I physically can't do it. It got to a point where I just wanted to try things, and I wanted there to be no boundaries as to what I'm releasing. There's gonna be a lot of ups and downs and opposites in what I’m releasing, like these two songs. I think the overall theme is going to be this punk space, because it's what I'm truly interested in and where I feel most comfortable.”
The industry has a tendency to pigeonhole artists to a certain genre, is that something that you actively try to stay away from?
“Yeah, it's exhausting. It takes the beauty out of it. When you're trying to create something for others, you want to be able to truly mean what you say and be passionate about everything. It's very frustrating, because when you're young, you want to do what you think is going to be best for you and for your career. However, you know best at the end of the day, and I think that is something I've learned.”
It's very frustrating, because when you're young, you want to do what you think is going to be best for you and for your career. However, you know best at the end of the day, and I think that is something I've learned.”
You have been in the industry for a pretty long time, how do you feel like you have grown as an artist over the last few years?
"I think I'm more confident, and I think I'm more vocal. There were times when I'd go into a writing room or into a recording space when I first started and I was very much like, ‘Whatever you think I should do, I'll do it. You know best.’ I think I've grown in the way that I now know who I am. I've lived a lot more life too, and I think that's critical to making good music. I think overall, living life and making mistakes has made my music a lot better. I'm telling much more of a story now, and I want to be able to look back at my music 15 years from now and see that this thing was chapter one. When I look back on ‘Masterpiece,’ what is different now is that I try not to release singles for the sake of releasing something, and I try to only put out something that I truly feel like needs to be put out for myself or the sake of other people hearing it. There's not as many rules anymore, and I'm not as particular about things."
There is all kinds of internal and external pressure when you work in this industry, so how would you define success in your career?
“I'm still working on that. Honestly, I still struggle with the high expectations that I set for myself and I listen to a lot of what the industry standards are as far as success goes, but that's something that I'm working on. I've learned to be proud of the little things, like when I have people reach out to me about certain songs or certain lines that they enjoy from my music. I think success to me now is seeing firsthand encounters of how the music I've put out has impacted other people. That's been a big definition of success for me lately, but truthfully, I'm not too great at blocking out the industry's definition of success.”
I feel like you as an artist are very much a voice for the youth at the moment with these incredible angsty teen anthems, do you find yourself actively trying to appeal to that audience?
“Definitely. I've never been good at being a young person, and I don't feel like I'll ever be good at being the age that I am. I feel like some of my worst times in life, even when I later look back near the end of my life, will have been in middle school. I had like no friends and I ate lunch in the school bathroom, but that's where I found music, and it pulled me out of that place. I know how important the right song is and what that can do for someone's life. So, that’s definitely my audience. I feel like I've never outgrown that angsty teen mindset. Everything is very dramatic to me, so I definitely get those people and I think they get what I'm trying to say. I definitely try to talk to them with my music.”
I had like no friends and I ate lunch in the school bathroom, but that's where I found music, and it pulled me out of that place. I know how important the right song is and what that can do for someone's life.
I noticed feminist themes showing up in a lot of your music, is this something that you are passionate about communicating to your teen audience?
“Totally, and I think it just comes naturally with a lot of the music that I write. I'm a very independent person and when I'm passionate about something, it definitely comes out. I love the music that’s coming out about that lately, and it's really fueling my fire as well. I definitely try to incorporate that as much as I can into the songs that I release.”
What is the best piece of advice that you have received while working in the music industry?
“I say this over and over again, but you literally just don't give up. That is literally the most cliche thing in the world, but my manager once told me that ‘The odds of you making it are much higher if you just keep going. If you stop, you have zero chance.’ That definitely motivates me, because as long as I keep doing this, the odds are just getting higher. Also, be yourself because if you're not yourself, then you're somebody else, and that's already been done.”
You are very open in your songwriting. Do you find that vulnerability to be difficult?
“I think vulnerability comes naturally to me, whether that's a good or bad thing. I think I've always approached writing where if I’m not 100% saying something that's uncomfortable, then it's not worth releasing. I'm putting out an album next year, and there's a lot more songs that go into a lot more vulnerable stuff than what I have put out in the past. But yeah, being vulnerable is something I've learned to fully embrace.”
I think I've always approached writing where if I’m not 100% saying something that's uncomfortable, then it's not worth releasing.
What artists or songs have helped you through your rough times?
“I'd say my biggest inspiration is Freddie Mercury. He just was his own enigma, and the fact that he was so unapologetically himself and so unafraid to make a different kind of noise hit me from a very young age as important. I want to be like Freddie Mercury, and I want it to be my own self, whatever that means. I don't necessarily know what that means yet, but he definitely inspires me to never touch rules. Also, I listened to a lot of Noah Kahan as of lately. I think everyone has an artist that just puts what is going on in their brain into words, and he definitely does that for me. Young Blood is a big inspiration as well. He is literally tear inducing as a performer, and I love his message about being a freak show and embracing that fully.
I also noticed some classic rock influence with you as an artist on stage, do you take inspiration from those rock in roll icons when it comes to stage presence?
“I grew up listening to a lot of 80s rock, and I think it's kind of ingrained in me at this point. Depending on the song, I will definitely try to emote that specific vibe. I did a cover of ‘I want to Break Free’ recently, where I tried to look at Freddie Mercury's performances and how he would perform those songs. I like to look at different performance techniques and try to make them my own.”
Are there any artists or albums that you were listening to during the creation of these two singles that may have had an impact on their sound or how they came out?
“When I got to producing ‘Lonely Interlude,’ Folklore had just come out, and I was very heavily influenced by the simplicity of it. It encouraged me to stick with that initial desire to keep it simple. The song “Peace” on Folklore is my favorite song in the whole album. It made me feel almost like Taylor said that it was okay to do this kind of style. For ‘Oddities and Prodigies,’ it was the Machine Gun Kelly album Tickets to my Downfall. I was listening to his title track and the way that he has modernized that early 2000s punk in the best way and made his own thing.”
Do you remember a specific moment in time where you realized that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
“Definitely. It was when I was 13, and I had asked my parents to take me to Nashville for the first time to play open mic nights around town. All I had was maybe four songs and my little guitar, and I wanted to play The Bluebird Cafe and a lot of iconic places like that. I would stand in line for hours that week to try and play where I could. After The Bluebird Cafe show, there was this moment where everything felt very surreal. Even at 13, I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing. I literally turned to my mom and I was like, ‘I'm gonna do this for real. I'm serious.’ There is no other choice. It's either this or die, because there's nothing else.”
What are your short-term and long-term goals for the future?
“My short term goal is releasing this album that's coming out in January. It's my first collection of music to ever come out, and I'm really nervous but excited at the same time about how people will react to this story that I've spent a long time building. Also, I'm ready to get back to performing live, so one short term goal is to do a tour in some capacity and I’d also love to open for an artist. Performing is my favorite thing in the world, and I’m really ready to get back to that on a real level. For long term goals, I always say that I don't have an answer for that because I want to take it as far and wide as possible. If I can sell out stadiums one day, and that's definitely what I want to do, I'm not going to put a limit on what is out there for me.”
Scroll down to listen to "Oddities and Prodigies" and "Lonely Interlude."