Caroline Romano is often regarded as an artist that empowers women with her music, who emerged as a pop artist in Nashville by her incomparable voice and songs. Opening shows for Shawn Mendes, Daya and Why Don´t We; Caroline has recently release her single “ I Still Remember” in collaboration with DJ R3HAB. Her new song has over 2.1 million streams. HOLR caught up to talk with Caroline to chat about music, life, and her latest single.
When were you first introduced to music?
I honestly can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a core part of my life. I’ve always been a somewhat shy and reserved person in the day-to-day, and as a little kid, I really struggled with opening up and making friends. I remember going home at the end of the school day, feeling just completely drained. I’d go to my room and turn on my little orange CD player and listen to records all afternoon. Music has always been the place where I feel like I can be who I’m supposed to be. Despite my shyness, I’ve always been extremely outgoing when it comes to performing. I found so much comfort in putting on a show through music, and in all the ways I felt like I didn’t fit in with my peers, I felt like I was right where I belonged when I was singing, making, or playing music. When I was around twelve/thirteen, I started writing my own songs. I think that’s when I fell just completely head-over-heels in love with songwriting and artistry and the idea of making music for other people to find comfort in.
Was there a specific moment or reason which led you to become a pop artist?
When I was thirteen, I came to Nashville for the first time to play my songs at open mic nights around the city. I think that was the first time I really asked myself what “genre” of music I wanted to make. As I continued to write music and play shows, around Nashville or elsewhere, I quickly realized pop music was what I wanted to make and where I felt the most like myself. I loved the energy of it. That being said, I’ve always tried to blur the lines of pop, alt, and rock music. Especially in the new songs I’ve written and recorded over quarantine, I’ve found it incredibly freeing to push the “pop” genre to its limits. Queen, The Beatles, YUNGBLUD, and Noah Kahan have been some of my biggest inspirations lately. I think that’s the beauty of songwriting, that you can let the song decide what it wants to be.
How did you overcome bullying in the past? Did music play a role in this?
Music played the biggest role in helping me overcome the bullying I faced when I was younger. I started songwriting because I was being bullied, and I wanted to put all of my pain and emotions into something I understood. In a way, I’m very grateful for that time in my life, as it led me to where I am today. It helped to show me that music was what I was supposed to be doing, and it’s now something I try to use to help others going through similar situations.
Why is female empowerment an important focal point of your music?
I know that there’s a girl out there very much like myself at ten or eleven years old, listening to my music. It’s so important that I keep her in mind when considering the messages I put out through my songs. I think back to artists like Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, and other female artists whose music made me feel like I could take on the world at that age. Without them, who knows if I would have had the courage to take the risks I’ve taken or do the things I’m currently doing. I want my music to show that girl how unstoppable she is. I am so blessed to have the platform I do, and I don’t intend to waste it. If I can inspire anyone, especially young women like myself, to believe in themselves enough to chase their dreams, of course I would make that empowerment a central part of my music.
You have opened shows for many top-artists. If you could choose to open for any musician in the world, who would it be?
This is tough, but I think it would have to be Taylor Swift. I don’t know anyone who puts on a better show, and she was the very first concert I ever attended. She’s one of my favorite artists of all time, as well as an absolute legend. Taylor, if you’re listening, I’d love to open for you. Call me.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process when creating new music and where you get your inspiration from?
The songwriting process happens differently for me every time, and that’s what I love about it. Oftentimes, I start with some words I’ve written down or dreamt of in the middle of the night. Sometimes it starts from a poem I’ve written. Either way, I’m a very lyrically driven person, so I normally start with my lyrics and concept first. That’s the way I’ve always done it. On some occasions, I’ll just write a page’s worth of words, in no particular order and structure. Then I’ll say, “Okay, this is the song.” Then I’ve just got to clean it up a bit structure wise, as well as add the melody. Lately, I’ve been very inspired by little moments and flashes of life that we take for granted or maybe don’t notice all that much. I’ve written about the way street lights turn on right before it gets dark, the couch I played video games on with my first crush, or other idiosyncrasies of the everyday. Songwriting is this beautifully odd beast that I don’t think any writer fully understands. It comes to you in new and different waves all the time. You’ve just got to accept it for how it comes to you.
What is the story behind the new single “I still remember”?
I wrote “I Still Remember” in 2018 with some friends of mine in Nashville. I always say it’s probably my favorite co-write of all time, because it was literally just friends hanging out and talking about life, but we happened to end up with a song at the end of it. The inspiration for “I Still Remember” came from talking about the impact of the first time you love someone, or even really like someone. In a lot of ways, at least for a very long time, that person stays with you, in your memories and all the little parts of life you used to share with them. It can feel impossible to forget what used to be there, and from experience, it’s truly agonizing. It’s the purgatory of not being able to move on, but not being able to go back to them. What I love about “I Still Remember” is the juxtaposition between the super upbeat/dance beat track, with the honest and somewhat sad lyrics. I’m so proud of how it all turned out.
Why did you want to do a single with DJ R3HAB and what was it like working with him?
R3HAB has been one of my favorite DJs for a very long time, and I’ve always felt very inspired by his music. I knew from the beginning of writing “I Still Remember” that I wanted a DJ or remix on the track. I thought it called for that upbeat sound to juxtapose the lyrics. So, I held on to the song for two years, waiting for the right opportunity to release it. When I found out R3HAB was down to remix the track, I was ecstatic. Working with him was such an incredible experience, and I didn’t give him any ideas or specific things I wanted from the remix, as I knew he would take it exactly where it needed to go. When I heard the first pass of the track, I knew he’d hit the nail on the head. He elevated the song to an entirely new level, and I couldn’t imagine “I Still Remember” without him. I’m so thankful to have been able to work with R3HAB on this song. It was truly a dream come true.
Do you have any plans to release an album or an EP in the near future?
2021 is definitely the year of the album or EP! I haven’t decided which one specifically I want to put out yet, but releasing a collection of music is already in the works for early next year. I am over-the-moon excited about this project, as it’s always been a dream of mine to put out a collection of songs that fit together to tell one story. This next collection of music is something I’ve been working on for quite some time, and I can’t wait to release this “baby” out into the world.
Are you currently working on any exciting projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on many exciting projects at the moment. I’m planning on releasing one or two more singles before the end of the year. One is coming out this month, which is crazy! Just realized that. There are several other things I’m working on, including music videos and other projects that I can’t wait to share. Maybe another collab in the near future (wink/gasp!) Very exciting things in the works, and I can’t wait to share them all soon!