From Slide Guitar to Vintage Synthesizers
Caroline Rose grew up on Long Island, New York, in a happy household where her artists-parents encouraged her creativity—she won coveted roles in musical theater productions, performed in a regional middle school band and instead of Summer jobs, she would take to the streets busking to earn her keep. However, like many of us, she was eager to see the big world. She couldn’t wait to get out of her small town and live the life she craved— to “hop trains and write songs”— the way vagabonds and storytellers, in the vein of her most favorite artist, Tom Waits, did. Her parents insisted that she have a back up plan. So she got a degree in Architecture. As soon as she was done with College, she lived out her fantasy of writing songs, living in a car and traveling around the country. In 2012, her first record of songs was self-released as America Religious.
“Soul No 5” on her excellent record Loner, was the first Caroline Rose song I ever heard and I was smitten. An earlier version of the song was featured on “NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert”— introduced as “I Got Soul,” it was marked by lashings of slide guitar and her earnest Country-inflected vocals. I was keen to find out how she went from Americana to the electro-pop heights of Superstar.
This is the first interview we’ve done since the Pandemic hit. It was conducted via Zoom, so apologies for the less than perfect audio in parts. The day we spoke, it was obvious that Caroline was going through some heartbreak—foregrounded by all the unrest erupting from George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police, and the general state of our world in crisis, I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be to navigate a broken heart during lockdown.
This was going to be her champagne year. Now, it will be Covid’s year. The pandemic has made her think of Superstar as suspended in time and space. She adds: “Like in The Matrix how things get frozen; and you can walk around it and view it from all these different perspectives... There is something magical about creativity that you don’t even fully realized it’s depth and true meanings when you’re creating it. Or fully understand it.“
Many thanks for making this possible—Caroline for graciously helping me, tell your story. To Nancy Rose for digitizing old VHS — “Connemara Sketches: A Folk Suite” performed with Caroline in her HMEA band (2003) and “Out of Time.” (I also loved Caroline performing music from Annie Get Your Gun, Annie and doing her “Wonderwall” cover but alas, it didn’t make the cut). To Anthony Borgatta for additional audio on the drums. To Pitch Perfect PR for support, plus New West Records and Words & Music for use of Caroline Rose’s music.
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