Caroline Romano is an alt-pop artist. She is a 20-year-old, based in Nashville, and has a number of singles already out. Her new singles “oddities and prodigies” and “lonely interlude” will be released September 10th. YEM was able to speak with Caroline about the process of shooting a music video, what her song “Oddities and Prodigies” is about, and how she has grown as a music artist.
Young Entertainment Mag: What inspired you to become a singer and a songwriter?
Caroline Romano: I can’t say there was a specific moment that I decided to become a singer and a songwriter. I don’t think I can say there was a specific artist, or song, or anything really that inspired such a decision either. I sort of fell into songwriting, and music in general, just as one falls into walking or breathing or liking Christmas. It was inevitable. Words and music are the two things I can’t place an origin to in my life. They’ve just always been there, and they’ve always made more sense than anything else on this earth to me.
YEM: Do your latest songs share more similarities or differences from your previous songs?
Caroline: “Oddities and Prodigies” and “Lonely Interlude” are the next page in the story I’m writing. I’d say they share the same narrative I’ve been creating with previous songs of mine, but they use a different kind of noise to tell the story. Both still center around my internal monologue, and I’m very much addressing a “you” in both songs, as I’ve done in previous singles. “Oddities and Prodigies” and “Lonely Interlude” also place a lot of stock in the future. Right now, I’m writing, and have been writing, from a mindset looking forward. One day I know I’ll write from a mindset of looking back on it all. But for now, I write about the future, and how I hope it’s pretty. I’d say the biggest difference in these two songs from previous ones of mine come with the dynamics in instrumentation. “Oddities and Prodigies” is one big drum fill, mixing early 2000’s punk with modern tracks. “Lonely Interlude” is pretty much an acoustic guitar. They are the two extremes.
YEM: Can you walk me through the process of shooting your music video for “PDA of the Mainstream”?
Caroline: “PDA of the Mainstream” was such a fun video to shoot. We only had about half a day to film the entire thing, so it was very chaotic, which I think only helped with the energy of the video. I wanted the music video to feel like a mess you can’t look away from since that’s the closest description I can give to the internet. They gave me a bunch of old electronics, some spray paint, and a sledgehammer, and I pretty much just got to run around in the wreckage of it all. There was a cat there too, which was definitely the highlight.
YEM: Where do you draw the most inspiration for writing new songs?
Caroline: Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes I think I know where and when it will strike, but it surprises me every time. I find it on strangers I pass on the street. I see it on the covers of books I pass in bookstores but never do take the time to read. But I’ve found that most of my inspiration comes at night, in the form of a word or phrase I can’t get out of my head. It’s like I want to throw up words onto paper sometimes. Like I have to write it all out or else I will simply die. I don’t always know where that inspiration stems from, or why it’s there, but I am grateful for it nonetheless.
YEM: What is the song “Oddities and Prodigies” about?
Caroline: “Oddities and Prodigies” is my coming of age story, but it’s the story I’ll be telling for the rest of my life. I’ve lived by the idea that oddities and prodigies go hand in hand in this world. One simply cannot exist without the other. I’ve found much comfort in that perspective, and it’s helped me to make sense of myself and others, and the “why” of it all. I thrive on self-inflicted disasters and falling apart in a beautiful way. I live for going at it the hard way, as I do think a great risk comes with great reward. I’m sure I could make life a lot easier for myself if I wasn’t such an extremist. I’m sure things would be a lot better if I didn’t fall apart for fun and chase only the closest things to unattainable. However, that is not who I am. I make things hard, and I guess that’s what makes it art. “Oddities and Prodigies” is my acceptance of it all.
YEM: How long did it take to write and record “Oddities and Prodigies” and “Lonely Interlude”?
Caroline: “Oddities and Prodigies” took about 2 hours to write with my friends Michael and Chuckie Aiello. We spent maybe another 2 hours recording it, with all of the screams and harmonies in the song. I actually wrote “Lonely Interlude” at the end of 2019. I wrote it on my bathroom floor in about 30 minutes. When I recorded it at the end of 2020, it took probably an hour.
YEM: How do you think you have grown as a music artist since the start of your career?
Caroline: I think I’ve grown in so many ways as an artist since the start of my career. I’m much more confident in the ideas and goals I have for my music. I know a lot more about music, and production, and music theory now than I did back then as well. I’ve learned how important criticism and collaboration are to grow as an artist. I’d say I’ve mostly grown in the fact that I’ve grown up. I started my career at thirteen, and I’m turning 20 tomorrow at the time of writing this. I’ve lived. And with that has come all of the growth in the world.
YEM: What advice would you give to new music artists?
Caroline: Don’t give up. It’s the cheesiest and most repeated line in the history of motivational speeches. However, it really is as simple as that. You have a way bigger shot of making whatever your dreams are into a reality if you don’t give up on them. The moment you quit on your goals, your art; the moment you quit on yourself, you have a zero percent chance of success. You have to believe in yourself. Believing in yourself and your abilities and art is more than half the battle.
YEM: What is one motto that you try to live by?
Caroline: Truthfully, I’ve really tried to embrace the idea of oddities and prodigies as a life motto. I think it helps in better understanding people. All of our quirks and missteps and passions and fears. We’re all prodigies in our own right. I believe we’re all put on this earth to be something special, and I think our oddities equip us to do that. We’re all weird and just trying to figure it out. However, I believe in every single one of us. The idea of oddities and prodigies going hand in hand is my life motto.
YEM: How do you define yourself as a music artist?
Caroline: I would define myself as an artist who writes what she knows. Sometimes she even writes about what she doesn’t know. The noise is something like early 2000’s punk and 90’s UK rock with modern pop melodies. The words come out a bit folk. She likes to make a big show of it all.
YEM: On your website, it says that you have “written and performed your way into the hearts and ears of an anxious generation.” What do you think that this generation is most anxious about?
Caroline: This is a hard question because it’s something I’m still trying to figure out. I think we’re anxious because we have the whole world at our fingertips, but if you’re not a millionaire by 21, you’re doing something wrong. We know too much. We have everything to do, but nothing to see. Everyone’s famous, so now nobody is. Privacy is dead, and so is living for the sake of being alive. We’re a generation of self-centered kids who hate themselves. It’s the ugly, terrible, beautiful truth. All of that to say I still don’t know exactly what we’re anxious about. I just know that we are. I know that I am.
YEM: What is one thing that you hope your listeners take away from your music?
Caroline: I always say that I just hope whoever is listening is feeling something. I hope you feel whatever you’re looking to feel. I want my music to make you scream and dance and cry and sing. I want it to make you passionate about being here, about being alive. I hope you feel a bit more understood, and a lot less alone in this world. I hope it gives you what you were looking for when you turned on the radio.