Talking With Caroline Romano About Her Thrilling and Tender Debut Album, Oddities and Prodigies
With her debut record, Oddities and Prodigies, Nashville-based artist, Caroline Romano makes a splash in the world of alt-pop, having built her way up since age 15 with her first single “Masterpiece,” featuring popular artist, Jacob Whitesides. It wasn’t too long after when she was hitting the Billboard charts with single “I Still Remember (ft. R3HAB).”
Now at the young age of 20, Romano gives fans what they have been waiting for: a full-length album that showcases her musical evolution and complex abilities that shine through in the 16 diverse and emotionally raw tracks.
From blissful and heartbreaking tracks such as "Panic Attack" and "Perhaps It’s Mine" to the dance-worthy and edgy songs such as "Dizzy" and "I’m Bad," Romano showcases that she can do just about anything, bending and blending genres on the way.
Romano’s latest music video for Dizzy made its debut on March 16th, filled with iridescent darkness, dazzling and disorienting camera angles, accompanied by the vulnerable yet confident appearance of Romano as she pours her heart out to us.
Tonitruale got the chance to talk to Romano about her unique and poetic lyricism, her songwriting process, future tours, and more!
You’ve curated an incredibly impressive discography since only 2017. In what ways has your music evolved since then?
I think my music has just grown up with me, both sonically and lyrically. I’ve been releasing music since I was fifteen, and I recently turned twenty, so I’ve had a lot to write about. I’ve come to find what I really want to say in the songs I write, and it’s taken me some time to figure out what sound really fits that narrative. I went from pop to EDM to rock to where I’ve now landed in the alt-pop space. I think it’s just gone through the ups and downs and life changes with me over the years. I was proud of the music I was making at fifteen, but it’s evolved to where I can be proud of the music I’m making at twenty.
Our surroundings can play a gigantic role in who we become, especially artistically. Since you moved to Nashville to pursue music, how has the city influenced and uplifted you as an artist?
I think it’s impossible to not be influenced by Nashville in some way once you’re here. I love that I’m in a place where prioritizing music is everything, and creative expression is so openly honored. There’s so much musical history and knowledge to be explored here for one. Every day I’m meeting these insanely talented artists and instrumentalists, and I’ve just learned so much from those experiences. I never leave a session without learning something. It uplifted me in that having a dream like this isn’t looked at as crazy or impossible. It’s the thing that bonds everyone in this city, almost everyone you pass on the street together. There’s a silent understanding that we’ve all set out to do something incredibly hard but wonderful, and it’s encouraging to know you’re not alone in those plans.
Your music largely revolves around your poetic capabilities and self-expression through words. What is your songwriting process? Are the lyrics the foundation of the song or something that’s added later on?
The songwriting process comes differently almost every time, but that’s what I love about it. I am a big words person, so the song pretty much always revolves around lyrics or a specific line/theme I want to say. I don’t really write for the sake of writing. It starts with a word or an emotion I know I have to get out, and the only way I know how to do it is through music. Sometimes I’ll write a poem and later on find that there’s a melody already woven into it. That’s what happened with my song “Panic Attack.” It was a poem first. Other times, I’ll hear a word or see an image and write down everything I’m feeling about it, then go back and put those words to piano or guitar. If I’m doing a co-write, which I love to do, the track will many times be built out before I get in the room if there’s a producer on the session. Then we top line to the track. There are endless ways songs end up getting written, and I’m constantly surprised by the ways they come together. Lyrics are the most important part to me though.
Making music seems to be a very cathartic process for you. How has this affected you as a person rather than as an artist?
I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have songwriting as a release. It really is my medicine, my oxygen. It’s helped me figure life out. It’s the way I’ve fought my battles, fixed my problems, and come to terms with myself. I really don’t think I would know myself if it wasn’t for making music. That’s where I am. It’s who I am. It’s given me peace of mind and eased a lot of my anxiety and depression. It’s given me a community, and friendships that have meant the world to me. It is my world.
You’ve mentioned that Taylor Swift has been a major influence for you. What about her and her music do you draw the most inspiration from?
Taylor Swift’s songwriting is unlike anything I’ve ever seen or heard. It’s her, in music. She takes experiences, the common and wildly unique, and turns them into these pretty moments, into these emotions you didn’t even know you could feel. Taylor is a storyteller, and that’s what I love about her music. She’s a genius businesswoman and author, and I think if you can find a way to say things in a universally relatable way, but in a way only you are able to articulate, you’ve done something incredible. That’s what she’s done.
Will there potentially be a tour in your future? If so, what are you looking forward to and what can fans expect?
I really hope so. There’s still a lot up in the air about tours, and it can be hard to get on the road as a smaller artist, but it’s all I want. I absolutely love performing. When I write a song, I’m writing the performance with it. Being on stage and watching people relate or react to your music in real-time is the best feeling in the world. I would absolutely love to go on a tour in some capacity, and I’m working to make that happen. It would be very dramatic and very loud. That’s all I know right now haha.
You have blurred the lines of the genre by venturing from indie pop/R&B to rock/pop punk. How would you describe this journey and how would you describe your sound now?
Where I’m at now sonically is where I feel like I’m supposed to be, which is somewhere in the middle of it all. I’m really not much for genres, as I don’t think they’re all that necessary. Every song is its own story, and when I’m writing, I want to say something different every time. I find myself wanting to jump from genre to genre with each song, so I feel like alt-pop is kind of a good description of my sound now. I feel like you can get away with pretty much anything under that category. It’s definitely been a journey getting to this place. Being in the industry so young, genres and defining a specific sound were really stressed to me as critical, but I don’t think you can know exactly what your sound is at fifteen. I had to try a lot of things out, and I loved all of them, but I think this is where I’m at for the moment. I want to keep the genre lines a bit blurry at all times.
Now that your debut album is out, what is next for you?
I’m already writing the next one. There’s going to be a lot more music later this year. All I know to do is write the next thing, the next chapter, and continue to pray that more and more people will listen. I’d love to go on tour, I hope to make that happen this year. I’m just going to keep writing the story.
Photo Credit: Justin Key