Though still very young, Caroline Romano has already entered the next phase of a promising career. The Nashville-based artist has been releasing music for years, including the Billboard-charting collaboration with R3HAB “I Still Remember”. Her early songs melded indie pop and R&B, but has her single “PDA of the Mainstream” and latest song “The Hypothetical” show, she’s venturing into a rock/pop-punk direction.
Caroline took some time to discuss her latest single with us, as well as what’s up next for her.
Indy Review: When did you first start singing and writing your own songs?
Caroline Romano: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I was an extremely shy and anxious little kid, but singing was always my megaphone. It was the one time I wasn’t nervous to see people or to be seen by people. I started writing my own songs around the age of twelve. That really changed the game for me. Writing my first song told me everything I needed to know about myself and what I wanted to do with my life. Songwriting is one of the only times I feel natural and effortless in my own skin. I find myself awkward and constantly trying in most aspects of my life. But, even when I was thirteen years old, songwriting was that one place where I could finally, simply be myself.
IR: What songs and artists first inspired you and influenced your style?
CR: Growing up, I’d say artists like Taylor Swift and Shania Twain really influenced my style and songwriting. They told stories with their music, and they would tell them in the most honest, yet beautiful and show stopping of ways. It simply blew my mind as a kid listening to them, and the confidence they displayed in their music. They talked about life in a way I hadn’t heard before, and they really inspired the beginnings of my songwriting. Once I got into middle school, I was heavily inspired by Queen, as well as alternative/punk bands like MayDay Parade, My Chemical Romance, All Time Low, Panic! At the Disco, and 5 Seconds of Summer. I’ve always been into making a grand show of it all. From the writing to the performances, I’ve always been into looking at life and music through the most dramatic of lenses.
IR: For your latest single, “The Hypothetical”, you’ve said “I wanted to capture that feeling of being so infatuated with a crush that it’s borderline a state of psychosis.” Did you have this theme/narrative in mind before you began writing the track?
CR: I truly have never been a big fan of reality, though I do try to make the best of it. I live a lot of my life in my head. It’s prettier there. I definitely had that narrative of a crush-fueled psychosis before writing the track. It is a very thrilling feeling, that “la la land” sort of high you get when you first fall for someone. Michael and Chuckie Aiello, who I wrote the song with, know me and my brain quite well, and they had this idea of talking about a hypothetical world where it all works out all of the time. The hypothetical is a very easy place for me to write about, as I spend a lot of time there.
IR: What launched the musical direction of the track? Was it an initial riff, or a vocal melody?
CR: This was one of those songs that started with an idea and a little bit of screaming. Michael brought in the line “I want to live in a hypothetical world.” From the beginning, it just felt like that line had to be shouted to me. We wrote the entire chorus, just scream-chanting these lines as they were being written. Then, we built the guitar riff around it. This song came together like psychopathic, hot pink magic.
IR: The track has a really great energy and punk attitude – as someone who describes themselves as a “loudest sort of introvert”, does making music like this come naturally to you, or have you had to grow into a more bombastic sound?
CR: This style of music definitely comes natural to me, as it’s the extreme opposite of how I am in my day to day life. It’s this sort of necessary release for me to write and perform this type or sound. For three minutes and thirty seconds, I’m fully and completely me. I’m not anxious. In fact, I’m confident. I’m bold and unapologetic and simply not afraid to say anything I want. I’m loud.
IR: The single art, showing a grainy, pink-lit photo of you holding a sledgehammer, is really evocative and fits the song’s vibe well. Where did the idea for that shot come from?
CR: This shot actually came as somewhat of an accident. We were shooting a music video for another song where I had to smash stuff with a sledgehammer, and the cover art for “The Hypothetical” is actually just a behind the scenes photo we happened to take on set that day. However, when I saw the picture for the first time, I immediately knew it would be perfect for “The Hypothetical”. I think the whole idea for the song is summed up in that photo.
IR: “The Hypothetical”, along with your other recent single “PDA of the Mainstream”, move in pop-punk direction. Has this been a style you’ve always seen yourself exploring?
CR: Pop-punk music has been the underlying soundtrack to my life since the 7th grade. It’s been my coming of age playlist for quite some time, and it’s helped to show me who I really am in a thousand different ways. I’ve always been a little angsty, and I think I always will be. All this to say that I think the move to pop-punk has always been inevitable. It’s always been the goal. I’m incredibly happy that the day has finally come for me to release my own version of this sound. I hope there’s a 7th grader out there who will relate to it as much as I do.
IR: What do you have planned for the rest of 2021?
CR: The rest of 2021 is going to be a constant release of music. I plan on putting out more music in the remainder of this year than I ever have before. This is leading up to the release of my first collection of songs. I’m incredibly excited and proud of that, as it’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I’m hoping I get to play these songs live this year as well. Things are looking up for the touring/live show space, and I am beyond eager to perform these songs to a crowd on a stage. That’s how I wrote them to be played, and I can’t wait for that day to come. There’s a lot more coming in 2021. I’m just getting started.
Check out “The Hypothetical” in our A Single Sit-Down Playlist!