If you’re a fan of pop music, Caroline Romano is a name you’ll want to make yourself familiar with. In the last year, she’s released 3 singles, each one bigger and better than the one before. I got the chance to catch up with her and talk about what life’s been like for her in the past year, her latest single “Games”, balancing societal expectations while still being confident in who you are and more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
We last talked at the end of 2018 and you’ve been so busy since then, having released 3 new singles in that span of time. What has this last year been like for you?
This last year has been a whirlwind of writing music and taking the next steps in my career. I’m more proud of the music I’ve released in the past year than I’ve ever been, and I’ve had the opportunity to perform at some awesome places. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m having so much fun continuing to grow in my artistry.
Talking specifically about your latest single, “Games,” what inspired that song?
“Games” is inspired by my own personal experiences in teenage relationships. I feel like being young and really into someone, there are so many highs and lows. Young people are fickle, and it can sometimes feel like these relationships are more of a game of chess than anything. “Games” is my way of saying, “Why does this have to be so hard? I like you, and you like me, so can we just stop with the mind games?”
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically? Did you write this by yourself, or did you collaborate with other artists/songwriters in a co-write?
I wrote “Games” in a co-write with some of my favorite writers in Nashville. We were all just sitting around talking and catching up, and I started sharing my feelings and frustrations about what it’s like trying to have a relationship with a guy who likes to play with my emotions. I said something along the lines of it feeling like one big game, and the idea for the song hit everyone right away! We wrote the entire thing in under a few hours.
Something I’ve always been curious about with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Games,” or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?
Like I said, “Games” was one of those songs where the idea kind of came about organically. I find that this is typically the case for most co-writes. A lot of the time spent in these sessions is just talking about one another’s lives and what we’ve all been feeling recently. It’s kind of like a giant therapy session, and you just happen to get a really awesome song at the end of it.
Were there any major changes to “Games” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
I went back and forth with what I wanted for “Games” sonically for a solid month. We recorded a few different versions, with some being more heavily produced and others more stripped. I ended up loving the way the song sounded with light production. I think it gives it a lot more room for the lyrics to stand out, and it contributes to that kind of eerie/ethereal vibe that makes the song really special.
I know you also just released the music video for “Games.” What was your experience shooting that video like?
I had a ton of fun shooting the “Games” music video! It ended up being one of the simplest, easiest video shoots I’ve done to date, and that’s part of what made it so cool. Like the song, it really didn’t require a heavy hand for editing or complicated scenes. It was kind of just me getting to perform in front of the camera in the most dramatic way possible, which I love. It’s definitely one of my favorites!
You’ve openly talked about being bullied in school as a kid and how music really helped you through that time. Who are some of the artists you were listening to then, and how have they influenced who you are as an artist today?
Some of my favorite artists during those times were Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Katy Perry. As a young girl full of insecurities, these artists were making music that allowed me to feel like I could be myself. In a lot of ways, these artists gave me the courage to explore the side of myself that most people were making fun of me for. I wouldn’t be who I am today had it not been for the fact that I’d been so inspired by these artists and the songs they were making. My biggest dream with all of this is to one day inspire some little girl or boy going through similar trials [and ] to [make them] feel like it’s ok to be themselves.
You also partnered with the PACER organization to address this important topic in the age of social media. How important is it to you to speak out on this, both in life and in your music, and try to help people who are experiencing something similar to what you experienced in whatever way you can?
It’s so important to me that I’m consistently open and honest about my own past and present struggles through my music, social media, and day-to-day impact on others. It’s far too easy to look at the lives of influential people on social media and think that they have it all together. I feel so blessed to have been given a platform to share who I am through music, and I take it as a big responsibility to keep things real with the kids who are listening. If I can help one person feel understood and less alone in the world, that’s all I could ask for from this.
In your debut single, “Masterpiece,” featuring Jacob Whitesides, you talk about owning who you are as a person. In the music industry and in everyday life, people are always trying to tell you who you should be, which I’m sure is hard since you’re still so young and trying to figure out who you are. So, how do you balance those societal expectations while still being confident in who you are?
As I get older, I’m finding it more and more necessary to completely abandon anyone else’s thoughts and expectations on who I should be. Especially in the music industry, everyone is trying to stand out and be different. I find the best way I can do that is to stay true to who I am. I think we’re headed in a positive direction in terms of people being allowed to truly be themselves, without any restrictions, which is awesome. I feel really blessed to be in the creative world, where I can express my differences and individuality, and I want to set an example for others to do the same! I’ve learned that it’s less about balancing and more about sticking to what I feel is right.
You were recently featured in Glamour’s “You Sang My Song” series and got to see Sabrina Carpenter react to your cover of her song. What was it like seeing someone you admire compliment your work?
Truthfully, it was insane. I never thought that in a million years Sabrina Carpenter would be saying my name and hearing me sing. It was definitely a full circle moment. Just a year or two ago, I would never have imagined that my work would be in front of an artist I admired. She was so lovely, and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to cover her song!
Lastly, as you know, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd. What is something that you are currently nerding out about?
I am literally nerding out about so many things at the moment. I am currently obsessing over The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. I think it’s one of the greatest superhero shows I’ve seen to date, and I’m literally in love with Robert Sheehan! I’m also nerding out over Yungblud. He is my favorite artist at the moment, and I think it’s awesome how he’s shaking up the industry in such a cool way!