Rising New York-based singer-songwriter, actor, filmmaker and model Caroline Meade is the definition of a creative. Renouveau Media caught up with Caroline to chat about her career, life experiences, thoughts and much more.
Iuliana: Hey Caroline. How are you? First off, I just wanted to say how big of a fan I am here at Renouveau Media (I literally get goosebumps listening to you), so thank you for chatting with me. Aside from me fangirling, introduce yourself!
Caroline: Ahhh you are way too kind! Thank you so much! I’m Caroline Meade! I’m a singer songwriter, actor, filmmaker & as of very recently, model! I’ve been performing and curating DIY shows around NYC since my junior year of high school, just trying to have fun and smash the patriarchy gig by gig. Oh, and I also just started my own podcast! I wear many many hats!
Iuliana: So, before we jump into specific questions, has self-isolation changed your routine?
Caroline: Oh, absolutely. It was really hard for me to adjust at first, because before quarantine, I had just transferred to NYU! So it felt like a lot of change at once, I didn’t even get a chance to develop a routine while I was there. 2020 was definitely the year of no routine until I came home, and now I feel pretty settled. But of course, I’m moving for the 5th time this year in August which I’m incredibly grateful for nevertheless.
Iuliana: Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be an artist? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Caroline: Music was always incredibly important to me but not in the way most people would think. My parents both worked at MTV when I was growing up, so from an early age I was very aware of what was in and what was out. My mom would bring home VHS tapes of music videos from specials she was working on, and I would kinda just sit in front of the TV in awe. I started performing at 5 years old, but I only started writing my own music at 14. I always knew I was going to be an artist, but I think one of the harder things was deciding to go to school for it. It’s a huge commitment and everyones tells you to have a “Plan B” and it takes a lot of belief in yourself to major in what you love. But I feel like Gen Z is the generation that has and will blaze the path that is monetizing your passion. And I love our generation for that.
Iuliana: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Caroline: Wow I’ve never received that question before! Thank you for asking! If I remember correctly, I think I may have been jet lagged or something, and I was waking up really early because my sleeping schedule was messed up. I had woken up right at sunrise one day, and thought about the beauty it was to be up before everyone else and have this intimate moment with the sun. And that’s the story of the first song I wrote. That was the summer before I entered high school.
Iuliana: Caroline, where do you find inspiration for songwriting?
Caroline: I think the same places everyone finds inspiration: your favorite artists, and your worst trauma. I also think when you focus on developing your general taste, you have a lot of places to pull from, I’ve been focusing on that a lot lately. My taste in not just music but humor, clothes, jewelry, movies, and even food. The more world you have to build, the more things you can say about it. I also use a lot of quotes from past relationships and friendships actually. Both unfortunately and fortunately, I literally remember everything.
Iuliana: Are there any other musicians in particular that you’ve been a fan of that have influenced your music at all?
Caroline: I feel like I always say the same ones: St. Vincent, Lorde, Cage the Elephant, The 1975, The Beatles, The Beach Boys blah blah blah. But recently, I’ve been in awe of the artist Del Water Gap. They just blow my mind with their orchestration and lyrics. A lot of the lyrics hit really close to home in the way that they feel like if someone were to write a response to my own.
Iuliana: What has been the biggest surprise so far of your music career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Caroline: Hmm well, I am kind of ashamed to say this, but I think one of the biggest surprises for me was how I can be completely independent. I depended on people to speak for me in situations, as if other people knew what I wanted more than I did. Last year was the first year I was really confident with knowing what I want and knowing I can speak for myself and speak up when I feel like I’m being disrespected. I think the challenge I am still currently facing is accepting that my writing style is changing. I’ve been through a lot since recording my first album, I was 15 / 16 when I wrote the majority of it. It’s hard to let go of old versions of yourself, but it’s really exciting as well. I’m older and I feel like I have a lot more to say. My music now (unreleased of course) is darker, blunter, and sounds a lot less like straight ahead pop rock. My next album will definitely genre bend more than my first and that’s one of the reasons it’s taking so long.
Iuliana: You have an album out, “Grow Up”. What was writing those songs and recording that album like?
Caroline: So some of those songs were actually written in my freshman year of high school, and I labeled some as “throw away” songs. Specifically, Catcher. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I started collaborating with instrumentalists that I really started taking my own music seriously. I just needed a push and a peer to believe in me. I think the beauty and joy in music is rooted in sharing an experience with others, and I had held that off for a year because I just wasn’t confident. But anyway, I worked and wrote those songs from freshman year to the middle of junior year of high school, and saved up enough money (from selling brownies in the cafeteria) to rent a studio for my friends and I and it was really fun. I’m really proud that no adults were involved whatsoever.
Iuliana: Concerning the album, I wonder what song means the most to you on there and which you feel embodies the album the most.
Caroline: Grow Up, to me, is just a small introduction of who I am at the core of my artistry: which is the main themes of childlike honesty, bordering on dark uncomfortable commentary of the world around me – that may also make you dance. Though it feels like a different version of me made that album, I feel like Dizzy Spring really captures the essence of who I am the most. No one really gets it, but the song is basically suppose to be a fucked up version of Peter Pan. Also, A Brief History of Time is a really personal one to me. It talked about a lot of things I had been uncomfortable with even saying to myself, like my insecurity within my relationship at the time, my relationship with distant family members, the feeling of being very different from the people around me, and my unhealthy relationship with my weight at the time. That song is like emotional vomit.
Iuliana: I’m certainly assuming that you’ll be continuing with music in the future, so do you think you’ll be letting out more albums down the road? What’s the future look like for you? In what ways are you moving forward?
Caroline: Absolutely! So this past school year, I started writing a lot more and I’ve basically finished writing all of the songs for my next album. This summer I’m working on the production of some, and hopefully, (fingers crossed with covid and what not) will be releasing a few singles at the end of 2020 and throughout 2021. At the same time, I’m actually working on another album / project that I can’t say much about right now, but that I’m VERY excited about. It’s truly like nothing I’ve ever done before, almost like an alter ego of myself. What I can say is that it’ll be under a different artist name with another person/other people, we will have music out latest by the end of 2020, and it will definitely make you want to dance. This quarantine has basically felt like I’m recharging for when I can play shows and release music again and it’s been really refreshing to just focus on preparation. I’m smiling as I write this, I’m really excited for the music I’m going to release. In the meantime, you can catch my podcast titled, Sidetracked, on Spotify and keep up to date with me on my Instagram.
Follow Caroline on Instagram here!