Heartbreak, Vulnerability, and Angsty Pop: In Conversation with Caroline Romano

images: kelsey runge/ press

If fiery pop music you can scream along to in the car is your cup of tea, then you’ve stumbled upon the right place. Since releasing her first music at the age of 15, Caroline Romano has spent the last seven years spilling out honest and heartfelt songs that will leave you singing along and feeling a wave of emotions. Flowing from angsty pop to alternative rock, Romano’s lyrics are vulnerable and relatable for many young women, and she is undoubtedly making a name for herself in the Nashville music scene. 

Romano’s debut album, Oddities & Prodigies, was released in February 2022. At a towering length of 16 songs, this album gave fans a glimpse into her life and the variety of emotions she encounters. Following the release of two singles in late 2023 – girl in a china shop and Tell Her I Said Hi – anticipation is high for fans awaiting more music and possibly a run of live shows.

This week I sat down with Caroline to discuss everything from what got her started in music to the personal struggles behind her creative lyrics.

Diving into the foundations of Caroline’s passion for making music, she discussed her childhood and early inspirations for pursuing this career. Romano grew up in Mississippi, however from a young age she felt drawn to Nashville for its bustling music scene and enhanced opportunity. For her 13th birthday, Caroline’s parents took her there on a trip, and this was when she fell in love. As she was homeschooled for a portion of her childhood, Caroline felt isolated from her peers, and early on she found comfort in music. Driving to school with her mother she would listen to a variety of CDs and this soon became her favourite way to express herself.

Finding solace in the songs of Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Queen, and Taylor Swift, Romano knew that this was where she wanted to go in life – and frequent trips to Nashville were how she was going to get there.

Speaking to the vulnerability of her lyrics, I asked Caroline how it feels to have such raw and honest emotions out for the world to hear.

As she has been releasing music for so many years at this point, she claims that she has grown used to being vulnerable and open. With her latest single, Tell Her I Said Hi, Caroline shares that it’s not the public she’s afraid of hearing her lyrics, but rather the boy the song is about.

“Nashville is a big city but a small community”, according to Caroline, and with lyrics as specific as “navy blue, your bedsheets were navy blue”, it might be hard for her to hide from this one. Honesty plays a big role in Romano’s music, and it is something she values about her writing. She shares that her biggest fear is trying to be something she’s not, and expresses that if something feels shocking or difficult to say, then it is likely what she should be saying. To wrap up our discussion on Tell Her I Said Hi, Caroline shares her favourite lyric from the song – “But it’s fine, I only think about it all the time” – words that myself and I assume several others can relate to all too well.

Anyone who has been following Caroline’s music since she started will notice a pronounced evolution in her musical style.

At the intersection of multiple genres, her newer music has a more alternative sound and reveals more passion behind it. As she began at the young age of 15, Caroline states that her earlier music sounds a lot more polished than she truly felt at the time. The team she worked with then wanted to ensure her early sound reflected her young age, and as time goes on she feels that her music has grown along with her. She reluctantly uses the terms “weird” and “whimsical” to describe her music, and states that the sporadic emotion in her songs are her way of having her music reflect exactly what she is feeling. We spent a few minutes discussing Taylor Swift’s music, and how being able to watch Swift grow and change as her music does is a big inspiration for Caroline.

“When you find the right fans, you want people to see that evolution – it’s part of building the story”

Shifting into the rest of her musical catalogue, I ask Caroline to share which of her songs new listeners should turn to first in order to get to know her best. She shares that the track she is most proud of is Leaving Wednesday, thes second-to-last on her debut album, as she feels that it is really well-written and says everything she wanted it to. To really get to know her, however, she points fans to girl in a china shop. This song fluctuates between positive and negative tones, and offers listeners “a little bit of everything”, discussing her tendency to make poor choices, something I’m sure resonates with many.

Exposing herself within her lyrics is a common occurrence for Romano, however she shares that her song This House was the hardest for her to write. Although this track dives into the details of her life, and she suspects it makes her “look lame”, she is very proud of its poeticism and ironically closes every one of her live shows with it. Although she tends to get emotional performing this, she explains that “people relate to it and enjoy it, and we make it really cool for live shows”.

Moving away from discussing her songs, Caroline opened up about how she navigates the music industry as a young woman. Walking into rooms dominated by powerful men, it’s common for Caroline (and many other women) to experience a rush of doubtful feelings, often wondering “am I good enough to be here?”. Throughout her journey as a musician however, Caroline has found her voice and learned how to speak up for herself. “I know I’ve earned my place there, I’ve been asked to be there for a reason”, she shares this inspiring perspective with us.

“It’s about having confidence in yourself, knowing your voice is just as important and as loud as anyone else’s, even if sometimes you have to scream.”

Diving into Caroline’s personal music taste, she goes into enthusiastic detail about her admiration for Noah Kahan. Being a fan of his for years, she dreams of one day working with the singer-songwriter. At 19, Caroline sent Noah her song Leaving Wednesday through Instagram, asking if he would be interested in featuring on it. Although he declined, he was extremely polite and sent her a long and kind message, leaving her with a pleasant view of him. She relates to his music as it encapsulates almost everything she feels, and he “has a perspective on life that she’s never related to more”. His music explores themes of leaving home, and wanting to be bigger than yourself, both feelings that Caroline knows very strongly. 

Caroline still dreams of working with Noah Kahan one day, and it might not be that far off – he still follows her on Instagram to this day. Of course, Noah was Caroline’s Artist of the Year in 2023, however, she shares that another one of her favourite artists is fellow Nashville native Charlotte Sands, who she looks up to. Additionally, when she goes through phases of writing a lot, she channels Jon Bellion’s music for inspiration.

Looking to the future, there is a lot currently in the works for Romano. Most pressingly, her new single, Used By You, is coming out February 23. Romano states that this is the most “rock” song she has, along with it being “very sad, and the most honest song” she’s put out. The raw lyrics describe the experience of allowing someone to use you out of fear of losing them. Comically, Romano describes that her mom dislikes this track, as she doesn’t like the way it portrays her. Aside from this release, there will be a lot more music coming from Caroline, in addition to a new website, new merch, and several show announcements very soon – so be sure to stay tuned.

At 22 years old, there is a long road ahead for Caroline’s musical journey. She has big dreams for herself, starting with playing Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl, an iconic venue she grew up watching her favourite performers at, and heading towards a world tour, playing her songs at every venue possible. With the way she is working now, we should all keep our eyes peeled to see what big adventure she sets out on next – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Caroline Romano x Noah Kahan collab in the near future.

Listen to Caroline Romano 👇🏼

Similar Posts