Name: Caroline Romano
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Nationality: American
Recent release: “Chopstix,” Caroline Romano's latest single to be taken off her album Oddities and Prodigies is out now.

If you enjoyed this interview with Caroline Romano and would like to find out more about her work, visit her official website. She is also also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

I’m not sure if the impulse to create art stems from me wanting to add some sort of permanence to what I see, whether it be a moment I want to stay in or a pretty thing I want to hold on to. But the need to create and write music is as necessary and urgent for me as the need to breathe. It’s an incessant, but wonderful longing to put everything I see and know and love or hate into words and melodies.

I’m constantly inspired by other forms of art. Artists like Noah Kahan, the 1975, Taylor Swift, Holly Humberstone, Paramore and Jon Bellion never fail to show me something new that I want to create or write about.

I love writing about books and movies. I wrote “Ireland in 2009” about this indie film called Cherrybomb that I love. It’s people, it’s relationships, it’s the lack of those things. Life begs to be written about.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

My favorite way to write is to just start writing. Oftentimes I don’t go into writing a song with a fully fledged concept, or how I want it to end. I find if I’m feeling a very strong emotion, or there’s a certain circumstance I’m writing about, I like to just put all of my thoughts onto paper and sketch the melody around the lyrics. Songs have a funny way of forming themselves, and the best ones are often the least thought out in my opinion.

There definitely is a balance of planning and chance when it comes to writing, one that I’m still trying to navigate, but I really just like to let the moment tell me what to say. If I’m writing to a track, I try not to fight what I’m hearing, even if it feels odd in the moment.

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?

If I’m going into a session with a particular producer, I like to do some research in finding vibes I think we will work well together on. Sometimes I’ll come in with an inspiration track, or a certain line I want to build the song around.

If I’m writing by myself, I’ll usually just get out my guitar or sit down at the piano and start writing immediately. I love demos, and I really enjoy seeing the process of a song go through its metamorphosis over time.

With my latest release “Chopstix,” the first take/demo of the song was so cool that we basically decided to run with it as is. There’s not much added production to that one. I recorded it in a bedroom with my friends on a retreat, and I love that the final product has that same energy and “day of” feel to it.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I don’t necessarily have a ritual to get me in the right headspace. I’ve written songs in so many different settings and circumstances. But, I’d say my favorite place/mindset for writing is super late at night in my room.

I’ve written some of my favorite songs at 2AM in my apartment. There’s just something special about it.

What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?

I almost always start with lyrics. I love telling a story, whether it be disjointed or linear.

Sometimes the first line is the easiest part. When you know what you want to say, that first line feels like the catalyst for an amazing release.

What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?

I think good lyrics are anything that can make you feel something. If they take you somewhere, or you can relate to them in any capacity, I think that’s saying something. It’s just poetry with music on top of it.

I love playing with space, and learning when not saying something is more powerful than saying something. Less is more is something I’m trying to work on. I love words so much that I want to use all of them, but some of my favorite writers have such a way of saying something so big with so little lyrics.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?

I’m a big believer in following the song wherever it takes me. I think what’s so cool about art in general is that, at some point, it has a way of showing you what it wants to be. I’ll follow any melody change if it feels right, no matter how weird.

When you’re in it, you’re in it, and there’s really no stopping it.

Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?

I’ve definitely experienced an unexpected direction, whether it be in a song or as a change in what my sound is as a whole. It can be scary to deviate from what I thought it was going to be or to sound like, but I think the only thing one can do in those scenarios is to embrace it.

I firmly believe it’s important to know what you want, from your art, from your career, and from your life. But there’s something beautiful in realizing that you’re not in complete control of it all. I’ve learned, and am still learning to roll with the unexpected in all aspects of music, and to embrace it.

There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?

There is definitely an element of spirituality in the process of creating. It’s one of those things where it just feels right. Like you’re doing what you know you were born to do.

I have learned so much about myself, love, life, and my relationship with God in those moments of bearing my soul to a song. It’s delicate and powerful and draining and fulfilling all at the same time. It’s my favorite thing in the world.

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

There’s always the temptation of wanting to take a song further and further, and it’s a fine line between getting it right and taking it too far. I try to just stop when it feels right.

I’ll listen to a song over and over again, whether I’m questioning the writing or production, and if I’m hearing something I’m not into each time, I’ll only change that one thing. I think it’s important to make small changes if you’re making them.

When it feels good and you’re not having to dig to find something wrong, that’s when I stop.

What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?

I really enjoy being involved in the production process. Production can make or break a song, and it’s important for me to be involved in every aspect of the process I can.

I love the people I work with, and we have a very open, continuous dialogue. We bounce production ideas off one another, talk about any changes we want to make, etc.

The production world is fascinating to me, so I really enjoy learning more about it with every song.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

I can definitely relate to that sense of emptiness.

I released my first album, Oddities and Prodigies, in February of this year, and I was terrified the day after it came out. I’d been working on that particular project for almost a year. Sixteen songs and it was all finished in an instant. I found myself looking around, not knowing what to do or how to feel.

So, I started to write about those feelings. I started to plan the next project. I did the one thing I knew I could do, which was make more music.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I think everything we do creatively, whether it be through art and music or through making coffee and getting dressed, shares a common goal. We’re all just trying to find ourselves. To find love, excitement, confidence and freedom.

I think there are a million different ways to express that pursuit, and writing songs is just my favorite way of doing so.