Sweet Caroline

 

Sweet Caroline's astonishing voice is poised but poignant in the quietly affective 'Bad Hesitation'.
 

After listening to her music, it should come as no surprise that Sweet Caroline’s first venture into the creative world was through poetry. A telltale lyricism runs through all her work, especially her latest offering ‘Bad Hesitation.’ A certain tension exists in any relationship between two people who have traveled past the trenchant altercations of youthful. This tension is expertly captured in ‘Bad Hesitation’ by the juxtaposition of darkly brooding sax licks with Caroline’s bright trilling, decorated from beneath by a seething assemblage of minor chords and blue-note harmonies - her sweet persona melds well with the often bitter subject matter she approaches. Independent reporter Andrew Edwards recently caught up with her to talk about her new song, her background in music, and what we might be able to look forward to in the future.

ANDREW: When did you first get that feeling that your music career was gaining momentum?
SWEET CAROLINE: I wrote ‘Skye’ in my cool loft in January- September 2009. I wrote an hour a day after attending countless DJ events and concerts around the world with handshakes and introductions. I spent the remainder of my time on CDs, albums, cassette tapes, and wrote my own music for over 20 years. I first realized I was gaining momentum by the number of musicians performing with me. I randomly put ‘Skye’ up on a few free music sites and was instantly number 1-10 on all 3. This is a huge win for me, ‘Skye’ being my debut. So next, I was pleased to be given The Akademia award, which was a huge thank you to the follow up album that was written on the road.

ANDREW: Your song ‘Bad Hesitation’ is receiving a strong listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard it played?
SWEET CAROLINE: First of all, thank you for listening. ‘Bad Hesitation’ is a romantic introduction but lined with baggage. The sax is reminiscent of the voice and romantic and lonely at the same time, like the lyrics. She clearly has baggage, but then begs her new fella to stay. This is thrilling to have radio play.

ANDREW: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
SWEET CAROLINE: My last album, Skye, is all about a painful breakup with a lover and a group of friends, and the heartache I sustained. ‘Bad Hesitation’ is the first attempt at getting back up, meeting people, but noticing I am still bitter and wondering why they are still leaving.

ANDREW: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
SWEET CAROLINE: I faced many a challenge growing up, lots of isolation. I was picked young for the Gifted Program, which enabled my voice, it's strength, and continued individuality, which propelled me into the adult world of criticism as a young adult. When I moved, however, to pursue my career in Hollywood, I faced life and death and vowed to rely on God and music to see me through. At first, while learning how to walk and rehabilitate, choir and church music, from all the years I sang, came back to me. This fed my soul and enabled me with the gift of music.

ANDREW: How would you characterize yourself as a musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving...)
SWEET CAROLINE: I am creative, complex, and stylishly try to incorporate a lot of different genres. I love lyrics and feel verbose. I have lots to sing about. Through music I have met and had such amazing experiences and wish for many more.

 

ANDREW: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
SWEET CAROLINE: There have been some challenges. My first guitar player, Robert Thursday, wrote his part well, but then announced he was only offering studio time and open mic, whereas I began hearing back from fans internationally, so I had to let him go. Other musicians like Frank Stinson I have collaborated with for over five years on Skye and Next, Please, which are mostly jazz, rock, and blues songs. He, like others, run open mic studios here in my home city and host me on many occasions. Duane Trower of Weights & Measures Soundlab did post production on Skye and Next Please. I feel that his input is terrifically creative, musical, and cutting edge for me, who trained on guitar, keys, cello, voice, and African drums. I lived to play, jam, and perform with them. I love rhythm and bass with loads of vocal tracks.

ANDREW: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
SWEET CAROLINE: Yes. My grandfather played and taught the English horn in upstate New York at Eastman School of Music until he contracted tuberculosis. My church choirs and dancing led to a love of music, primarily pop and rock, and I sang competitively through school choirs as well. I studied music in San Francisco, California and played with a handful of international musicians in subways, on campus, and at parties. But I always felt my music was too tragic, depressing. If I did it over, I would probably skip the bachelor's degree in creative writing and music!

ANDREW: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
SWEET CAROLINE: Artistry has always appealed and been my voice. Alongside singing, dancing, and practicing guitar throughout school, a teacher published my first poem in 1990, I believe in a literary magazine, so I received my first criticism at 14. The most rewarding thing is having a voice. The most challenging is feeling frustrated at my family's disapproval as l developed artistically. Throughout university I worked as a top makeup artist, but felt corporate America pulling me into the ‘norm’, and my neighbor’s band inspired me to leave it behind to pen Skye. I directed one short film about a feminine painter, Teresa Magel, whose artwork gives voice to the feminine and beautiful, fragile and strong, whose artwork graces the cover of my single One More Right. There have been a music video or two as well as a handful of art films that I acted in, directed or helped out with musically, such as Robert Vollrath and American Beauty Myth.

ANDREW: Who are your role models in music?
SWEET CAROLINE: Madonna, Stevie Nicks, DJ Colette, Mariah Carey, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Pat Benatar, Dee- Lite, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald. Republic Tigers, Making Movies.

ANDREW: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
SWEET CAROLINE: It has yet to come! Probably the one I missed due to illness, The Blues Brothers with Dave Shields jam band, last September. Or most memorable would be ModKC Christmas Charity Art Ball December 2012 with Dan ‘Dirty’ Rice, Christopher Doyle, and a whole host of friends. The microphone track got plugged in, but had some difficulty on the guitar feed, so it ended up with me and my computer and beats and vocals instead of the intended guitar/drum sounds.

ANDREW: What advice would you give to young, aspiring musicians out there who are unsure and need guidance?
SWEET CAROLINE: Always believe in yourself, especially when it feels like no one else does. They will when you do.

ANDREW: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
SWEET CAROLINE: More and more film appearances this year, so look for me in Welcome to America, Top Coat Cash. Also, my next 17 songs which will be weeded into an album!

ANDREW: That sounds fantastic! I hope to see you in those films soon, and I certainly expect to hear great things about you in the music press too!

https://www.reverbnation.com/sweetcarolineskye

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