By Mae Saunders
With her new singles growing in popularity, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Chloé Caroline recently to talk about her new EP, The Awakening, that comes out on March 20th. We talked about everything from shifting from a country-influence into full pop between her first album and her more recent work, to the possibility of a second EP and full album release later this year. With her exciting new releases fast-approaching, I hope to see Chloé out on the road soon! Here’s what she had to say about all things The Awakening.
M – What has it been like releasing this EP? It’s been a few years since you released a full album.
C – It’s been super crazy! Especially since I’ve never released this many singles in a row so quickly before. There have been single releases in the past, but never this many in succession; they generally have a couple of months between them. My last album release was during COVID and was supposed to be released sooner, but once COVID hit, we kind of just threw it out there because we didn’t know when our next opportunity would be. This one is different though because I really want to give each song its own chance to shine.
M – They definitely have been shining. I feel like that’s similar to what a lot of artists experienced during that time! There has been a lot of change between the style of your first album, Love of Course, and your more recent releases. What inspired that change? Was it organic?
C – The Love of Course album was actually supposed to just be for the Hallmark movie (of the same name), I never really thought they would see the light of day. A lot of those songs were written when I first moved to Nashville and everyone was telling me, a blond girl with an acoustic guitar, that country was the genre I best fit into. I liked country, I grew up listening to Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks, so I just kind of went along with it. I never really categorized myself into one genre though, I always thought of myself as a girl that likes to write songs. And so I released that and called it California-Country. When it got picked up for the movie, those songs were already a few years old, and so I was already in deep with another project. I wanted to write music that was super authentic to myself and not put it in a box. I wanted a combination of both those organic sounds and synthetic pop. I see a lot of male artists like Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes doing something similar, but I haven’t seen a lot of female artists, so I really want to fill that space.
M – Do you have any favorites off the album so far that you’ve released? Or is there a song you haven’t released yet that you think will be your favorite?
C – I would say “Afraid of the Dark” is still one that I will always love because I think it is different. I love how it grows throughout the second verse and the chorus. It’s also about the day that I met my boyfriend and about how unexpected blessings can arrive in your life. It’s something to look to and think, “my wish fulfillments can always happen”, whether it’s in my career or whatever it may be. My song ‘Memories’ comes out on Friday and it will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s really personal to me.
M – That ties right in to my next question. Just like how meeting your boyfriend inspired “Afraid of the Dark”, were there any other specific events that inspired any of the songs?
C – For me, most of them were written during COVID and a little bit afterward where I was kind of going through this spiritual awakening of sorts. I was trying to heal from a past relationship and figure out kind of “What do I want?” and “Who am I?” I was growing a lot and as a result I was going through a lot of really beautiful things and really painful things and I got a lot of music out of that. I was learning how to be in the present moment just like I think a lot of people were at the time. Really learning how to chill out and not worry about what was going to happen.
M – So what does your songwriting process look like? Do you have to set aside time or does it generally flow naturally?
C – That was super interesting because my whole life before moving to Nashville and starting my career, I had only written by myself, so when I moved and I started writing with all of these other people, a lot changed for me. It definitely made me a better writer, but COVID really allowed me to write by myself again and that was awesome. I had gotten to a point where I was writing with so many people and had so many sessions that I never took the time to write by myself anymore. I never felt like I was able to or justified to do that, so it was really great to have time to really come up with new ideas and write songs by myself in entirety and really think about what was happening in my life that I wanted to write about. At one point I felt like I was writing so much that I wasn’t even living my life.
M – I definitely get that. It’s like being constantly ‘on’ for other people makes it really hard to be ‘on’ for yourself. It’s hard to set that time aside to prioritize yourself and the things that you need to do versus what other people need you to do.
C – Absolutely. And I would rather be intentional about what I’m doing. Like last night I wrote a song because I really felt called to, so I grabbed my guitar and started playing. Sometimes it is a little different when I have a session. We have a title and we kind of mess around. *Laughs* A lot of times though it starts with a therapy session.
M – That’s probably a great way to start honestly. When you write a song what comes first? Your melody or your lyrics?
C – When I am writing by myself, they kind of come out together. I will grab a guitar and just mumble alongside a melody. A lot of times the things I’m mumbling will end up being pretty close to the lyrics. I’ll write it down and go back and fine tune it, of course. I’m really particular about the significance of my lyrics. Other times, I would say it’s actually the song concept that comes first, then the melody, then go back and perfect lyrics.
M – How long would you say that process takes? From that first time you sit down and kind of mess around to when something is ready to be released?
C – I would say it depends. If I am in the studio with a producer it will go really fast. We could even lay down the guitar that day and put down a scratch vocal. The actual process of a released song, though, is so much longer because we have to keep going back and perfecting. For me, it’s always the vocals that I keep going back to because I feel that they are the most important. I want it to convey the emotion I intend and I also like to go back and add different layers like harmonies and background vocals too, which takes a long time.
M – Yeah! I really love the layering of the new songs that you have been putting out. I feel like they are really complex and I love how they form together into a really beautiful piece. What are some things that you think are important for people to know about the new album?
C – Thank you so much! I really want people to make it their own. But with that I want people to listen and be in the moment, not get distracted by the rest of the world; to just feel good and know that everything is going to be okay and just trust a little bit more in that. No one is perfect at that, everyone has days that they start doubting, but this whole record is about that faith in the unknown and following your heart and listening to your intuition first and foremost.
M – That’s amazing! When we were talking earlier you mentioned that you may be releasing another EP later this year. Are you still in the process of writing those songs or are they done already? Is what you’re writing now for a future album?
C – I’m always writing, so I’ve definitely been writing for the next couple of projects, but it’s actually already done. I have so much music and it’s kind of funny because I actually wrote the second EP first, so I’m doing things a little backwards.
M – When can we expect that out?
C – I’m really trying to keep on this release train, so I’m hoping to start releasing songs from the next one in May, maybe sooner. I want to have the full album, with some additional songs, out by this fall or winter.
M – So this next question kind of goes back in time, way before what we are talking about. Do you have any musicians in your family?
C – Yes, I do, I have a ton of musicians in my family. My dad has been in bands forever and is a singer-songwriter himself, so that definitely was inspiring to be around. My grandpa had his own radio show and used to sing on there and his dad was a singer, too. It really runs through my veins.
M – Did they have any influence on your style at all?
C – Kind of! My grandpa was around during the time of Frank Sinatra, which I love, but it’s very different from my style of course. My dad definitely did, though, because he’s kind of a melting pot, too. He loves the oldies, 60’s and 70’s, but he also loves country and pop too. He’s got that singer-songwriter in him where his goal is to write great lyrics with catchy melodies.
M – I’m sure you were surrounded by a lot of different types of music, then. You have roots in both Canada and Southern California, so there’s a lot of variety. Is there anyone that you were inspired by or kind of look up to currently?
C – Of course! I always say Stevie Nicks is my hero, but I have a few more for sure. Currently, I am loving Harry Styles. I think it’s super cool that he’s got this old school influence as well. Maggie Rogers is great too. I’m even into Gavin DeGraw. I think he’s releasing some new stuff, but back in the day he was definitely an influence for me too. He’s really a good example of that “songwriter” aspect being first and foremost.
M – That kind of taps into my next question. Is there anyone out there that you would love to collaborate with? A dream collaborator of sorts?
C – Again I would say Stevie or Harry. Oh! Also Miley! I’ve always loved her because she doesn’t put herself in a box and has a ton of cool influences. She’s always trying to do something different.
M – With the release of these new albums you’re definitely on the ‘up.’ Are there any tour dates or festival appearances in the near future?
C – Yeah! I am playing CMW which is Canadian Music Week in June. That’s in Toronto and it will really be my first Canadian show and definitely my first Canadian festival. I’m really excited about that! I also have some shows in LA that are coming up. Hopefully I’m going to be playing the Troubadour soon. Crossing my fingers there!
M – The Troubadour? That’s so cool! Well, you should definitely try to make your way out this way because we would love to talk to you in person. My last question, is there anything else that you want fans or people that are just starting to listen to your music to know?
C – Yes! I wanna connect with you guys. Please reach out, I do my best to respond to as many people as I can. I have my number in the bio of my social media platforms so you can text me there and be up to date with what’s going on. DM, comment, share, whatever it is, I’ll see it!
M – We will be looking for that EP on the 20th of March and I’ll be waiting for the announcement of those new releases! It was great talking with you!
C – It was great talking with you too! Thank you!