A few months back we published a spotlight piece and album review of Caroline Smith’s latest album, “Half About Being A Woman.” Caroline is currently on tour and graciously took the time to answer a few questions for us. Read her interview below and make sure to see her when she comes to your city! I’ll be at the Virginia/DC show at Jammin’ Java on February 27, hope to see some of you readers there.
SBS: First off thank you so much for chatting with us! We’re huge fans of the new album, “Half About Being A Woman.” I’d love to start off by asking how people have reacted to this album and your experience since its release.
CS: People have reacted very positively! Which is a relief because I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received; it’s so different than my other records. But this record is the most honest batch of songs I’ve ever written and I think it translates.
This is a very different sound than your last album. Can you talk a little about the genre change? Were there certain artists that pushed you in the direction you are in now?
I just wanted to make a record that I would listen to if it weren’t my own. Pop R&B and neo-soul is essentially all I listen to and grew up with my favorite artists being TLC and Mariah. I just wanted to make a record that reflected my personality a little but more.
How has the Minneapolis music scene built, influenced or supported you? Are there artists that you collaborate with most frequently?
The Minneapolis music scene has been hugely instrumental in where I am able to be as an artist. Getting to be a full-time musician with out a day job is something that I ascribe to the crazy amount of support that my community shows me and other Minneapolis musicians. It’s a truly magical place for struggling artists.
And on the flip side of that leaving Minneapolis to tour the country I imagine is a very different experience. How does it feel taking your music around the country?
After touring for 5 years straight it’s finally getting a little easier. We have places that we really enjoy going and that have adopted us into their music scene. But it’s a long long road with a stinky van full of dudes.
In the last piece I wrote about you, I theorized a bit about your album regarding women and vulnerability, especially in the song “Half About Being A Woman.” What does this album and specifically the title of the album mean to you?
Thank you for that piece, I loved what you had to say. A lot of this album had to do with being honest with the woman that I am and having the courage to put that out into the world and a huge part of that is reconnecting with your feminine intuition. The line in the song that lends itself to the title of the record is about that: embracing your humility but sticking to your intuition and your truth as a woman. A lot of people have ideas on feminism and a lot of guidelines for being one, and I tend to disagree. I believe that you can lose yourself over a guy and still be a feminist; you can wear make up and be a feminist; you can be a plumber, a doctor, a stay-at-home mom, and play a strong role in feminism; that was something I also wanted to address.
What do you see as the prominent themes of this album and where does that inspiration come from?
I think confidence is a huge theme on this record because I think every woman deserves it and at the very least is entitled to it. The media is so harsh on women not being good enough, skinny enough, blonde enough, and I just got to a point where I was fed up with it and I wanted to help whoever I could, including myself, to find their confidence again.
Besides music do you use other creative methods to express yourself?
I love to cook. My grandmother writes me letters with new recipes every week and I love to try them out and out a different spin on it. It relaxes my mind and keeps my hands busy.
I saw on your twitter account that you were as excited as me about the latest Beyonce album. Your album explicitly talks about being a woman. Beyonce is talking about feminism. How do you see female artists today addressing the struggles of women in our society and do you feel you have a responsibility to do so?
…I think women have become more and more alienated to the idea of feminism and I think what I was trying to say about feminism to my listeners, Beyonce got to say on a bigger platform and it made me so happy. I think feminism can be associated with anger and impossible guidelines and it can be intimidating. The idea of feminism that I subscribe to is what Beyonce is saying: you can be a stay at home mom with a husband whom you love and be no less of a woman than the woman next to you. Whatever your truth as a woman is, you’re entitled to it. I think you have a responsibility to at least do that and by doing that, you are being a feminist and lending yourself to the woman community.
I’ll be at your concert on Feb 27 at Jammin’ Java in VA. What can folks heading to your shows expect to see on this tour?
We try to show our audiences a good time and we want to send them home smiling and dancing. So you can expect that!
Last question, do you have a favorite song off of “Half About Being A Woman?”
They’re all my babies and I love them equally.
My favorite songs on the new album are “Kind of Man” and “Walking Off Strong.” I am putting in a very strong request for you to play these two 🙂
We’ll see what we can do 😉
Here’s a sneak peek of the awesomeness you’ll experience if you check out one of her upcoming shows: