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Meet Nashville’s Next Rockstar: Caroline Romano

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

On May 3rd, 2024, I joined Nashville’s next rockstar, Caroline Romano, for a conversation on the steps of the Santa Ana Observatory. Coming off of the release of her new single, “Doesn’t Matter,” and the start of her first-ever tour, we discussed the inspiration behind the track, the touring experience, and the influence of genres and hometowns within her writing.

Congratulations on “Doesn’t Matter!” What inspired the song, and how did you write it?

I wrote it in January with my friend John the Dropout. I live in Nashville and it’s very songwriting-community focused. Songwriting is my full-time job, which is awesome, but it’s very easy to be caught up in a structure of “This is how a song should be.” [John] was like, “Just come over to my house. Let’s just make a weird thing every Monday for the rest of the year.” And I was like, “Okay!” And that was the first one we did. He just started making this track; he was like “What have you been listening to?” I was like, “Holly Humberstone, Lorde as always.” So we started doing this droning thing, and I had a situationship thing happening, so I was like “Easy, I’ll write about this.” And so I started writing this long rambling chorus, and I was like “I’m not gonna edit it because it doesn’t need to be.” It’s a little bit all over the place, but that’s what it’s supposed to be. 

What has touring been like?

This is my first tour ever! I’ve only been on the road for a week and a half now, and it’s been crazy. It’s been awesome! Super tiring, but really cool, and I’ve gotten to see parts of the country that I’ve never seen before which has been great.

Where are you most excited to go on tour?

I was excited to see Oregon. I went to Bend, OR. That place ripped. There were a bunch of live animals; it was really small and quaint, which was cool. I’ve never been to San Francisco either, so I went there, [which was] really pretty. 

How has your hometown influenced your music?

I think, just as a person, [my hometown] made me want to get out and reach for more. I didn’t feel like I found my people in my hometown, so that was a really big [part] of feeling like I wanted something else and finding that. Then also, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there is so much of me that’s so used to [the quiet]. I like the quiet. I miss some elements about that, so circling elements of that back into my writing has been very interesting. I get very overwhelmed by the world, and I’ve learned that on this tour for sure. 

Have you experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you come back from it? 

I definitely have experienced writer’s block. I think getting into the habit of music being your job makes that very easy to happen. I kinda just get through it by not forcing myself to write something if I don’t feel like writing it. At the end of the day, music is a form of self-expression. Sometimes I’ll write about having writer’s block, which is something [inspirational because it’s] a frustrating thing. I just let it pass, and [remind myself that] you’ll have emotions again, whether you like it or not, so wait until that happens. 

What’s your biggest inspiration?

Musically, I’m very inspired by the storytelling arc of artists like Taylor Swift and Noah Kahan; artists who have painted this big [story arc from the] start to [where their career is] now, and take their fans on [that] journey with them. In general, music is the only thing that’s made me feel alive and passionate. I have a real problem with apathy, it’s very easy for me to feel depressed at times. Music is this whole other world for me. It feels like [music] is why I’m supposed to be here.

What genres have you experimented with?

I used to do EDM! My biggest streamed song is EDM. That was a whole other time. My first EP I put out was kind of country, because I was in Nashville and I was 13. And I was super pop for a minute, and now I’m more in the rock-sphere, which I love, and I definitely think fits [me] more than the alternative pop vibe. 

Do you write a song knowing what genre it will be, or do you figure out the genre later?

I probably should think more genre-wise. I’ve been told a lot, “You need to pick a lane.” I get that, as a new artist, you want to distinguish your sound. But, I always start with lyrics. I’m a lyrical person, and at the end of the day, I’m writing just to write. It’s always what [sound] comes out, and then I pick the genre around the emotions of that. 

What lyrics are you proudest of?

“I hope there’s more to who I am than just my plans,” [from my song “Leaving Wednesday”]. So much of my young life has been pursuing a dream. Even nowadays, people are all about what you do, and I feel like, “Is there something to me besides what I do?” And there is! But it’s a good reminder of that. Also, my life motto is “Oddities and Prodigies.” I think they go hand in hand. And it rhymes! 

Doesn’t Matter” is available on all streaming platforms.

Kat Riggsby

UC Irvine '25

Kat Riggsby (Capricorn) is a second-year English major at the University of California, Irvine. When she's not dancing around her room to the latest Taylor Swift album, she can be found reading tarot, writing, and daydreaming up her next big scheme.