At only 16 years old, Caroline Roman is dominating the pop industry and performing in the 8th annual 35-city High School Nation tour, opening for tour headliner, Drake Bell. Caroline is already a prominent performer, songwriter, pop singer, and still finds time to be a student. Her song “Gold,” a single dropped from her upcoming EP, raises attention to teen suicide prevention, an issue that Caroline holds close to her heart. She hopes to spread messages of self-love and acceptance among her fans with the uplifting themes in her music.
The rest of Caroline’s EP will be released on November 6th and was recorded and produced by the Grammy-nominated Bravo Ocean Studios. Here, Caroline opens up about why teen suicide prevention is so important to her, touring with Drake Bell, and what fans can expect form her highly anticipated EP.
What was the inspiration behind “Heat of the Summer?”
I wrote “Heat of the Summer” towards the end of the summer when I noticed that my teenager friends had summer relationships that all broke up at the end of the summer. Some went to college, some had to leave summer camps, some just broke up because fall began a new school year. I guess it just got me thinking about how normal it is to have a short-lived summer “fling” and then each person moves on with the normal plans for their lives. I just felt it was a universal theme that has been going on for generations.
What was the inspiration behind “Gold,” and why is the topic of teenage suicide important to you?
I had a close friend with a learning disability write a goodbye note with the intent of killing herself because she felt like she was “different” and didn’t “fit in.” I just didn’t understand why she no longer wanted to live because she was pretty, and funny, and talented, but she just couldn’t see that about herself. All she saw and felt was the pain of being different. Luckily, she did not carry out the plan to kill herself, but later in the same month I learned that the suicide rate in the U.S. had tripled over that past year. So the song was initially written for my friend, but it’s really my message to everyone who has ever felt the pain of being different, or left out, or left behind. I wanted them to know that they are “perfect” exactly how they are. I believe that the thing that makes someone unique is the thing that really makes them incredible. I just want people to not be so critical about themselves and to love themselves a little more and realize how amazing and perfect they really are.
Tell me a little bit more about where the message of “you’re perfect” came from, and why body image is an important issue to you.
I’m just so tired of everyone putting so much emphasis on what the “perfect” look or body type or body feature is. We all know that the images we see online or in magazines and billboards are not real. Even “selfies” these days usually get a little editing prior to posting. So, why are we comparing ourselves to these images? Why do we often hear comments and criticism about being too fat or too thin, or too tall, or too short, or comments on the actual size of various body parts? I feel that this type of comparison to the unattainable “photoshopped” images is self-defeating so why do we constantly do this? I just think that beauty comes in all colors, sizes, and shapes and that we should embrace this and start to loves ourselves a little more for exactly who we are.
How has touring been?
I’ts crazy, but awesome! I really love it! The schedule of 35 cities in 7 weeks is very hectic, but High School Nation and their awesome crew somehow make it happen! It’s like building a city everyday, throwing a party for 5,000 people and then tearing it down the same day, packing it up, and then doing it again in a new town the next day which is kind of crazy and amazing when you think about it. The artists and crew have become like family. We really look out for each other. It’s so interesting because we come from different countries and states, but we are all working together to create an incredible musical and art experience for each of the high schools. I totally love being on tour. It’s the best feeling for me to be on stage in front of literally 5,000 people and be able to share the songs that I wrote with them. I love to see their faces and their reactions to my music. I have had several people start crying in the middle of the song, “Gold.” It’s really an amazing feeling to know that I was able to touch someone’s heart and soul with my music. There’s no greater feeling that that for me.
Were you nervous at all for this tour?
Yes! Although I have played in several venues, this was my first experience with this many people in the audience. When I first started writing music, I had stage fright so severe that my whole body would shake uncontrollably and I would literally throw up prior to going on stage. Then, one day during a voice lesson, I just started crying because I hated my stage fright, but I really wanted to become a performer and not just a songwriter. It was that day that I realized that my stage fright was coming from my fear of what people would think of me. So, that day, I decided to let go of what people thought of me and just put it out there. That was kind of my “AHA” moment! Not everyone is going to love your work and that’s really okay. Once I let go of caring about what people thought of my performance, I was able channel my nerves into positive performance energy. Now I totally love being on stage. I know that it is what I was meant to do.
Any cities/ shows you’re particularly looking forward to?
Well, I’m really excited to perform in Atlanta, Georgia since it’s where I first started recording and performing, but I’m also excited about the tour cities in Texas because I have heard that they are very large audiences and a ton of fun! I am also really looking forward to being on the 2018 Spring Tour which takes place on the West Coast.
What festival are you headlining, and what are you most excited about for that?
I am the opening act for Drake Bell, of the “Drake and Josh” TV show, which is really cool since I grew up watching “Drake and Josh” everyday on TV! The festival is the High School Nation 2017 Fall Tour and it lasts for 7 weeks and visits high schools in 35 cities throughout the Mid-West, Southeastern states and Texas. I am most excited about being able to share my music with so many high school students in a live performance where I can actually see their reactions to the music that I created. Some have cried, some sing along, some dance… it’s just the best thing ever to watch while I’m singing from stage!
What’s it like touring with Drake Bell?
I know this will be hard to believe because Drake Bell is such a huge icon for so many teenagers, but the truth is, he’s really a regular guy… a really famous, really “hot,” talented, regular guy, but still he’s just a normal guy who’s fun and funny and likes to golf and is really good at playing Escape Room which we played in a group in Cincinnati, Ohio one night. He’s always been really sweet to me and very encouraging. One day, we were backstage eating BBQ with the crew and I was sitting there thinking how totally “cool” it was to be just sitting and eating BBQ with Drake Bell, like that was a normal kind of thing to do, but in actuality, it was [a] very normal and relaxed thing to do because that’s the way he is. He’s very much part of the tour family.
What can fans expect from your upcoming EP?
This collection of songs, although primarily pop music, has strong lyrics and messages about self love and acceptance. The majority of the songs on the EP were recorded and produced by the Grammy-nominated team at Bravo Ocean Studios who have worked with Katy Perry and Mariah Carey. I was really happy with how the final product turned out. The song “Gold” was recorded and produced by TenTowns, LLC in Los Angeles and the beats are more stripped down in order to be able to really focus on the simplicity of the message of the lyrics to this song. You will be able to see for yourself on November 6th which is the release date for the EP!
What are some challenges you’ve experienced being so young, and already an international sensation?
Well, there has been a challenge with being able to pursue my music career and still be in school. Luckily, with online schooling these days, I’ve been able to work on my schoolwork pretty much anywhere there is a laptop and wifi connection, so I’m able to get through my schoolwork more efficiently, but I miss out on normal junior activities like lunch, and social activities like homecoming dance and playing on a sports team. The other big challenge for me and other musicians is that the music business has changed so much and it’s hard to find the right pathway to take in order to be able to get my music distributed on all media, including radio, as an Indie artist without the backing and distribution networks of a major label. It’s hard to know the right pathway to take as an artist, but I’m really so blessed to have some very experienced mentors guiding me through the various pathway choices.
What would you like to say to your fans?
First, I want to say thank you to them for all their love and support! It absolutely means everything to me to know that you are with me on this journey! The love that I feel when I perform is what has sustained me on this tour and through times of self doubt. Thank you so much! Also, I want to know if it would be okay to refer to them as my “friends” rather than “fans.” I really feel like they are really my friends and not just my fans. I really want them to know that I personally read and answer my Instagram account @Carolineroman. I really want them to know this so they know that they have a direct channel of communication to me, which is really important. Most importantly, I want my friends/fans to know that if they are going through a rough time in their lives, no matter what it is, they are not alone. There are people who love and care about them and who are wanting to help them through whatever it is they are going through. I want them to know that they are amazing, unique, lovable and capable exactly the way they are. Stop worrying about what other people think and start loving yourself for exactly who you are today because, “UR Perfect!”
And lastly, I want everybody to have an increased awareness about the epidemic that we have with suicide in the U.S. and be able to help identify those who may be at risk for suicide. Awareness and education is one of the biggest things we can to help prevent a suicide. Look for the signs. Reach out to those who seem unusually depressed or withdrawn. Always take a threat of suicide seriously. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you need direction or help. We can make a difference even if it’s just one person!