“We want it to be energetic, engaging, and interactive. The parts of this record we wanted to pull out for the live show were the really joyful and uplifting parts, the things that ignore all the bullshit that’s imposed on women by society,” Caroline Smith tells me. The Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter is describing for me her current tour, which will be stopping at our very own Boot & Saddle tonight, March 4th (The show will be opened by Ayo Awosika, Smith’s vocal coach, who she proclaims to be “The most talented woman I know,” with direct support from Kwesi K, of whom she says “He’s totally amazing and I can’t believe he wanted to open for me.”) The tour is in support of her third album, Half About Being a Women, which was released last October and has her taking a decidedly different turn from the indie folk found on her first two releases. Her latest, dedicated to the potency of womanhood, instead focuses on a sound inspired by Smith’s love of ‘90s R&B and soul, and a sound which she says has her feeling far more empowered than her earlier releases. When I ask what have been her highlights of promoting the album, she explains, “My favorite part is that I’m in sync with what I want to say as a human being on Earth, and that makes it really gratifying.” She tells me that her future sounds will follow the style she finds on Half About Being a Woman: “If I do change from this, it will just be a specific part, although it will definitely still be this kind of pop R&B.” Caroline is currently beginning to write new music, which she tells me will increase exponentially once she returns from the road: “I’m trying to spend as much time as a I can writing, but it’s hard to do from the road, but I have my laptop, so I’ll jot down little ideas I have all the time. When I’m home I try to make writing a 9-5 job. I mean, this year I want to write another record that’s even better.”
Caroline Smith was recently featured as the subject of a half-hour long documentary called My Way Back Home (which you can watch below), which chronicles her return to her geographic roots and outlines some of her most charming quirks and the story of her and her siblings being raised by a single mother, which ultimately has so much to do with what inspires her and the ways in which she sees the world. I was impressed by how both eloquent and thorough the short film, but it also left me with additional wonderings, first off, just how it came about.
“In Minnesota there’s a great divide between the metropolitan and the small town and this was an attempt to bring what was going on in those small towns to the city. I mean, have you seen Fargo? That’s pretty much where I’m from. I think it turned out really well though. I just remember thinking, ‘How are they going to make me that interesting for half an hour?’ [laughs]”
In My Way Back Home Caroline Smith admits to being a neat freak, which sparks my curiosity, so I finally have to ask her what it is that she’s most particular about: “It’s really dorky but, you know I’m not making a lot of money, but I love having nice clothes. So my clothes are freakishly color-coordinated and perfectly folded. If you saw my closet, you’d be like, ‘A serial killer lives here.’”