Nine years ago I was doing my usual surfing on YouTube for local female singers and stumbled upon a video that moved me to my core: Caromia’s rendition of Patsy Cline’s, ‘Crazy.’

At the time I was hosting a singer songwriter in the round, so I reached out to her and booked her within a month. Soon after, I asked her to play for the Female Artist Spotlight nights I was hosting twice per month. I was also fortunate to have shared the stage with her in 2016 for the Downtown After Five All-Star jam!

I’ve been in love with her all this time and it was my honor to speak with her about her two most recent EP releases, “Green” from 2019 and “Sunday Land” from 2020. Here are highlights from our exchange!

Peggy:
You said at the time you released the EP “Green” that it was anticlimactic. How has Green moved in the ethos since its release?

Caromia:
It was a combination of the lockdown, and what felt like a tectonic shift in the mainstream narrative of our country. It felt silly to try to call attention to myself, and ask people to listen to these intimate songs amidst a revolutionary moment. For both of the albums, the purpose and totality of my ambition was in the creative process of writing and recording them.

Peggy:
How are you doing now that both releases are out there?

Caromia:
I’m in a good place! It’s interesting to look back to where I was when I wrote them. I wrote and recorded Green fall/winter of 2019, Sunday Land in spring/summer of 2020.  I’m just realizing this now, but they absolutely reflect the physical seasons they came from. In Green, I was turned inward, navigating a dark time, processing grief, heartbreak, moving through pain, holding the weight, trying to accept I had to let go. When I started writing Sunday Land, I was ready to feel hopeful again…I was falling in love, I was feeling lighter again, reconnecting with joy. It was Spring after a long Winter.     

Peggy:
Musically speaking, what is your intention?

Caromia:
My intention is to create. I start writing, and the meaning comes after the song is written. I write and record in my bedroom “studio”, which is really just a microphone, Apollo Twin interface, some guitars, keyboards and a computer. I never write with the intention of releasing or even sharing the songs. Most of what I write and record never gets heard by anyone, which allows me to move more freely than if I was writing with the audience in mind?

Peggy:
This paradigm shift we’ve experienced is aptly reflected in your song from Sunday Land, “Shifting Shapes”. Was there a shift in your own thinking that prompted you to write it?

Caromia:
Yeah, there were some major shifts happening for me. The song is a meditation on the energetic reincarnation that happens in life; how we think we know what we want, how things “should” be, and get attached to the idea of certain fixed realities, “make believe that we see finish lines”… We often struggle with graceful acceptance of natural changes, and end up mourning them as a death of sorts, when it’s really just an energetic reincarnation.

Peggy:
On “Pedals,” I am thrilled to hear your voice take off, soar and land and play with the horns and vamps. How fun was that section of the song to experiment with?

Caromia:
That’s one of my favorite sections of the album!  It was just playful experimentation that I allowed to develop naturally. Adam Dotson wrote the horn arrangement around the vocals, and I had a huge smile on my face when I listened back to what he came up with.

Peggy:
On “I Was a Sailboat,” there’s a juxtaposition of it in relation to “Pedals.” “Pedals” is sparse lyrically and rich with meditative space with tickles and playful prods of horn riffs and vocalese. On ‘Sailboat,’ there’s a development of feelings and narrative.  I am drawn to the song for what I personally get from it.

Caromia:
I did write it about a specific storyline that was unfolding in my life, but I think it’s better to leave listeners relating it to their own stories. I love that you have your own story with it:)

Peggy:
I picture you in your studio producing the synths and sounds that meander in this one; I’m curious about the depth of exploration to produce it.

Caromia:
I probably spent the most time doing just that on this one. In general, I spend a lot of time experimenting with approaches, sounds, effects, exploring my instruments (vocals included) and softwares.

Peggy:
“To Do But Float” is the epitome of a letting-go song. I love it so much!

Caromia:
Thanks! Years ago, I was especially stressed out and needed an escape from where I was in that moment. I imagined diving into deep, cool, dark water floating weightlessly. The ‘weightless’ imagery has been sprinkled through my songs for years.

Peggy:
“Something Old Something New” reminds me of a 50’s tune brought into the now; which is cool, given the title.  What was going on when you wrote it?

Caromia:
I have no idea! Definitely one of those songs where I just write and eventually the meaning jumps out. It’s about the futility of trying to control everything, recognizing the parallel truths being simultaneously meaningful and inconsequential, of letting go, and allowing for joy.

Peggy:
I love the cover of Sunday Land. Did you design it?

Caromia:
My mom drew it! I think of it as a beachy dream wave, and she came up with this based on that concept. I love it too. 

Peggy:
What’s on your horizon musically and personally?

Caromia:
Lots of shifting shapes; literally and metaphorically. I’m growing a human for the first time, so my focus and energy is going into that right now. Who knows? Maybe my next album will be lullabies!

Whatever this magnificent artist decides to focus on musically, take it from me, it’s worth your investment.
Please visit her lovely website: caromiamusic.com to listen, purchase and attend an upcoming show.

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter.
For vocal coaching email her at
peggymarie43@gmail.com

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