Caroline Smith is synonymous with ‘Confidence.’ So it’s no surprise that her and Minnesota’s other powerhouse Lizzo, over sold their show this month so much that they had to book another set for their fans!
We sat down with Caroline to find out what is important to her in life & music, along with just a few reasons why you need to buy tickets before the 2nd show is sold out next week!
So let’s jump right into it: Gender inequality. Things seem to be getting better according to ‘Faux News,’ but what do you think?
Caroline: Well there has definitely been a spike in awareness, which is great but within the work place a woman is still making 83 cents to the man’s dollar. Something like less than 14% of power companies have women with higher corporate positions and even more alarming is like 1% of THOSE women, are women of color.
I don’t like it when people say it’s not a struggle anymore or that it is a thing of the past, because that is a pretty regressive thing to say. I will say that things are looking up and we are hopeful and people are more willing to educate themselves. I was raised by my mother and she was a Feminist. People were so scared of that word before and there was such a stigma about it! You don’t shave your armpits, you don’t ware makeup, you hate all men. Of course all of that shit isn’t true because men can be Feminist, too. Being a Feminist to me, means that you do not believe that there is any inherent differences between sexes and that there should always be equal rights.
My wife almost doubles what I make, and I am so fucking proud of her. For working her ass off and not only making a difference, but making legitimate pay for what she does.
Caroline: That is so cool because some men really are not OK with that!
Now onto the fun stuff! Tell me about meeting the amazing Lizzo!
Caroline: I met Lizzo when she started singing with me and we have known each other for a couple years now! I reached out to a buddy of mine to see if he knew any local singers and he told me about this girl that had just moved to town, Lizzo! We clicked, fireworks, and BFF’ness ensued! We’ve toured together as well and just from then on have become really close friends and involved in each other’s lives. I respect the Hell out of that lady, she is so fucking cool!
Who else is playing with you guys at this co headlining show?
Caroline: There is going to be an awesome DJ set with Shannon Blowtorch and Sophia Eris from ‘GRRRL PRTY!’ There will be two DJ stands up there and what they do is 1 will play, then toss it to the other, and they will keep the beat going. Super dope!
Do you remember the first show you saw at First Ave?
Caroline: My mom took me to a ‘The Fiery Furnaces’ show, which is funny to think about now. When I got to play there in 2008, it was such a crazy feeling and I’ve made it a point to never let that feeling go away. I don’t ever want to get used to standing up on that stage, it’s such a special place.
Since we’re getting all nostalgic, what do you think of vinyl vs digital?
Caroline: I think it depends on the record honestly. I know people like to say vinyl is always better, but some really amazing records were made to be able to be played the whole way through without having to flip. For example me and my sexy boyfriend/ bass player were talking about J Dilla, which he loves. HUGE J Dilla fan! We were listening to one of his records and he said “You know I just don’t think this was made for vinyl.” It was recorded in the 90’s and that whole digital process along with the feel of the album, it just plays better digital.
BUT! There are definitely some records that I truly love to listen to on vinyl. Like before I came here I was listening to Serge Gainsbourg’s album ‘Melody Nelson.’ That album is life changing when you listen to it on vinyl!
Let’s back it up. You said you’re dating a bass player? Are you telling us there is hope for bass players?!
Caroline: Haha there are a few yes, but sign on early fellas!
Perfect! Now what is your favorite curse word?
I’m so glad you said that!
Caroline: Haha well here is the thing about the word cunt. In the United States it’s looked at as the absolute WORST word you can say, but it just means vagina. Like you can call a guy a dick, but you can’t call someone, anyone, a cunt.
My family is from Pittsburgh and my Mom would say it all the time. I used say it too until we moved here and people were like “Whoooaa! You just said the ‘C’ word!” People get their panties in a bunch…. Right up their cunts.
Fair enough! Now that documentary you did with Pioneer was so great and I loved how you said that you wanted to “Make music that makes people feel good.” That made me wonder, has that always been your goal with your music?
Caroline: Before this record no, I don’t think it was my main focus. I think I was lending my voice towards the same things that other musicians that I respected, were focusing on. I think it’s an age thing too you know? I didn’t quite know who I was, I wanted to be respected because I was young, things like that. I love those old records and I am so grateful that others enjoy them too, but that’s not really who I am. Not that I didn’t put my heart and soul into them, I’m just not that serious of a person!
I’m a pretty goofy person, opinionated, voicetress, maybe a little cynical too, and that just wasn’t coming across in my old records. So I decided “Fuck it.” I like to make people laugh, I like to make people dance and have a fun time.
You seem more along the lines of a Sara Bareilles or Ingrid Michaelson now, in the sense of you can have a voice but still have fun and dance. Does that make sense? Who did you work with on this album to make it sound that way?
Caroline: Yeah! I worked with an individual named Jake Hanson who is in like, every band in Minnesota! He is also my guitar teacher and a close friend of mine. We share very similar music tastes and for whatever reason, I wanted to work with him in a way where he could manifest his vision. There were also songs that I knew if not done right, would come off very cheesy. So in a sense I didn’t want to worry about whether they were cool or not, that was Jake’s job haha.
The rest of it though really just manifested inside of me partly because of age, and then all of the things as a young adult that were maybe embarrassing but you now embrace and don’t really care about. I stopped trying to be ‘Feist’ haha! I like that you said Sarah & Ingrid by the way because they are actually perfect examples of not being “the coolest,” but man they are bad bitches! They write their own stuff, they’re fun, playful, and they just make you feel good when you listen to their music. Sarah especially is just amazing.
What else should we know about this show coming up? I hear the initial date sold out?!
Caroline: Yes! That’s so amazing and we had so many people that we are actually having TWO nights now! September 26th & 27th are going to be amazing nights and no one is opening for the other. We are sharing that stage and playing our songs with one another. Very excited!
Caroline will be playing with Lizzo at First Avenue on September 26th &27th, get your tickets here!