Interview: Caroline Kingsbury Presents an Album That Would Make Madonna Proud

Caroline Kingsbury © Lissyelle Laricchia
Caroline Kingsbury and her new single “Fall in Love” anticipate a forthcoming album made of love, death, and tragedy. Atwood Magazine is proud to present it to the world.
Stream: “Fall in Love” – Caroline Kingsbury


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Belinda Carlisle said that heaven was a place on Earth. What if it’s just a flight?

Los Angeles-based artist Caroline Kingsbury tells us about it with her forthcoming debut album, Heaven’s Just a Flight, set for release on April 16th, 2021 for Fortune Tellers. It is a passionate record – lighthearted, but incredibly deep. We managed to get a first taste with Kingsbury’s lead single “Fall In Love,” and Atwood Magazine is proud to premiere it today.

Fall in Love - Caroline Kingsbury

Fall in Love – Caroline Kingsbury

you’re standing out in the rain
and I’m watching
you through the window
you got this effortless thing
everywhere that you go 

It is the story of a queer girl who finally manages to open up and accept herself as she is, without filters or censorship. Caroline grows up recording music in her bedroom, questioning her identity and dreaming of telling her life through music. “Fall in Love” combines these aspects in a strong, incredibly catchy song, which brings back to the synth of the Eighties.

My girlfriend and I met while we were both on tour and definitely not looking for a relationship. I was mentally fighting the fact that I knew I was in love with her immediately. I was scared to fall in love again so I tried to convince myself it wasn’t serious. And yes we are still together and still in love.

Throughout, the voice of the artist is roaring, strong and energetic. As in her previous works “In my Brain” and “Breaking Apart”, Caroline’s personality and timbre remain the absolute protagonists of her music. The backing track and the voice enhance each other in a harmony that expresses everything Caroline has seen, thought and experienced throughout her life.

We can assure you that Caroline Kingsbury’s debut album will hit you harder than her synths. For now, stream “Fall In Love” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and get to know the artist in our interview below!

Been alone with a broken heart for (so) long
But it’s the end of the night
And I don’t wanna go home
Fucked up my plans
Was fine on my own
Now it’s the end of the night
And I don’t wanna go home
‘Cause, I never really wanted to fall in love

— —

:: stream/purchase Fall in Love here::
Stream: “Fall in Love” – Caroline Kingsbury


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A CONVERSATION WITH CAROLINE KINGSBURY

Fall in Love - Caroline Kingsbury

Atwood Magazine: LET’S IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE TALKING TO SOMEONE THAT DOESN’T KNOW YOU. WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST WORDS YOU’D USE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF? WHO’S REALLY CAROLINE KINGSBURY?

Caroline Kingsbury: I was born on the day that Elvis died and the day that Madonna was born, so on August 16th. I feel like that is a really good way to explain the intersection of my influences; I honestly think it’s funny that you’re like who is Caroline Kingsbury?” Sorry, I don’t know! (laughs). I’m truly struggling and trying to figure it out like every other person in the whole world, and I just happen to make music about that. So, I would say, style-wise it’s like a mixture of The Killers – which are like my favorite band of all time, I love them. The Killers, Kate Bush, Madonna, Elvis. I don’t know, a good mixture of all those seems like a good way to sum it up, I guess. 

THE OPENING AND THE ENDING OF YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM, HEAVEN’S JUST A FLIGHT, ARE RESPECTIVELY TITLED “POWER” AND “FUNERAL”. IS THERE A CORRELATION BETWEEN THESE TWO? HOW DID YOU DECIDE THE ORDER OF THE TRACKLIST?

Kingsbury: The album was written over three years, from when I started playing guitar until a few months ago. I didn’t write it with the intention of it being a certain tracklist, I was just writing songs every day and recording them in my room. So, when I recorded “Power” and “Funeral”, it was totally like “I’m fucking around, let’s see what happens”. It’s funny because it wasn’t thought out and I think that’s a good way to explain me! To sum up the whole thing, I’m not super calculated, I just wrote from where I felt and let it just pour out of me, rather than be like “Okay, I’m going to put “Power” as the first song and “Funeral” as the last one and I’m going to write it right now”. I’m not that crazy! (laughs) I wish I was, but I’m way more sporadic and random.

I’ll explain the meaning behind those two songs though. “Power” is about a relationship I had with a man. I was really struggling with my identity and I felt like my partner had a lot of power over me. His opinion really could sway and influence me, so that’s where that track came from. I wrote “Funeral” about someone that I had very briefly dated in high school, and that passed away. I didn’t really know him well – we made out one time, it wasn’t like a real thing! But I was thinking about my point of view if he had died while I was in high school. And so the song says “at least we made out” like we can make out, we kissed. But, also, at least you made it out (of this place). I was trying to lighten it up, so that’s that.

Caroline Kingsbury © Lissyelle Laricchia

Caroline Kingsbury © Lissyelle Laricchia

IN HEAVEN’S JUST A FLIGHT, YOU TALK ABOUT VERY INTIMATE AND DELICATE EXPERIENCES. WE COULD SAY THAT YOU REALLY PUT YOURSELF INTO YOUR MUSIC. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DESCRIBING YOUR LIFE THROUGH SONGS?

Kingsbury: Oh yeah, and there’s no way I could avoid it, I think that’s how a lot of artists write their music. You go through what you go through and you have this gift of writing and performing, so you write about your experiences. At some point, this just becomes normal. I think like three years ago I would have felt really weird talking about my sexuality but now I’m just like I don’t care! I’m happy, I’m content with my choices. Some of my family members are not, but I am and that’s all I can do. It’s definitely hard to talk about my brother’s death because that’s one of the main themes of this album. Nevertheless, I’m willing to talk about it as much as I can, because it’s such a huge part of my experience in my record too.

WHAT IS THE MOST EMOTIONAL MEMORY YOU HAVE ABOUT YOUR MUSIC CAREER? AND YOUR HAPPIEST ONE?

Kingsbury: The first thing that comes to mind is when I opened for Aurora in San Francisco. I had just gotten an agent for the first time and I was so excited! This was like two years ago and it was my first big show. Two of my close friends were in my band and we were staying with a really old friend of mine that lived there. We had this picturesque day full of hiking and seeing the city and then we showed up to the venue in the car that we drove from LA to San Francisco. So, we show up in this theater, the Regency Ballroom. I got on stage and I thought I was going to pass out (laughs). It was packed with people, there were lots of younger queer people in the audience, it was really great.

It makes me emotional thinking about it, it was such an amazing experience. Who the fans were and how they were responding and interacting with me in the venue, and the circumstances… It was the first big show that I did and I felt like if nothing happened from there, I’d still be happy with it. This is what I’m supposed to be doing – and I did it! I did great! It was just, truly, so magical.

THERE SURELY ARE LOTS OF YOUNG ARTISTS WHO DON’T HAVE HOPES FOR THEIR FUTURE, AND DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THEIR LIFE. WE ARE, AS YOU MEANT TO SAY IN “IN MY BRAIN”, “FUCKED”. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY TO THEM?

Kingsbury: My intention from “In My Brain” was to express like “I don’t wanna be here, I don’t wanna be where I was, and I don’t feel secure about my future. So, what do I do?”. The space between all of those things is sort of what “In My Brain” was about. Actually, I’m a very hopeful person, and I do believe things can get better. I think that there is hope, the fact that I can live an openly queer life and make music about it and I’m safe is a huge accomplishment for life. Things can change and get better, it’s up to us to enact that change… But also it’s okay to be fucking sad! Just be fucking sad if you want to be sad, feel what you need to feel. Life is so hard, life is so short. Just love the people around you. 

You can only do what you’re going to do; you can’t be the expectations of your parents and whatever. You’re you, and you need to do what makes you happy because you’re going to be the only one left at the end of this – it’s just you.

YOUR AESTHETIC IS DEFINITELY INSPIRED BUT THE EIGHTIES. IT’S THAT KIND OF MUSIC THAT COULD BE A PERFECT SOUNDTRACK FOR ''SAN JUNIPERO'' FROM BLACK MIRROR. WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO MAKE THIS DECADE YOURS? IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU PARTICULARLY MISS FROM THAT PERIOD?

Kingsbury: Yes, I loved just how bold people were with fashion. It wasn’t about being cool, it was just about being loud, having a loud outfit, loud hair, etc. You’re just like taking everything on the inside and putting it on the outside. I just love the glamour of it and how it was connected to the new wave genre. So I feel like I gravitate towards the new wave style musically and including in hairstyle and stuff. It just felt so fun to be able to be like “I’m gonna do this, I don’t give a damn about what you think, I know I look ridiculous but I feel amazing!” That’s what I want to do, I don’t care, I love it!

WHICH SONGS FROM THE ALBUM ARE YOU MOST FOND OF AND WHY?

Kingsbury: The title track. I love that song, I wrote it one year ago, right before my brother passed away. I had found out that he wasn’t much stronger but we didn’t know the specifics at that point. I had a writing session with Matt Bishop. I knew that he would be able to get the sounds that I wanted, we got in there and we just wrote it quickly. It felt so good to write in the middle of the intense pain of the fact that we knew my brother’s going to die. I wanted to write a song like tongue-in-cheek about death, though. My brother was sarcastic, dry, and funny. He’s the best. So, the song is like “Heaven’s just a flight literally over and over again, I wanted to write a song that I would be able to play live while jumping up and down. 

Another song I love is “Hero”. It was written when quarantine started and I was deep in grief for my brother. I had in mind an 80s kind of ballad, my girlfriend threw some guitar on it and it just felt like magic. I wanted to write a song about how you are your own hero and no one else can be that for you. I’m really proud of that one, it was good. One more; “Kissing Someone Else”! It’s like my Madonna pop moment of the album. It’s the hit song, I hope it is. I am really proud of it, it was so fun to write and it’s so fun to perform! There’s also this choreographed dance that I do when I play it live. I don’t really have an emotional reason why I love it, I just love performing it.

WHAT ABOUT ''FALL IN LOVE''?

Kingsbury: I do love “Fall In Love”! I wrote that song about a year ago and it’s a true story about how I was feeling when my girlfriend and I started dating. I was super freaked out to fall in love, I had just come out of a wild period of my life where I didn’t want to be in a relationship, I was terrified of that. Then I met her, she was in the band that I was opening for. We just had this like thing on tour, then it turned into a relationship – and now we live together. I never wanted to fall in love though, that’s what the whole song was about, I was never looking for it.

Caroline Kingsbury © Lissyelle Laricchia

Caroline Kingsbury © Lissyelle Laricchia

 

WHAT’S THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND YOUR SONGS? HAS YOUR WRITING CHANGED THROUGH THE YEARS?

Kingsbury: I began using GarageBand, a very basic software I started writing the album on. I had used that in high school and then I upgraded to Logic, which is like the professional version of that. For a couple of years, I would just sit down and write every day, and write and record at the same time, just to make a demo. In terms of lyrics, I write a journal but I also have notes on my phone. You just gather random shit, sit down, start writing a song, and then you can pull from that. I think the biggest difference between three years ago and now it’s just I have more confidence in my sound and in the choices that I’ve made, like the ’80s sounds.

I know what those things are and I’ve been doing it longer, so I know more about recording and I know more about my process and what I want. It comes with time and experience, definitely.  Now me and my girlfriend have a really nice studio in our house, and it’s like the first time I’ve ever had a nice studio! But yes, I think the biggest difference, to sum it up, is that I have more confidence from three years ago in my abilities as a performer, a writer, and a guitarist. As a producer, as well! Confidence can really change things. 

— —

:: stream/purchase Fall in Love here::
Stream: “Fall in Love” – Caroline Kingsbury


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"Music is for my ears, lyrics are for my tattoos" -me, 2020