Minnesota-born Caroline Smith’s latest release, her first solo record Half About Being a Woman is quite a bit different than her previous records with the folk outfit Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps. She’ll be coming to Ferndale’s Magic Bag on 4/12 along with Detroit natives Seven Birds One Stone and El Dee.
Half About Being a Woman, released this past October, is a feel-good record with a soulful vibe, inspired by the ’90s rhythm and blues. Though she started in the folk scene with the Good Night Sleeps, she feels as if this sound is her to a T. She wanted to record an album that she would listen to, even if it weren’t hers.
“What resonated with me most were women with really strong voices,” Smith says, either the voices themselves or the messages they’re singing about. “Mariah Carey, Natalie Merchant, Carole King, Whitney Houston.” She’s inspired by many of the women she grew up listening to with her mother.
A huge message on Half About Being a Woman, is self-acceptance. The single, “Magazine,” shouts about embracing your femininity on your own terms from the rooftops, in a more melodic way, of course. The music video features women of all shapes and sizes in their underwear or bathing suits dancing, comfortable with their bodies. Her transition from folk darling to a stronger, more confident woman is apparent, and it shows how versatile of a musician she is.
“I think the biggest growth that I’ve seen and recognized and tried to remind myself of, is that I used to be really concerned with what everyone else was doing,” she says. She’s more accepting of herself now, and doesn’t try to be someone she isn’t, even with the pressures that society puts on women, especially women in the spotlight like herself. “Step back and look at that, and try to remove yourself from it. It’s a lot more freeing when you just accept who you are.”
In this generation, feminism is much broader of a term than it used to be, and that’s part of the reason that Half About Being a Woman is the perfect soundtrack for a woman. Smith believes that you can be a feminist any way that you want, that a strong woman is a strong woman whether she’s in the working world or raising a family, and the album addresses that.
After a week off, Smith’s tour started up again on 4/5 and will go through the end of the month. While she’s been touring and promoting this album, she’s still been working on new material. “I’m always working on new material,” she says. “But I really like this record.” She’s been having an awesome time performing it live.
“I’m a musician by day, and I write and read a lot,” Smith says, “Music was a passion that happened to work out. I’m thankful every day.”
Smith plays guitar, but her main focus is on songwriting and singing. She also plays a “tiny bit of piano, just enough to write with,” because she prefers to write her songs while playing. She’s been writing music as long as she can remember and majored in creative writing in college.
Smith was leery at first to release this record because she wasn’t sure how her fans would react to such a different sound, but she’s happy that she did it, and fans have been too. As the album’s title track says, “being a woman is half about being wrong, and the other half led me to be singing this song.” Luckily, she didn’t have to worry about that in this case.
View the original post at Real Detroit Weekly.