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Artist of the Week: Caroline Kingsbury

Caroline Kingsbury is a little taste of folk music that you never knew you needed.

Kingsbury is a songwriting major who has been creating her own songs since high school. Her band, which includes members Charles Meyers, Colton Hammond, Chipper Hammond and Julianna Zachariou, bring an eclectic mix of influences. Recently, Kingsbury opened up about her experiences as a writer, including the process of releasing her newest EP, “Honey,” which dropped on Sept. 23.

How did you get into playing music? Did you start singing or playing guitar first? 

“I went to a high school similar to a military school, and they needed someone to sing the national anthem for a talent show. My friend was actually going to do it, so I started singing with her to help her practice for that. I realized that I could actually sing and began doing voice lessons and piano lessons. I wrote my first song on piano before I even knew how to play the piano. I was just playing three keys and I wrote it down on a sticky note. I’ve been writing my own music ever since.”

You’ve been working your debut EP for a while now; can you elaborate on your experience through writing it, playing with a band and recording?

“I came to Belmont, and I didn’t really have a direction with the band. I didn’t really know anyone, but after the first week of school, I pretty much met everyone who plays in my band now. It started a lot smaller. I played a show at the Curb Café with like two other people, but eventually I settled on four to five people who just played with me every time. I started writing songs with a full band in mind. It turned into the folk and soul sound, which is what this new EP really expresses.“

“This past January, I met Sam Pinkerton, who had won the Belmont Battle of the Bands last year. I liked her music before I came to Belmont and basically reached out to her to get coffee and talk. We ended up hitting it off, and we started meeting up to form my songs into something that could be recorded. One day I told her that I wanted to record, and she said she’d help me. She facilitated the whole recording process and got her friend, Drew Long, who did Judah and the Lion’s last record, to help record. We recorded at The Brown Owl, and we did it within two days in April.”

Where did you draw your influences from for this EP?

“The Head And The Heart is a big influence. I’ve been listening to them for a while, and I love the simplicity, soulfulness and how it makes you feel something through their music. I also love Joy Williams of The Civil Wars. I grew up listening to her. She used to be a Christian artist, and her voice is so incredible. I feel like my voice has adapted a lot from her.”

“I definitely also drew from personal experiences. The three themes of the record I would say are home, heartbreak and hope all kind of mixed together. “

Besides the release of this EP, what other goals do you have as an artist?

“I want to tour. Not a house show tour but an actual one. To be able to travel and play all over the country and world is the dream. I don’t feel like I have a measure of fame or success, but rather it’s more like being able to do it and not have to have a side job. I just want to play music because it’s my passion.”

Building on that, is there any other big plans in store?

“As of right now, no. We just plan on releasing the EP. However, some blogs are planning on covering it. We’re putting this EP out there, and hopefully that’s when the opportunities will come. I also plan on playing some upcoming shows, including an EP release show, but we haven’t finalized it yet. Hopefully it will be sometime in late November.”

Can you describe the process of working with your band, and how much influence they’ve had on the music you all created?

“Oh yeah. Basically Charles, my guitarist, saw me play at the Curb when I was first starting out, and he immediately said to me that he wanted to be a part of my music in any way.  He started playing shows with me after that. He also has a band called The Case Study, which is a funk band, and it’s super complex and completely different from my music. The drummer and bassist from The Case Study also play with me. All of them started bouncing ideas off of me. I had this idea of being similar to The Lumineers in my head, but they challenged me to different ways to go about folk and soul music. I think the soulfulness in the tracks on the EP come from all of them. Juliana is also an incredible songwriter and musician. She brings a very jazzy, folk style, which helped influenced the way I write and play guitar.

Kingsbury’s debut EP, “Honey,” is free on Spotify and Noisetrade and for sale at  iTunes, or you can purchase a copy from Kingsbury herself.

PHOTOS: Hadley Sintic

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