Residing in South Florida, talented singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and performer, CAROLENA has made a name for herself. She’s established her craft from the ground up through her experimental creativity and flare. She has an authentic, soulful sound as an Alternative- Pop artist with a Reggae/R&B influence and has honed in on her sound by collaborating with artists of all genres. Her acoustic, stripped down writing brings out a more vulnerable and relatable essence that allows the listener to see beyond her edgy and sultry image. CAROLENA's energy on stage is not only intense, but also has a very humbling and playful aura to it. Her most recent stylistic and musical influences are Jon Bellion, Julia Michaels, and Sara Bareilles.
“Love You Some You” is an empowering anthem for everyone and we’re obsessed. The track focuses on the importance of loving ourselves. We can’t truly love someone else until we love ourselves! CAROLENA expertly spits verses about her personal experience with dealing with this important topic. Equipped with undertones of electronic dancehall vibes and alternative pop, “Love You Some You” is a sound we’ve never heard before but we’re loving it. The reggae and R&B fusion blends perfectly with the versatile artists vocals and style. The powerful delivery of every word demands to be heard. A meaningful message, “Love You Some You” is a track to both galvanize and truly inspire the music industry today.
Check out “Love You Some You” here and read more with CAROLENA in our exclusive interview below.
Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us more about your launch into music?
My name is Carolena and I am based in Miami, FL— originally from Queens, New York! I’m of Ecuadorean and Italian descent and have been performing and writing music for about 12 years now. My roots and training are in Musical Theater, which helped me to develop my technique as a vocalist and confidence as a performer. I eventually taught myself how to play the piano, guitar, ukulele, and drums so I would be able to write and produce my own music and find my sound as an artist. Music has always driven me and kept me motivated to connect with as many people as possible, inside and outside of the industry. Human connection and experience has always inspired me and taught me more about myself and my specific goals in this field. Moving forward, I received my Bachelor of Science in Popular & Commercial Music in New Orleans while being able to intern with The Recording Academy and lead worship at student ministries. I’ve worked at multiple companies and studios as a music instructor, live sound engineer, and songwriter alongside pursuing my career as an artist. Throughout the years, I’ve honed in on my sound as a recording artist as well as a live performer— which are two completely separate elements, although they do entwine. Depending on the venue, I either play with a full live band or acoustically and have performed at places such as House of Blues, C&I Studios, and The Hard Rock Cafe, to name a few. I’ve had a few radio interviews and song debuts on stations such as RadioX (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and WWOZ (New Orleans)—I have continued to work with many different producers, creatives, and engineers to have an outcome that I am proud of when it comes to releasing my own music. I am grateful for every opportunity and encounter in this industry and look forward to exploring more avenues. My most prevalent and current stylistic influences are Jon Bellion and Sara Bareilles, and have been compared to acts such as Alessia Cara, Tori Kelly, and Julia Michaels.
“Love You Some You” is a powerful track! How did you come up with it?
Thank you! In the past, I was so used to writing about how much love I had for other people and how it affected me, good or bad. With this record in particular, I wanted to take it in a more universal direction. I thought about how people define worth and the behaviors that I’ve seen take place in terms of settling or looking for themselves in all the wrong places. The lyrics were meant to address all of the unanswered questions that people may have in any situation and to handle feelings that may be hard to articulate. I wanted to offer somewhat of an anthem and a movement for what people should really be focusing on when coming out of a difficult situation. My goal for this song is for people to feel like they’re being spoken to in a direct and genuine way and remind them that they are valued and understood in a very confusing world.
What challenges do you face when writing?
The main challenges I face when writing are trying to speak on particular topics in ways that no one has thought about or addressed them before. I always try to maintain a consistent point of view or perspective to stay on topic and actually attain the point that is trying to be made. It can be easy to use a lot of symbolism and imagery without actually directly saying what it is I’m trying to express.
How do you overcome those challenges?
Having a formula and structure to a song from the jump has been really helpful through the writing process. I try to make sure that I don’t force anything if I’m not feeling the track or where the song is headed, and I make it a point to listen to and dissect all different styles of music. I’ve had to get out of my own head at times to make sure I remind myself of the specific audience that will be reached with the outcome. Having an honest and personable approach to a song also makes the process more fluid and natural, for sure.
How do you feel about today’s mainstream music? What makes you stand out?
I feel that mainstream music definitely has its own value and quality to it, but has also become a bit redundant in a sense. I rarely find songs that move me unless it’s artists that aren’t exactly “mainstream” or songs that aren’t getting as much radio time. I don’t always feel or hear the soul in the topics of today’s music, as it almost feels forced or manufactured. I appreciate all music and the energy that goes into the product, but I also feel that artists and labels can definitely be using their influence to touch on topics that are more uplifting and organic as opposed to the typical "sex, money, drugs” idea. Not all music is like this, but much of what is trending is. I think authenticity is slowly being brought back into the picture with not being able to pin point what genre a song is anymore, and being heavily influenced by many different styles— which is highly commendable.
I think what makes me stand out is the fact that I can’t necessarily put a box around my music. I’ve written top- line to EDM tracks, raps to hip-hop beats, and my favorite, accompanying myself in the most pure form on piano or guitar. I know that I vocally have a distinct color in my tone of voice and I try to bring out the best quality that I can whether in a performance or recorded setting. In terms of my writing, I am influenced and intrigued by many different genres. In some songs, I will have Latin/Reggae syncopation while in others, I will utilize very mellow and jazzy chords. Some of my records have been eccentric, while others have been acoustic and alternative. Most of my melodies are very much driven by an R&B flow or catchy, repetitive Pop music. I usually picture the entire arrangement of a song through the writing process and hope that the actual delivery of the production is appealing to anyone that hears it.
What’s next for you!?
Cultivating the next chapter of my original content and material, for sure. There are a lot of collaborations in the works with artists of all genres and calibers. I have been focusing on TV/Film as well in terms of acting and music placements. I try to keep things as diverse as possible with an underlying consistency in my style, being that I don’t like to limit myself when opportunity is presented. I will also continue to write for myself and other artists as well as performing consistently and hopefully traveling more to line up a tour.
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