Throughout comic book history, alter-egos embody the part of people that they feel that the world can’t see. Whether it be to protect the ones they love or to blend in a societal scenery in order to fit within a sense of ‘normal.’ Diana Prince is just a mask for Wonder Woman, but within that, both senses of self need each other. Sometimes, they blend into together or teach each other things.
Your Smith, a moniker created by singer/songwriter Caroline Smith explores her inner wild woman. A self of inner self that is confident and free to express her thoughts through songs without a typical self of inner-contentment. The journey began with the 2018 EP, Bad Habit. It continues with her recently released, five-song journey called Wild Wild Woman. Here, through a mix of catchy and elaborate songs, Smith explores reaching the nirvana in setting yourself free from expectations. In our conversation, I find a person who is ready to show that her inner superhero are all one and the same.
With Bad Habit, you started this journey with Your Smith. I feel that Wild Wild Woman is a continuation of that emancipation that you have this identity that you’ve created. Or an extension of yourself.
You know, I gotta say, I feel really good. I feel with Your Smith, it’s a little bit of me burning down everything that I had or knew. Then after, rebuilding the way that I wanted to rebuild it with a little bit more of abandon of what I thought everybody wanted or cared about. I just wanted to focus on what’s fulfilling for me, especially as an artist as somebody has to create this shit and play it every night.
With the second EP, I think you’re dead-on. It’s just me digging into that a bit more and being a little bit more unapologetic. Being confident in making the art that I wanted to put forth into the world. This is without being too worried about what I think is going to be successful or what I think people want. Ironically, I feel like that’s been the best of me, so far.
now the reason why I like the title track while a woman because it feels like it could be for any woman or any person out there they could take something from it. I feel like this is basically the concrete for the EP so take me through a little bit of like writing the song.
Well, the song is really special because ‘wild woman’ is a term that was coined by Dr. Clarissa Pinkota Estes who wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves. The wild woman is an archetype that she talks about frequently in the book. I grew up with a single mom who was extremely feminist and she got me that book forever ago and like when I was in high school. I never read it because I was like, uhh, mom, dorky feminist literature.” Being a typical teenager.
Then, a friend of mine was talking about that book. I thought it was still cheesy feminist literature, and she’s like, “oh no. you got to read it.” I took my copy off the shelf that I’ve never opened since my mom gave it to me in high school. When I looked inside, I had never noticed that she had written me this really beautiful note. I had never seen it before. I’m kind of like a spiritual person that believes that you’re supposed to find things when you’re meant to find them. Her note was all about generations upon generations of persecuted women. That really hit me and the song came out of that.
I really like how you took that phrase back, so to speak. Unfortunately, some narrow-minded people may think of the concept of ‘wild woman’ with a negative connotation. When you listen to these songs, you put a positive spin on it. You’re free to express things however you like.
Also, the literal translation of wild is feral. One with nature. That’s when that in their true as nature intended them to be, yeah.
In the song, ‘Man of Weakness,’ there is the part of the bridge with these words. “I hope I figure out a name for you/That better suits you well than/”That Guy That Used To Dance Around The Way He Really Felt” I thought that was a really witty and clever way of depicting confrontation. “You Could Have Told Me” speaks to that as well. Be upfront with how you feel. It sounds like you’ve gained a voice to say what is on your heart more as these projects come into fruition.
You know, I think it goes hand-in-hand with not caring what the public thinks. Also, not writing music for other people’s ideas of you. It kind of goes with not writing music to protect people that may have hurt you or let you down. Maybe those people are still in your life and you have rectified things since then. I had to release that a little bit, too I need the freedom to write about personal experiences.
The most important thing to me is that people connect with my music because they might be going through something similar. If I’m worried about hurting the feelings of people that I experienced the rough parts with. If I’m worried about not embarrassing them, hurting their feelings, or dragging it all back up, I’m not gonna be able to make the art that I really want to make. That was another thing of just kind of another area of abandoned as well.
‘In Between Plans’ takes you on a journey where they may not be a particular destination. You’re just living in the moment. You’ve said that this song came out of one of the best days your life. Not really having a particular plan at the moment, but letting life’s gentle nudges be your guide. It seems like you’ve really found yourself when you surrendered to the unknown.
I really feel like ‘In Between Plans’ is kind of the theme of the whole EP. If not, the whole like the essence of Your Smiths because of Your Smith came about from me just relaxing. Not being so worried about the future.
I’m a very Type A person, so I invented Your Smith to take on some of the qualities that Caroline has a hard time taking on. Being a little bit more unforgiving. Being a little bit more laisse-faire, chill, and laid back. I think I’ve ended up adopting some of the qualities of Your Smith as a person. ‘In Between Plans’ is a fun, easy song that really represented the vibe that I want to put forth in Your Smith. Also, even as a young woman in her 30’s, you know?
So, how does that feel? Do you feel that the lines are blurring between Your Smith and Caroline? Is the world of Your Smith teaching Caroline things and vice versa?
I think a little bit more than I expected even. I’m like a self-proclaimed people pleaser, so I’m always worried that I’m going to upset people. The worst thing in the world is if somebody is mad at me. With Your Smith, I invented this to be like, well, if it pisses somebody off, I would blame it on Your Smith. Like it’s my alter ego and I can flip into that a little bit easier.
What I found is that people don’t really get as upset as I’m scared that they’re going to be. I don’t think anybody’s ever been upset with Your Smith. She just demands a bit more respect. She demands a bit more space and time. People have no issues with that. So I guess through all that, Your Smith has taught me like “dude, chill. nobody was worried about that like you are.”
‘Life Is A Path’ felt like listening to you have an inner dialogue with yourself. There’s a theme that echoes with you saying, “there’s fame but there’s a cost.” With chasing your dreams, you gain so much, but you also lose things or people. Do you feel like the trade-off is worth it?
With that song, I pretended like Fred Astaire was singing it to me while he was dancing around me like in Funny Face. It was a reminder to me that the things that you think are important are not actually the things that are important. The things that are important are family and your community that shows that they care about you. Those people that show up for you for special things like your birthday and things like that.
Grammys and audiences, they come and they go, but what’s important is love, friendship, and family. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it’s so easy to forget that. When you’re living in Los Angeles surrounded by the industry and your life becomes bouncing from the high end of success to the next high. Or even successes and self-doubt where you might say, “oh, I don’t have what they have.” I think with being 30, you start to have a different perspective on that. I feel like that it’s something that is a little bit behind me, thank God!
The song is really about that. You think things are so bad in your life and then you step back and say, “I have a beautiful life.” Life is beautiful. Life is what you make it and happiness is a frame of mind. If you’re just looking at all the things you don’t have, and that’s all you’re going to focus on.
How did you approach the songs on the EP from a production standpoint? There are some musical tones that feel very at home. They feel very born in nature, but also very creative with how the instruments are arranged and the harmonies are layered,
I think I learned by making music like every day in Los Angeles and for like a few years. Not really liking anything I was making and kind of being a cog in the factory of pop music. I got to learn over time what I didn’t like and what I don’t like in music for myself is are songs completely void of real instruments. It’s just not my case in music. I’m not an EDM fan, but I am like a house fan. I’m a hip-hop fan because they’re sampling real instruments and making it their own.
It was really inspiring to me was to use real instruments and then make them in a way where they feel manipulated, grasped, or sampled. That’s was really going for with Your Smith. To make songs feel graded and structured in pop music, but with familiar, dusty, and warm tones from music that you grew up loving. That both feel familiar and home to you, but presented in a new way.