Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday March 20th 2019


Hangout Fest ’18—In Full Bloom

By Jennie McKeon

Songwriting doesn’t always have to be introspective and serious.

Just ask Caroline Rose.

The 28-year-old Vermont musician can write about greed, loneliness or an unplanned pregnancy with a sense of humor and a wink.

“Early on, I was only showcasing a part of my personality, and I was so intently focused on being taken seriously as a songwriter,” she said while taking a break from her tour at her parent’s house. “I just got tired of that. There’s a lot of people who are just elitist musicians, and it just makes me cringe.”

Rose has been writing songs and picking up instruments since she was an early teen. In February, she released her sophomore album, “Loner,” for which she wrote and arranged every song.

“It’s pretty dreamy,” she said of her burgeoning musical success.

Rose said her songwriting inspiration comes from her love of films. Her favorite filmmakers are Pedro Almodóvar and David Lynch. She also credits Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez for inspiring her brand of storytelling. Even her music videos have a film-like quality, in which Rose plays all the characters.

She said she’d love to write the score for a movie one day, but she’s focused on what she’s doing right now. And right now, she’s in the middle of a tour.

With a healthy repertoire of songs, Rose said it can be hard to choose what goes on the set list. Unlike some artists who feel uncomfortable listening to their own music, Rose unapologetically said she enjoys listening to hers.

“It takes so much time writing the songs, I get pleasure in hearing them,” she said.

“Loner” itself is a pretty diverse mix of songs.

“My songs aren’t always constant,” Rose said. “I get mood swings like everyone else does.”

One song that stands out to Rose, “To Die Today,” is unlike some of her other songs. The lyrics are a little bit darker. “Gonna burn your party to the ground along with all my memories of you before they fade out,” she sings. The song is a good soundtrack for just walking around, Rose said.

“It makes me feel really powerful,” she added.

For the stage, Rose opts for songs that are “vibrant, energetic and have electricity,” like “Money,” a post-punk anthem in which she chants “we did it for the money!”

But her shows aren’t just about sound. Rose said she puts careful consideration into her set to make it an “immersive experience.”

“I think I’m just a firm believer in the visual experience,” she said. “I like decorating the stage and making it feel like the inside of my brain. I like taking the time to be funny and tell stories—make it more personable.”

Before she heads to her Midwest dates, Rose said she’s excited to take her show to the beach.

“I’ll have to bring my swimsuit,” she said with a laugh.

4:15-5 p.m. Friday
Mermaid Stage