Caroline Vain On The Line Between Good and “Better”
Caroline Vain, an American-born and London based singer-songwriter, is about to release a new single “Better” February 11 on No Room Records. The song was recorded and mixed by Rory O’Connor and mastered by Saw Rayment. The song is her third single and follows previous releases including her debut last Spring, “A Song For You” and follow-up “’Casual Love.”
Vain, a multi-instrumentalist entering her early twenties, has written a song that’s a rumination on the elusive connections we make. Imbued with a deep and melancholic reflection, “Better” touches on the transient nature of relationships. Guitarist Sam McDonald paints lines that give the song an expansive sound, underpinning the tension of the song’s character as she muses on the line between contemplating the past and the vulnerability around pushing forward.
We caught up with her to talk about “Better” and are pleased to share it here for the first time. The video premiere appears just beneath the interview.
AH: Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for “Better” and how it came about?
CV: I was inspired to write “Better” after thinking about how naturally different people filter in and out of our lives for different reasons, and how supposedly, the people who are meant for us will be a part of our lives forever. On the other hand, I was thinking about the notion that everything in life is temporary, and was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” I began to question, “Should we be prepared for people to come and go, and just accept that it is part of life? Or should we be optimistic that just because you have a good thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will go away, and if it is ‘better’ than good, maybe it will ‘stick around’.
AH: You have this line “I’ve heard the ones who are best will stay, that’s what they told me.” You put that upfront and draw the listener in. How did that line come about?
CV: The line references the expression that the people who are ‘meant’ to be in your life will be there for a long time. How do we know who is meant to be and who isn’t? It’s the kind of thing you will only find out with time, and from the narrator’s perspective in this song, they’re hoping that this person will be someone who does stay.
Q: You recently completed your degree with honors from London College of Music. I know you also spent time with the English National Youth Folk Music Ensemble. How did your musical path take you to where you are today?
AH: I have been playing the violin since I was 5 years old, and I started teaching myself guitar when I was around 11/12 years old. I’d always loved writing songs and singing but I didn’t start taking it seriously and referring to myself as a singer-songwriter until halfway through my second year of university. After having a songwriting module as part of my university course, I began to gain confidence in my writing and singing, and started to make plans to release my own music. Releasing my songs was delayed due to the pandemic, however it gave me more time to work on my songwriting craft, and I am very excited to continue releasing music as I grow as an artist.
AH: I saw that the UK Americana Music Association held its awards in London. What is the scene like there?
CV: The Americana scene in London isn’t as widely recognized as a genre, but it is definitely here! You can find lots of jam sessions, acoustic performances, and workshops based around Folk and Americana music around the city.
AH: What’s the year like ahead for you?
CV: This year I want to focus on finding gigs where I can perform my own songs and start to get my name ‘out there’. After performing in my bedroom for two years due to COVID, the thought of playing to real audiences again is scary, but also so exciting and I can’t wait for what is to come.
AH: Thanks Caroline.
Musicians on this song are Will Sharp on bass; Jamie Truglia-Nutty on drums; Sam McDonald on acoustic and electric guitar and piano; Rory O’Connor on piano; and Caroline Vain on acoustic guitar; vocals and backing vocals.
For more about Caroline Vain:
To catch more new Americana music like this, check out our playlist here: New Americana Music playlist by Americana Highways