Caroline Romano Releases Empowering New Single, "Damsel"

The 17-year-old pop artist encourages fans to be their own hero in her latest single.

After 17-year-old Caroline Romano created a lot of viral buzz with her 2017 single "Masterpiece," featuring Jacob Whitesides, the rising pop star went on to share the stage with stars like Shawn Mendes, Kelsea Ballerini, Daya and many more.

Now, she is back with her empowering and dynamic single, "Damsel," which focuses on the importance of being your own hero.

The track immediately catapults listeners into Romano's warm and light vocals, creating an immediate bond with the tone and message she is trying to convey. Paired with a persistent percussion line, Romano's voice soars in the song's catchy chorus, especially in lines like, "I'll be my hero/ I'll scale the wall/ I'll keep on fighting/ Until I fall," and "I'll be my hero/ 'Cause my prince was taking way too long."

"'Damsel' is a song that not only emphasizes girl power but touches on what it means to take control of your own story," said Romano. "Coming from a small town, it took a lot of courage for me to stray from the typical path and pursue a career in music, so that's where I drew a lot of inspiration from for the song."

Towards the end of the single, Romano's voice is drenched in determination as she challenges any battles or monsters that may come her way. With one more final sound collage full of bombastic beats and enchanting vocal lines, the song ends just as suddenly as it began, ending on an airy and ethereal note.

Overall, "Damsel" is more than a song, it's an anthem that champions self-empowerment and encourages listeners to be the hero in their own story. According to Romano, she thinks it's important for every person to chase their dreams in the moment and without hesitation, and it seems like "Damsel" is the kind of song that can inspire people to do exactly that.

Check out Caroline Romano's single "Damsel" below.


Chloe Tang Calls for Self-Empowerment on "Hype"

Chloe Tang talks courage, ignoring negativity, and her rising career.

Photo Credit: Milo

Singer-songwriter Chloe Tang's released her music video for her self-empowering song "Hype."

Tang explains, "'Hype' is a self-explanatory track about calling someone out on their bullshit, basically saying, 'You've got a huge ego and that kind of attitude can be dangerous.' However, on a deeper level, it can be an empowering song for anyone who is torn down/intimidated by people who act like they're better than you. The idea behind the song was to give people the courage to say, 'Fuck it, I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. You're not worth the hype.'"

Writing and performing music at an early age, Tang went to Grammy Camp in 2013, followed by studying songwriting at the University of Colorado, Denver. Since graduating in 2018, she's been climbing to success, sharing the stage with Dua Lipa at the Fillmore Auditorium, as well as amassing more than 550,000 streams on Spotify.

Because of her no-nonsense, down-to-earth attitude and intoxicating talent, Popdust sat down with Chloe Tang to discover the inspiration for "Hype."

Chloe Tang- Hype (Official Music Video)

Who is your favorite musical artist?

I've been obsessed with Lolo Zouai recently. I don't even remember how I found her, but I have been listening to her new album on repeat. She is a huge inspiration because she has such a cool sound and image.

How did you get started in music? What's the backstory there?

Oh man, this might take a minute. I started playing classical piano at age 5 and then learned some guitar from my dad and always loved singing. I always followed a musical path: going to art schools, joining choir, band, going to music camps. Then, when I started writing my own music I knew that was it, and I basically did everything I could to create really good songs. With the help and support of my parents and a lot of people around me, I just started figuring things out. I went to school for songwriting in Denver, CO, and I basically just learned by watching people. If I didn't think my songs were good enough, I went to songwriting conferences and met people who were better. If I didn't know how to book my own show or form a band, I asked people who did know and then figured everything else out.

What musicians influenced you the most?

I always loved John Mayer. I've been through a lot of musical phases in my journey, but his music will always be some of my favorite. It's very nostalgic for me because he helped me fall in love with writing songs.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

Yes, absolutely. More in a constructive way than a "copying" way, but yes. I don't necessarily look at my idols and think, "How do I become them?" But when I'm stuck I do think, "What would they do?" I look up to them because they're hard working and so talented. If there's a time when I'm stuck and can't think of a lyric or I feel really discouraged, sometimes I just look in the mirror and ask myself what Rihanna would do, ha!

You're based in L.A. What's the music scene like there?

I just moved here in October 2018. It's very different than the Denver scene I'm used to, but I feel like I fit in here more. I enjoy the culture of people constantly grinding, writing, collaborating, and working their asses off. It's intense for sure, but I honestly love it. It pushes me to be better, and I also love the weather, so that's great.

Now that you're rocketing to fame, how do you keep yourself grounded?

HA! The word "famous" is so funny to me, because I don't know if I'll ever fully understand all the different layers of fame, and I definitely don't think of myself that way. However, I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who are super genuine and real and that keep me down to earth. I also work with kids as my day job, nannying and teaching music, and that is one of the things that makes me happiest because it makes me feel really special and needed in a way that fame never could.

Is your music—your sound—evolving? If so, in what direction? More in the direction of R&B or more toward pop?

Yes! It has been evolving since I left the womb. I'd say it's all over the place. I have some kind of emo/trap stuff and some moody '90s hip-hop stuff, but I'd say it's all in the pop realm. It's just leaning a little more left of center now, but I will always incorporate pop into my music. It's where my writing was born.

What was the inspiration for "Hype?"

Basically, there's a girl I know who thought she was the shit and had this bad attitude that was such a turn off to me. I've always been a very forgiving person, but for some reason when this girl came into my life, I realized there were a few people in my life who convinced me they were important [so] they would put me down to make themselves feel important. From then on, I decided it's not worth it to be around that energy. So I was like, "You and your crew think you're so cool, but you're not worth the hype."

Of all the venues you've played so far, which is your favorite and why?

Ooh, The Fillmore in Denver for sure. I worked security there part-time while I was in college so that I could pay for making music. Then, like a month after I moved to LA, I got a text asking if I could open for Dua Lipa at the same venue! It was a sold-out show to 4,000 [people], and I got to see all my old co-workers while I put on my make-up backstage. Most amazing night of my life for sure, and I can't wait until I get to do that every night.

What is your songwriting process?

It depends. If it's just me, I start with chords on guitar or piano, [and] then move to melody and lyrics. But I've been co-writing a lot more since I've lived in LA, and now it's very interactive with my co-writers. It's an interesting process to let yourself be vulnerable like that, especially when you don't necessarily know your co-writers that well, but I always hear melodies first.

To me, there's a definite trap-lite sound to "Hype," along with R&B and pop flavors. How would you describe the song?

I would describe it as a sassy, mellow, younger cousin of one of The Weeknd's songs. I think it's definitely pop overall, but it has an R&B vibe to it. I'd like to think it can easily cross over into other genres.

What's next for you, musically?

Honestly, who knows! I have a short term plan: to release a few more singles in these upcoming months. I have a huge pile of songs I've been sitting on, and I cannot wait to just get them out there. But beyond that, I'd LOVE to go on tour…maybe with a certain Dua Lipa again if I'm lucky.

Follow Chloe Tang Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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Mating Ritual Brings The Heat on 'Hot Content'

The band's newest release is worth putting on repeat.

Press Photo

Los Angeles' pop duo Mating Ritual dropped their third album, entitled Hot Content, just moments ago.

Up until 2014, the duo, siblings Ryan Lawhon and Taylor Lawhon, were known as Pacific Air. But when Taylor decided to return to school, Ryan formed a solo project called Mating Ritual and began working on his debut album, How You Gonna Stop It?. As the project proceeded, it became more and more of a collaborative effort between the brothers.

As soon as the first album dropped, the two went to work on another album called Light Myself On Fire. Before long, the two albums amassed more than 25 million streams and vast media support. The brothers hardly noticed because they were already working on still another album, Hot Content, a name borrowed from an Instagram joke gone meta.

Eleven tracks long, Hot Content blends elements of pop and shimmering electro-pop into infectious nuanced concoctions of bright sonic textures.

Hot Content

Entry points include "U.N.I," an electro-pop number flavored with dance-lite rhythmic energy. "Panic Attack" rides new wave sonic savors atop percussion, as tasty rasping vocals glide overhead.

"Falling Back" travels on a gleaming electro-pop melody full of swirling synths and a compact rhythm. Expanding coloration infuses the chorus with radiant vocals and velvety washes of harmonies. "The Name of Love" opens on glittering synths and a pulsing kick drum flowing into a polished electro-pop tune rife with dream-pop-laced textures.

"October Lover" may well be the best track on the album because of its surging harmonics and vibrant dynamics. Reminiscent of The Killers, only with more resonance and dreamier vocals, the song's energy is beguiling.

The last track on the album, "Game," rides low-slung flavors of electro-pop topped by wistful falsettos, injecting the lyrics with tight, impulsive timbres.

Follow Mating Ritual Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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Lady Gaga's Producer Describes his New Song and Deep Kinship with Armin Van Buuren

"The sound, the lyrics, the vibe, it all just fell into place," van Buuren said of the track

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

Grammy-award winning pop producer Fernando Garibay's latest collaboration with Armin Van Buuren was born out of a deep kinship and served as a natural return to form.

"In our business, we find that goal-oriented writing is sometimes not the most honest, and definitely not the most fun," Garibay told me. "Instead we focused on a beginners perspective; where every decision is based on what we're feeling, regardless of what we know." "Phone Down," the duo's latest release since their platinum hit "I Need You," is a melodically pristine and infectious pop song. "The sound, the lyrics, the vibe, it all just fell into place," van Buuren said of the track.

The song serves as a powerful ode to lost love. "I can't put my phone down; I can't be alone now, when I close my eyes all I'm seeing is you," the unnamed singer croons over a thick 808. Garibay said that the track evolved naturally alongside Van Buuren, and that "Phone Down" was born from raw emotion. "It's like working by pure instinct, but at the same time trying to forget that your instinct comes from experience," Garibay said. The track itself, while catchy and rhythmic, is incredibly melancholic. I asked Garibay to further describe the headspace they were both in when crafting the song. "We try to ask ourselves the right questions," he said. "What are people going through, and what is it that's genuinely moving us right now?" When asked to elaborate on what those answers might be, he said, "When we get chills, we know we're on to something, and that's where we want the listener to live, in that space where we feel heard, loved and perfectly aligned."

Check out the colorful lyric video for "Phone Down" below.

Mackenzie Cummings-Gradyis a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.

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New Emily Rowed Video Captures Sound in Colors and Textures

The music video for the singer's latest single, "Watercolors," is a synesthetic feast for the eyes and ears.

Synesthesia is the phenomenon by which one of the five senses is experienced through the stimulation of a seemingly unrelated sense.

In other words, when a person claims that she is able to "see" a sound or "hear" a color, she is likely having a synesthetic experience. Much is still unknown about the phenomenon, other than the fact that it's rare. Vancouver-based singer, Emily Rowed, however, seems to have a strong sense of synesthesia, evidenced by her latest music video, "Watercolors."

The video was shot at the 604 Records Soundstage studio and is based on the way Rowed claims to experience the song. In a written statement, she describes her initial vision as "an effortless, flowing love that came out of nowhere. Everything turned into sweet purples and vintage film." And, with the help of director, Daniel Keen, that is exactly what the video became – a blend of soft purple and blue lights drench Rowed as she sings beside her keyboardist and in front of her drummer's silhouette. The video captures this intimate and minimalistic performance, alternating between long shots of Rowed swaying and singing with the band and jarring cuts to grainy film filters and glitchy, VHS-inspired effects that quickly slice the images into disembodied blurs. The overall effect is one that perfectly mirrors the play between soft and sharp, smooth and rough, characteristic of the song.

"Watercolors" is the latest single from Rowed's latest full-length album, April, which dropped on April 12th. And if the rest of April is anything like what Rowed's painted for us with this single, the album is sure to be brimming with audible color.

Emily Rowed - Watercolors (Live)

Dustin DiPaulo is a writer and musician from Rochester, New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and can most likely be found at a local concert, dive bar, or comedy club (if he's not getting lost somewhere in the woods).

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Daisy The Great Finds Power in Vulnerability

"There is an almost palpable joy that comes from connecting with each other."

Sara Laufer

In one of Daisy The Great's earliest interviews, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriters Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker seemingly just enjoyed the name:

"I don't think we ever actually had a moment of being like, this is it, we've cracked it." After making a list of potential band names, it seemed that Daisy The Great was just what sounded best. Now, as the group has evolved, Kelley told me, "It was more like divine intervention" and that the name now emphasizes "what it means to be vulnerable, what it means to be powerful." As the band has grown (both in membership and popularity), Kelley and Walker still maintain the idea that vulnerability and honesty are what foster strong creative growth. I was able to chat with the ladies about their creative process, their latest album, and opening for the Indigo Girls this Spring.

What is the process of songwriting like for you guys, and how do you maintain that balance of honesty and humor when talking about such heavy emotional topics?

Mina: Our process varies from song to song. We both keep notebooks and text documents and voice memos of different songs and pieces of songs we want to write. We have days when we get together and dig through all of those ideas and turn them into songs. We always start with honesty, and I think that humor comes naturally from that. I think when you're dealing with the most vulnerable parts of yourself, they can also be the funniest parts of yourself.

You pride yourselves on writing music that connects people through joy and positivity. Judging by the current political climate, do you find it hard to find positive things to write about? What positive things have you guys really held onto amidst all this negativity?

K: We aim to create shows and make records that embrace honesty and specificity (which can be funny or heartbreaking or probably both), and there is an almost palpable joy that comes from connecting with each other in that way. To me, in what can be a very scary time, it's not about writing about positivity. Even just as a matter of personal necessity, you have to write about things that are important to you somehow. Thinking in spheres of attention, this album is quite focused inward on the self, which means recognizing your feelings, investigating your secrets, finding your power, calling yourself out for your bullshit, questioning your actions, reckoning with your growth, and sitting with not knowing what to do all the time.

So how do you feel sharing your personal growth has further connected you to your art?

K: It's about honoring everything and falling in love with the questions, to sort of crudely quote Rilke. It's about how you respond and about finding your perspective. Art has always opened our eyes, lifted us up and connected us. It's always amazing when we feel like we're sharing something that feels really weird or specific to us and then that thing totally resonates with a crowd. In that spirit, we hold onto seeing how much love there is in the world, to youth culture celebrating differences and equality, to family, to action, and music. There is hope in music, which is so powerful.

It seems like resonating with your fans is a driving force behind your creativity.

M: We try to foster connections before anything. I think that finding connections through music, even if it's heavy or sad material, can bring out a huge sense of belonging in someone. Sometimes that manifests as happiness and sometimes it manifests as feeling heard. I think there is a lot of negativity circling around us all the time, and I don't think that we aim to turn a blind eye to it, but rather face it head on and take it apart for what it is and shine a bright light on it. When you bring the things that tear you apart and keep you up at night to the surface and put them on display, you expose yourself in a way that also exposes the people watching and listening and thinking "oh my god, same," [which] gives you something that you can share and laugh about, cry [and] dance about.

So how has being in a band together fostered your friendship with each other? Are there any creative differences you guys have had to balance out when trying to achieve this connection to your art and your fans?

M: Like in any collaboration, there will always be some creative differences. We are lucky in that we have very similar tastes and writing styles, so when it comes to writing we have a really good flow, and we trust each other. We try to stay very open and honest with each other. When writing with a partner, it's important to be confident in your own choices, but also flexible and open to new ideas because everyone brings their strengths to the table.

What about writer's block?

K: Sometimes I write a song in ten minutes and sometimes I let things marinate for a long while until I know the right way to complete it. It doesn't really feel like writer's block though, it just feels like the idea needs time to work itself out in my brain, and I move on to something else in the meantime. I think that true writer's block often comes from second-guessing your ideas, so I try, increasingly so, to just write down or create everything that I think of without judging it first.

M: Sometimes the best songs come from the tiny ideas that sit in your brain forever and one day you find the perfect place to put them. If I find myself trying to muscle through a song, I'll step away from it and come back to it another day. There's also no shame in working through an idea with someone else. A lot of amazing songs come from collaboration.

I imagine writing about such vulnerable stuff must be emotionally cathartic as well as exhausting. What self-care things do you guys do that are just for yourselves?

K: Telling all your secrets is really scary sometimes, but it's also empowering. I definitely need my own time to recharge so I like hot yoga for that. Also Netflix and the super bizarre corners of Youtube. Otherwise — singing and playing music, hanging with friends, getting out of the city with my mommy!

M: I really like to read novels and take long walks/runs, have dinner with friends, watch TV, take baths, all the good stuff!

So with all this in mind, where do you see the band heading in 2019. Any drastic changes/events you want people to know about?

M: We're opening for the Indigo Girls for part of their tour at the end of March (28-30), and we are so stoked we can't believe it! We'll also be playing at The Wild Honey Pie's music festival/summer camp for grown-ups, Welcome Campers, on Memorial Day weekend with a lot of other amazing indie bands! The Wild Honey Pie is also hosting a Dinner Party with us at Le Fanfare in Greenpoint on April 17th. Tickets for those events are available now. We're also working on new music! We've been experimenting in the studio to explore what the next Daisy record is going to sound like, and we're so excited. So stay tuned. We always like to try out new songs live, so if you've been to a show you've probably heard some of the songs we're working on.

Follow Daisy the Great on Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Mackenzie Cummings-Gradyis a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.

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