Exclusive interview: Caroline Renezeder talks about “cocktails and you”

If you’re looking for a project that brings depth, heart, and music that you can put on while creating your own art, look no further. Caroline Renezeder has just released her new single, ‘cocktails and you’, from her forthcoming EP GROWING UP.

With silky vocals, smooth production and R&B flavor, this single is a staple for your summer playlists that turn into fall.

We got the inside scoop on what went into creating “Cocktails and You” and what’s to come GROWING UP! Additionally, Caroline reveals some of her inspirations and what it was like working with Poo Bear, who is best known for his collaboration with Justin Bieber.

Welcome to THP! We are happy to talk with you. First, what would you most like our readers to know about you and your music?
It’s been three years since I started a project. Like most creatives, COVID has put a wrench in a lot of my plans. Especially as an independent artist who had to rely heavily on booking performances to keep pushing my career forward. I took time off to focus on other businesses, school, and investing time in entrepreneurship. This shift in direction created a new freedom in my music. I felt less pressure to make music in order to book my next show, be on the next playlist, or whatever. I was making music just for myself. Therefore, the style of the project looks incredibly authentic and genuine.

‘cocktails and you’ is a beautiful song. We love the falsetto voice and how smooth it is while being layered. What went into his creation? What does the process look like?
It’s a funny story actually. I did the beat for ‘cocktails and you’ last summer ’21. It was originally created as a cult song by my friend Tara Kelly and me. At the same time, I was working with Sylvia MacCalla (co-producer of Growing up) on an array of songs. I ended up accidentally sending him the beat for what is now “cocktails and you”. She came back to me with the melodic and lyrical ideas for the chorus of ‘cocktails’. When she sent it to me, I was surprised because the song was already made in a different genre. But it was so good that I couldn’t refuse it. I thought how cool it would be if the first single from the EP was an R&B/pop song with cult undertones.

In 2017, what was it like working with Poo Bear for your debut single, “Show Me?”
It was amazing. I was so intimidated to write with such a talented man, and even less famous than him. All my worries were dispelled within the first five minutes of her encounter. He really is the nicest person and made me feel so comfortable and confident. I was only 20 at the time, so that aspect of confidence was HUGE for me. We realized we were going to the same church right away and from there the writing process was smooth.

We’re obsessed with honest writing about ‘overnight health’. It’s so relevant. Does the smiley at the end of the title on ‘cheers’ and ‘cocktails’ have a special meaning?
To be honest with you, no. I just thought it looked really cute. I guess it was also a subconscious marketing decision. I make music to connect with people, so I wanted the songs to be inviting.

Who are the three dream singer-songwriters you would like to collaborate with one day?
TBH I just wanna be in the room when Anderson .Paak writes. A gender twist to work with Maverick City would also be crazy.

Image source: Caroline Renezeder via Instagram

What was it like having your song featured in a movie? How was your collaboration with lady driver to arrive?
I have known the producers of the film for some time. Christina Moore is a great friend and such a good and talented person. I sent her my catalog of songs and she ended up featuring a few of them in several of her films, lady driver being the biggest. It was and still is a very surreal feeling to see your song being played in the final scenes and credits of a film. It was distributed by Netflix and Warner Brothers, which makes it even cooler.

What would you include if you made a mood board to capture the mood of GROWING UP?
Lots of colors. Whimsical but elegant atmosphere.

In honor of “cocktails and you”, which cocktail would you say represents the GROWING UP PE?
Growing up is about stepping into your own person and the freedom that comes from knowing who you are and what you want. I think this trip is different for everyone, so I wouldn’t say there’s one particular cocktail that represents the whole project. I think it’s subjective for each person listening. To me personally, Growing up looks like a smoky grapefruit Paloma mezcal with a salty tajin rim, while “cocktails and you”, contrary to the title, looks like a truly amazing glass of red wine.

Can you tell us a bit more about the creation of GROWING UP as an independent project? How did it start and how do you approach songwriting?
Each song was created alongside Sylvia MacCalla. Sylvia is an amazing writer, producer, vocal producer, etc. We started working on the project in 2019 when we didn’t even know it would become a full EP. Just before the pandemic we wrote ‘Switch’ which is feature #4 I believe. Once that song was done, we knew we had to do a project together because our writing synergy was so good. When you find someone you work so well with, the songs get away from you. Either we would start with a pre-existing beat or create one, and then the melodies would start rolling in, usually followed by the lyrics. However, sometimes you have an amazing lyric idea before the melody, it all depends.

Since this EP is all about life changes and journeying growth, how do you stay grounded through it all? What do you do to get through when things are tough or a big change happens?
I am incredibly close to my family. It is the thing I am most grateful for in this world and in my life. This family now includes a fiancé and a puppy that I live with. With them all by my side, nothing seems impossible, even in the most difficult times. I also have faith in a God much greater than me. Sometimes that faith is shaken, especially in the last three years when the world felt crazy, but my family is the one who always brings me back.

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What’s on your playlists right now? And when it came to creating GROWING UPwere there any specific musical inspirations you listened to?
To be honest, I tried not to listen to a lot of music while creating Growing up. I know that sounds a little retrograde, but I didn’t want anything creatively pouring out of me that wasn’t mine. I wanted to discover who I was creatively by looking within myself for inspiration. Doing Growing up I exercised my left brain by working on cases, listening to podcasts, etc. By doing that, when I switched to my creative side, things just flowed more freely. As far as what I’m currently listening to, I’m in wedding playlist curation mode. So lots of fun house music lol. Totally opposed to Growing up.

And finally, what was the most memorable part of the creative journey? GROWING UP?
My most memorable part is seeing the real growth that happened during this time. The project started as a form of therapy to get through really tough times. I had an incredibly difficult time dealing with a few losses in 2020 and 2021. My own mental and physical health seemed at rock bottom. But instead of letting it consume me, I ended up working really hard to feel better. And in the process, I planted a lot of seeds that I now see blooming this year. Coinciding with the creation of Growing up I got engaged, built a studio, started a business, grew in my faith, and most importantly, I feel like I improved my mental and physical health to a place where they feel even better than before the pandemic. Looking back and being proud of myself is, I guess, my favorite part.

Image source: Julia Schweiss

Stream “cocktails and you” here and get ready for GROWING UP!

What do you like the most in “cocktails and you?” Let us know on Twitter @thehoneypop or in the comments below!

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