[INTERVIEW]: URL To IRL With Kingsbury
I meet Caroline Kingsbury at a spot in West Hollywood that is honestly much cooler than either of us will ever be. Her vibe is immediate; she’s in a maroon Member’s Only jacket that dunks on everyone around us and is sporting seafoam green bangs that are more confidently worn than any look I’ve ever even considered. As we sit down and order our first round I’m in awe of Caroline’s ability to make everyone around her feel appreciated and welcomed, from the bouncers to the drunk guy politely tripping over us in the elevator to the overworked staff trying to please a bunch of schmoozers in WeHo. As I start to ask about her life, I keep coming back to this idea that she has both the aura of a superstar and your childhood best friend, someone who is destined for greater places while also protecting your secrets with her life. As I ask her more about songs and process and passion, I realize I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Our entire conversation was built around one idea that has rattled around both of our brains for some time: how does an artist who’s starting to build a digital fanbase translate it over to a real, tangible thing? How does someone go from URL to IRL? We get another round of drinks as we chip away at this gigantic question that looms over so many creators. Kingsbury saw immediate success with her two first singles, “Easy”, and “Emeralds”, and now has been tasked with performing a three-peat with her latest release, “Alone Again” (streaming below). An endless creative, Kingsbury tells me that she has “songs on Sticky Notes” and tries to capture every emotion when she can, saying creatives “do this because we enjoy it” and she loves “writing about the shit that’s hardest for me to write about” because of that creative forward motion. As our night progresses, we start to see the roads that Kingsbury has already started down that will end up being her way to her next goal.
Performing has always been a need for Kingsbury since she moved from Nashville to LA a year ago, and this year has shown a massive amount of buzz based off of a very few, selective shows. She played a near-midnight showcase during SXSW (which, I can personally say, was passionate and heartfelt and very very very good) to a room of people who might not have known her before and left with a hundred new fans. Her accessibility on stage is obvious, from the moment she starts she builds a level of trust that usually comes from artists twice her age. She then played a capacity School Night show in LA which solidified her presence in town through great press looks as well as dozens of hungry industry eyes. Her empathy and personability shone through again that night and was the catalyst for her to start taking real management and booking agent meetings.
Her brand has always essentially been an anti-brand; she’s a normal human and wants her fans to feel like they can still be grounded and infinite. She makes music for herself but also, in her words, is “just making music and I want people to see in me is that I’m kind of fucked up and I want that to be enough”. Kind-of-fucked-up-but-enough is a wonderful goal to set and I fully trust Kingsbury to pull it off. She expresses concern over the success of her latest, “Alone Again”, but understands the process of a slow and steady rise. She’s aware that the Kingsbury project is still in a beginning phase and while there will be countless growing pains, she’s thankful to be in the position to go through them as the artist and person she wants to be. And “Alone Again” is an incredible song that will end up lighting up the way the past two have; it’s happy and sad and nostalgic and forward-leaning and all of the paradoxes that we want pop music to be.
As we say our goodbyes four rounds of drinks later, I’m still struck with how quickly Caroline Kingsbury connects with other people and allows them into her life with such grace. I learned so much about her and each new fact only helped me contextualize her gift that much more. As we walked out of the bar together, I realize that all of the Sticky Notes that line Kingsbury’s walls will soon find a home in the hearts of fans to come.