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Caroline Brooks: Chasing a dream

Caroline Brooks: Chasing a dream

Writer:   DANNY MOGLE 

Caroline Brooks is bursting onto the music scene as equal parts saint and sinner.  In the video of her new single “Tomorrow, Tonight,” the singer/songwriter from Tyler portrays a woman initially seen tenderly taking care of her fallen man, but then we discover that she has a dark side — a very dark side.

 

And although the stylish video tells a tragic story of a gun-wielding, Bonnie-and-Clyde couple whose passion is snuffed out, the song is a radio-friendly, upbeat tune about a girl who meets at boy at a party and falls head over heels in love.

How I picked your face out of the crowd with that music playing so loud is still a mystery.. Funny, you lit up when you saw me./We left and watched kung fu movies, and laughed the night away./With our magnetic chemistry, you pulled the starlight down to me./It shown so bright the night would never end.

Caroline, who now is living in Los Angeles, likes the tension of being both light and dark. She says it is not her style to simply stand at the piano singing pretty tunes that don’t have much depth.

“It’s more natural to me to be a little dark. This (“Tomorrow, Tonight”) is probably the happiest song I’ve ever written,” says Caroline. She says she typically writes and sings music that is “edgier” than what comes out on radio.

“There’s already a little bit of  Bonnie (Parker) in me and I think that’s what helps me create that edge, where I am not just ‘Caroline the girl next door,’” she reveals in an interview in her press material.

The idea for “Tomorrow, Tonight” evolved from title.

Caroline was intrigued by the implications of a love so instantaneous and intense that there was no need for it to build. “I definitely wanted a love song that felt more epic and urgent.”

She and songwriting partner Ethan Roberts spent days hammering out the lyrics, hook and sound. The writing process didn’t come easy. The challenge was capturing the emotion of an all-consuming love in a few powerful words and notes.

The song crescendos into a soaring chorus — a passion-fueled promise from a woman to her new man.

I’ll love you like there’s no tomorrow./Love you like there’s no tomorrow./Exploding like two sticks of dynamite./Oh, I’m going to love you like there’s no tomorrow, tonight.

“It’s catchy and relatable,” says Caroline.

It also could be her big break.

CHASING A DREAM

Caroline grew up in Tyler, the second of three girls. She says her parents always had music playing in the house. From an early age she was exposed to the mellow folk of Paul Simon, the country styling of Lyle Lovett and the soaring anthems of Queen. Her dad would often grab a guitar and make up songs.

At age 7, Caroline took up playing the piano. But things didn’t always go smoothly. Caroline’s independent streak began to surface. “I would frustrate my piano teacher a lot because I didn’t want to play songs. I wanted to write my own songs.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, where she enrolled as a radio, television and film major, Caroline honed her performing skills as a member of The Ransom Notes, the university’s elite a cappella group. The Ransom Notes sing everything from today’s big hits to pop classics of yesteryear. Think of it as college-version of “Glee.”

Before graduating, she took what was supposed to be a short-term internship at a talent agency in Los Angeles, the city where aspiring performers go with big dreams of being discovered. Although she didn’t tell her parents, she says she knew in her heart she would not be coming back to Texas any time soon.

“I drove out there (to Los Angeles) with some friends of mine. … I didn’t know a soul there. It was a lonely and terrifying time of my life but it was what I needed to mature as an artist.”

Caroline began attending shows of singers she admired and made connections in the songwriting community. She took advantage of opportunities to collaborate with Jim Collins, (a native Texan who wrote Kenney Chesney’s hits “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “The Good Stuff”), and Phredley Brown, who’s worked with Bruno Mars among others.

She performed wherever she could — clubs, coffee houses and bars — and as often as she could. She made music videos of herself and posted them on YouTube. In 2010, she released a self-titled EP.

People soon took notice. Many began drawing positive comparisons between Caroline and Sara Bareilles, the singer/songwriter known for her hit “Love Song.” Caroline says she’s flattered by the comparison but that “I have my own thing going on.” In terms of music sensibilities, she sees herself more like a female version of OneRepublic, who had a big hit with “Apologize.”

Another of Caroline’s songs, “Parachute,” is heard in the promotion trailer of Kate Hudson’s new movie, “A Little Bit of Heaven.” Both “Tomorrow, Tonight” and “Parachute” will be on Caroline’s new (as yet untitled) EP, coming out this year.

Although Caroline says she’s “still figuring myself out as an artist,” she has reason to be optimistic that bigger and better things are coming.

“The music industry is paying attention … A few record-industry people are now taking me seriously. That’s flattering.”

THE BUZZ

The buzz is building for “Tomorrow, Tonight.” It didn’t hurt that “Entertainment Tonight’s” online edition, ETonline.com, provided the exclusive world debut of the video in April, describing the song as a “smashing single” and the video as “sumptuous.”

Songwriter’s Monthly also is full of praise for the song: “The track opens with a dynamic fade-in followed by a tense, heart-hammering beat. The listener is immediately snatched up and whisked along by the music’s irresistible flow. The imagery of the verses comprises a dazzling mosaic that depicts the rush of life with an exhilarating vibrancy.

“Ultimately, the chorus explodes with a rousing passion as Brooks’ vocals soar towards a grand flesh-prickling zenith. Very impressive!”

Caroline Brooks

 

 

 

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