Laura Thomas interviews country singer Caitlin Rose at her recent performance in Glasgow.
How would you describe your music to people who’ve not heard it before?
This is the question I’m the worst at! If I really gave a shit about what people thought about it, I’d probably think about it a bit more. If people read a review and there’s a certain word in it, and they don’t like that genre, they’re probably going to decide they don’t like that music. Maybe ‘non-genre classifiable’?
Country music has obvious links with the US. Do you find it hard translating that to a more international audience?
Maybe. For me though, it’s not really country music. It used to be; I used to write country songs for years, but now I do it for fun. The meaning of ‘country’ has changed too, and it’s so broad that it doesn’t necessarily mean what people think it means. If people enjoy the music, they don’t really care what it is. Like, they’ll say ‘I fucking hate country music but Caitlin Rose is pretty alright’. I feel like I’m pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes.
You’re signed to independent labels both here and in the States. Would you ever be tempted to sign with a bigger label, or do you see them as more damaging to the music industry?
Any label can be damaging; I think it’s more about building a name for yourself before you sign. If I was ever in the position where I could sign with a major label and not get lost and dropped within the year then yeah, I think it would be fun. I like being able to do what I want, and I think if you go in to a label as a major artist then you can start to lose your shit and your freedom and your sanity. I don’t really leave my house unless it’s to go to a bar or to work!
You’ve played in Scotland before. What do you think of it, and more importantly, have you tried haggis?
I love Scotland; I haven’t gotten to see much of it because I’m only ever here for a night and then I’m gone. I’m loving seeing blue sky here; I haven’t seen it since I left Nashville! I’ve never tried haggis but I did eat black pudding once; I really wanted to like it but it was nothing special!
Both your parents are in the music industry, and you grew up in Nashville. Do you think if things had been different, your career would have followed a different path?
No, I don’t think I was destined for it at all. I always looked at my parents’ work and admired it, and it gave me an advantage in that I knew more about certain aspects of the industry, but what they were doing was different from what I was doing. In a fluke way, I think they influenced me, but I learnt about their achievements more than I did about the industry itself.
It’s a question everyone gets asked, but what was your plan B if music didn’t work out?
It’s hard because this wasn’t my plan A, and also I don’t know if this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I enjoy it at the moment, but I’d like to try other things. I want to try directing and editing and telling people what to do! I co-produced this album and really enjoyed asserting myself.
If you could have one day being any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
I really want to answer this in a good way. Maybe Patti Smith; that would be pretty interesting. Oh, I’d love to be Taylor Swift and just go batshit crazy all day, walking the line between personable and not giving everything away. Her career’s been really interesting and she’s a good songwriter. Can I be Beyonce?? Not just musically, but as a person. She’s kind of like Taylor in that they’re brands, and they both micro-manage their careers. You know that Beyonce has a vault, with everything she’s released and every interview she’s done all in there? My mom tries to collect everything I do in a scrapbook; that’s not a vault!
Both here and in the States, the graduate job market is bleak. Do you regret not going to university?
No, nobody knows what they want to do and then they go to college and they come out and they still don’t know because they went because they were pushed into it. Going to college is great if you know what you want from it; it’s a really hard time to decide where you want your life to go and I think it’s great if you know but we have to stop being hard on people who don’t.