"There are definitely people out there that are selling that angry rock girl thing," laughs Caroline Gulde. "I'm not going to lie to people and say that that is me, and I'm not going to try to sell something that isn't true. I don't put myself in a box, because I'm not all angry. I'm not all happy. I'm not all emotional. I'm not all sensitive. But I am all those things together, but I'm not really one or the other."
She adds, "I do have anger in me, and that will come out in a song like 'Best of Me', while another song will come from being in love, or something like that, and so every song takes on a different personality and a different part of me. I'd like to think that I'm pretty colorful and I think that what I'm selling is that, the fact that I'm a lot of things, you know, and I think that people can really relate to that."
At the tender age of 22, Gulde is ready to take on the music industry, and on her own terms. You don't have to spend much time talking to her to see how focused on her music she is, and one suspects that she has been this way for most of her life.
"I've always been a very musical person," she says. "My parents kind of humored me when I said I wanted singing lessons as child, but I did get them. It was a very innocent thing. I mean, I was never, like, serious about it, but I had such a passion for music, a passion for the arts, I just wanted to be involved with them in every capacity.
"Eventually, I realized it was something I wanted to take very seriously, so I got really involved in high school with chorus and theater and started to find my voice and find what it was that I had that was special. And from there, once I went to college, I started really getting into writing lyrics. I had a guitar that I'd strum on, and a piano I like to played around on and just come up with different pieces.
"And then all of a sudden, all of these ideas started flowing, and the singer/songwriting thing really became my focus, and I was like, Wow, this is what I really love," she laughs. "And that's kind of how it grew over the years. I think it was just something that was innate, it was there, and it blossomed over time."
"I like to say that I'm a self-proclaimed 'artiva,' which is half tortured artist, and half diva," says Gulde of herself. "I'm not just singing for the sake of singing, you know? I think that I'm trying to portray a real person, and I'm trying to really use the fact that I'm a complex individual to put out there to people, and show that through my music, and my performances, to really be able to move people in whatever way that might be.
"I think the 'artiva' thing kind of comes into play especially during my live shows, because I think half of my audience will really see the artist and respect the artist in me, but there's also the diva so far as the performer, and what I want to do so far as entertaining people. And so it's kind of that combination that makes me unique, is that I can achieve both, and still be myself, and be respected, because of the way I can entertain or move people."
Gulde's official debut, Best of Me on Tainted Blue Productions, is a wonderful example of all of the things that make up Caroline Gulde and the facets of her personality. Best of Me is full of songs about complicated relationships and not-so-complicated relationships, and even just getting through life in general, with Gulde's full voice and edgy accompaniment to lyrics like, "Step aside/You did not get the best of me," in the full-throttle title track; "I'm holding on to bed sheets that might be/a nightly reminder of you" in the sad and wistful "Tired Again"; and "Too much of one thing/Can leave you dry and wanting" in the exuberant "A Little Bit". Musically, this album weaves between emotions as much as it does lyrically, serious and sad one moment, vibrant and pissed-off or playful and happy the next.
"My producer Andrew Koss and I actually write songs together most of the time," says Gulde about her songwriting process. "Some of my material was completely written by him. He's a songwriter and producer - he's multitalented. Luckily, he and I just click perfectly as a writing team, so the stuff that we have done together as either been collaborative, or it's been like, he'll have an idea musically, and he'll present it to me, and either immediately I get all these ideas for lyrics, or maybe I've had something written that'd work perfectly, and I'll go, 'Oh my God, that's it. That's what's going to fit for what I have!'" She laughs.
Her producers at Tainted Blue Productions also helped Gulde put together the guitar-heavy rock band she used for the album, as well as the back-up band she performs with now. "We auditioned a variety of professional session players, and we found four or five of them that way," she says. "This band, these are definitely my guys now," she adds.
"They're like the brothers that I never had. They're all just amazingly talented, and they're all just absolutely professional. They're working professionals, they're very experienced in the industry, and they've done a lot of professional touring type of situations, and they're young and fresh and really excited about this project, which means a lot to me, because, you know, having that kind of support is very important. They're so talented and they're so supportive of me as the artist, and that's very important."
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