Having starred in Beetlejuice on Broadway and in the musical Lazarus, Sophia Anne Caruso is now sharing her talents with the world through a more personal project: her debut single, “Toys,” a song that she hopes can “help [people] feel better.” Caruso takes us through the process of creating the single and gives us some entertainment recommendations for quarantine.

You recently released your debut solo single, “Toys.” How did it feel to put the single out in the world? Were you nervous, excited?
I was very nervous to let “Toys” drift into the world. I was nervous about getting criticism or people thinking that I released it out of discomfort with being insignificant at this time in the world.  I released it nonetheless because my intent is to share something universal that people can listen to and hopefully help them to feel better. It’s less about wanting people to listen and more about hoping that those who do feel moved.  

You previously starred as “Lydia” in Beetlejuice on Broadway and “Girl” in the musical Lazarus. Did you take aspects of tapping into a character’s mindset, as in your past performances, when writing and recording “Toys,” or do you feel like “Toys” is more reflective of your own personal experiences?
“Toys” is a collaboration between me and my friend Nick Littlemore (Empire of the Sun) and Henry Hey (David Bowie’s Lazarus). I think the song means something unique and personal to each of us—and to our listeners as well. I left my mark on the song before I was even working on Beetlejuice.

Talk us through the process of creating “Toys.” Where did the inspiration come from, and how did that inspiration transform into what the single is today?
Nick and Henry had a plunked out version of this song they had worked on a few years back before I met them. When I met them they brought “Toys” to me and asked me what I thought. I loved it and when we demoed vocals the music began to swerve into my own style. I left lots of fingerprints on it as you hear it now. 

“Toys” is poetic and beautiful, and the vocals and production make it feel so personal. I understand that you have an EP in the works. What made you decide to release “Toys” as your debut single? Did you know instinctively that “Toys” should be the first single you released, or was there a longer thought process that went into the decision?
I’m actually not sure. I wanted to release something different from what we hear a lot of teen girls singing. You can hear most young female artists these days singing about their angst but I wanted to play different colors than that.  

What do you hope listeners take away from the single?
I hope the listener is able to feel something, I hope that the listener is able to relate to the universal themes in the song. I also can’t wait to hear some remixes…

How would you describe the sound of your forthcoming EP? What can listeners look forward to?
As I said briefly earlier—a lot of young female artists have a very angsty sound. That’s not what I’m necessarily aiming for. These songs were all written in the sweet spot from age 15-18. I want to show the other side of a girl at that age. With all the angst still comes gentleness, sensitivity, fragility, fascination, positivity, etc… so that’s the sound you’ll be hearing.

Is there a specific lyric, whether it’s a lyric from a song of yours or another artist’s, that resonates with you most during these times?
“I don’t want to be alone, I wanna roll like I’m the only one.”

Sophia’s At Home Recommendations

3 small businesses to support (can be local or online)
1) My sister owns a little boutique called Finders Keepers… and my mom has a small online vintage shop called Slinky Lil Thang—of course, I have to give them a shout out!
2) Order takeout or delivery from your favorite mom and pop restaurants. We want them to survive this! Especially our vegan spots! It took so long to grow that community and normalize this healthy way of eating which is something we want to promote.
3) Support companies that are donating their proceeds to charity or COVID relief. Or even better skip that extra item on Amazon, and donate the price of the item that you know you don’t need. The joy of helping others is the ultimate gift. 

Movies/shows to watch:
1) The Juniper Tree (1990)
2) Ghost World (2002)
3) Of Human Bondage (1934)

Books to read:
1) My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
2) Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose
3) Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

Ways I’m staying creative at home:
1) Journaling twice a day
2) Practicing an instrument or making music every day
3) Making flower arrangements.

Tips for self-care:
1) Listen to your body.
2) I’ve been taking a hot Epsom salt bath every day.
3) Allow yourself to be a couch potato. It’s ok to not be perfect and get every day done in a day.

A positive message you’d like to share with our readers:
I’m so grateful to everyone supporting “Toys,” and I’m so happy to have a supportive fan base. I just want to say thank you to all of my fans. I’m so excited to share more of the EP soon…

 

PHOTOS EMILIO MADRID 

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