Listen to a new synth-pop track from the Nashville-based singer
Listen to a new synth-pop track from the Nashville-based singer
Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG
Listening to Carla Cappa’s music feels like hanging out with your high school friends. The 24-year-old’s distinct brand of synth pop is fun, nostalgic, and empowering, filled with messages about self-confidence and disdain for haters. Her cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” which has racked up nearly five million Spotify streams, helps contextualize the Nashville-based artist as someone who likes to blend retro and modern pop, celebrating her roots as a ‘90s baby and lover of pop rock. Her aesthetic harps on pastels and cheerful imagery reminiscent of youth. For example, the singer’s recent music video for the track “I’m Good” show CAPPA cruising around carefree with her friends on a summer night, frolicking in a bowling ally while sipping on slurpees.
Today, V is premiering CAPPA’s new single, “Mad About U.” Similar to her other music, it’s an exploration of human relationships and emotions, particularly focused on toxic behavior. Check out the new track and out chat with CAPPA, below.
What’s your background when it comes to music?
Well, I grew up always making music. I used to play a lot of piano in high school and perform at recitals, and I released an album of sorts when I was just sixteen that I recorded at a local studio in the suburbs of PA. So I kind of always did it, but didn't really, really pursue it until I moved away just because I didn't know how to as much back home. Now I'm in Nashville, and once you get thrown into this world, it's do or die. I'm either going to do this as a career for the rest of my life or I embark on something else. It definitely made me toughen up moving here, and made me really go after it.
Why did you choose Nashville over New York or Los Angeles?
In a sense, to me, Nashville felt less scary. It felt a little bit homier, and it's not as far from PA. I came here and I went to a year of school for songwriting. And I hated it. So then I was just already here, and I kind of kept going. But I do want to travel more and have more adventures, and live in a few different states. I'd love to spend time in New York for a couple of years at some point. It's just tougher in some of those cities, so I want to know what I have going on before I do that.
Is the music scene in Nashville still predominantly country?
Nashville is really known for [that,] but it's not really what it's like. There are certain areas, like if you go downtown, there's a street called Broadway where you're gonna feel like you were propelled into the '90s country scene. But it's really not like that anymore. There are so many amazing musicians and producers in their rooms in East Nashville making some of the best tracks I've heard. I've been out to L.A. to write and produce, and I liked the people I worked with there for sure, but I think, in my opinion, the people here have something a little special going on.
Well since you wound up doing pop music rather than country, how did you find your sound?
That was my biggest task. It took me a really long time, and people were like, "Where have you been?" Because I came out with my first CAPPA EP a year ago, last April. People are like, "Well what were you doing that whole time?" I was always doing music, but just like anything else, figuring out who you are and what you want to stand for, what you want to portray. It has so much to do with how you sound. So I got pulled in a couple of different directions. I grew up on pop rock and going to Warped tour to see Brand New and Paramore. I wanted to be in a band for the longest time and it was just NOT happening. So then I was like, okay, let me figure out who I am.
What do you tend to write about in your music, and do you feel nervous about sharing those intimate thoughts with the public?
Most of the time I'm writing about relationship stuff that I'm going through just because most of the time it's my only outlet. That's why I started doing music, in a sense. It was my only outlet for getting some of that stuff out. But I try to approach it in a way that I feel like other people will get it too. That's the nicest thing about it—you don't feel so alone when somebody likes your song. It's the most rewarding thing. But it's definitely scary sometimes. I had this song "Other Girl," and I wrote it about my ex boyfriend who broke up with me and then moved in with his ex girlfriend like a couple weeks later. It was really bad for me because I've had two serious boyfriends ever. I'm like the worst.
And we were still weirdly kind of friends and then I kind of became friends with her so it was like this whole really weird situation...I don't know if they just didn't question it or if it didn't bother them but it was absolutely all about that. And so, I thought a couple people might hate me for it, but those are kind of the best songs. I still listen to it back and am like, "Yeah, that's right! He'll want me back one day." I don't know if he knows it's about him or not. He's mentioned it before, like, "Oh, I really like that song!" I just thought, "Uh, ok!"
Today we’re releasing “Mad About U,” your latest single. Can you tell us about the song?
I love this song. I'm really interested to see what people will think of it because it's a little different for me. It's a bit more R&B driven, I guess, in terms of the way the drums are. The overall vibe is a little bit more urban feeling. But I've been getting into a lot more music in that urban scape recently, so I'm really excited about this. I'm interested to see what people think because I really want to play more with those vibes. It's just about being addicted to someone you know is bad for you. My favorite line from it is "Sipping poison..." Just those two words. That made so much sense to me because I feel like so many people are just like, "Well, I'm going to try this even though I know it's bad for me."
What are your thoughts on performing live?
It honestly took a while. I've always loved performing but I've also always been terrified of it in a weird way, because it's so raw. People can hear you online and think one thing and then...you're literally putting yourself out there in front of everybody to see. So it's something that I've had to learn to like, because I wanted to do music so badly. But now I love it. Now my dream is to live in a van for the rest of my life and play shows. But the first couple of shows I played, I would hyperventilate. For real. It's like public speaking. It can be terrifying.
What type of person is connecting with your music?
It varies a lot for sure. There are some people who love my music that I'm just shocked over. Like once I followed Warped Tour and sold CDs the whole time and everybody there really loved my music, which was so interesting and cool to me. They would go listen to Pierce the Veil, and then they'd buy my CD and find me online. So it always varies. I think that my target listener is probably somebody I'd be friends with who is going through the same stuff I am. Like late teens, early twenties kids who are just trying to figure out who they are and don't feel like putting up with guys or people.
You recently released a music video for your track “I’m Good.” What is the filming experience like for you?
I love music videos. I feel like, when I write a song, if I really relate to it, I automatically picture a video and a lot of the themes from the song will actually teeter over to the videos. But it's also a hard thing for me. I definitely had some ideas that didn't translate the way that I wanted them to. It's a learning process. The music video for "I’m Good" was definitely the most fun I've had yet. I feel like it came across and portrayed what I wanted it to. And it was just a fun process. Sometimes they're a little bit more stressful. It's kind of like learning anything else, like learning about what you want your voice to sound like and what you want to say. It's a totally different ballgame.