Photo Credit: @edawaffle
Around seven years old I was obsessed with learning the state capitals. I knew them backward and forwards, and it’s that type of behavior that’ll burn you out once you get to college. Former honor student anxiety aside, today I know two things about Sacramento. It is the capital of my home state and the home of one of my favorite drag queens. Now I know three because it’s also where you’ll find singer-songwriter Caregiver.
We kicked it off with a little divine intervention got into a roadside breakdown, and of course, covered Caregiver’s debut ‘Bathing in Yesterday’s Fires,’ due out June 17th, and more in this back and forth exchange where I learned even more about the capital of California’s music scene.
Kendra: What sparked your interest in making music? A song, album, video?
Caregiver: I’d like to think of music as some sort of Divine Intervention. I was a lazy, drug-addicted, entitled, megalomaniac with no real passion or ambition. Music was one of the ways I was able to completely alter the trajectory of my life. I started writing music because I thought it was cool, but I continue to write music because it functions as an emotional release. And it’s just really fucking fun.
Kendra: Perhaps the catharsis that comes with songwriting? You’ve noted as such in regards to penning your debut, but was there an instance in particular where you sat back and just felt overly emotional after writing any one song?
Caregiver: As I drove away from Los Angeles, Jon (my producer) sent me some rough mixes of the album. I had to pull over because I was crying so hard. I couldn’t remember the last time I had done something that I was really proud of. That moment was really precious to me. It felt like I had packaged up a piece of my past and left it somewhere in Los Angeles.
Kendra: ‘Bathing in Yesterday’s Fires’ deals with a range of emotions and realities, including substance abuse. It seems like today’s artists are more about talking about the effects of such, while drugs and whatnot were more glamorized back in the day. Why do you feel musicians have shifted on this subject over the years?
Caregiver: Personally, I can’t really create much of anything while I’m all fucked-up. At least nothing substantial. I’m just glued to my bed, watching Netflix, and thinking about how much people probably hate me. On a societal level, many people still glamorize drug use and attribute much of their creativity to their use.
Glamorization evolves over time as we become aware of a drug’s devastating effects on our bodies and on our society. When one drug is out, another takes its place. It seems we are growing more conscious as a group and gravitating toward less harmful substances (like psychedelics and marijuana). Seems like a positive step forward to me.
Kendra: With this being your debut record, was there anything that you felt you learned along the way that you’ll keep utilizing from here on out in the writing and recording process?
Caregiver: I would save some of the details of production for the recording studio. I spent a year in a practice space, putting these songs together with a five-piece band. Then I got into the studio with Jon and everything changed. For this particular project, it just makes more sense to keep the songs stripped down and wait until it’s time to record to build all of the other parts.
Kendra: I’m originally from Southern California and didn’t really ever get to explore Sacramento. Anytime I went north, it was to San Francisco for a show. What’s the music scene like there?
Caregiver: Limited, for sure. But also welcoming and full of love. I went to an open mic on a Tuesday not knowing anyone and a week later I had a dozen new friends. People are supportive and talented. I feel lucky to be a part of such a sweet group of cherubs. There are a lot of talented people here.
Kendra: Also, with Coachella still fresh on my mind and all these artists from today bringing out the likes of Shania Twain and Hayley Williams, I’d love to know what artist you’ve drawn inspiration from would you love to connect with if you had the chance to at a festival like that?
Caregiver: KRISTINE LESCHPER is my Beyonce. The raw emotionality of her lyrics is awe-inspiring. Also, Adrienne Lenker, Angel Olsen, and Stevie Nicks all taught me to prioritize my own truth and to honor my emotions through songwriting. I would be absolutely overjoyed to work with those women in any capacity.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Bathing in Yesterday’s Fire’ out on June 17th – anything else you can share with us, perhaps tour plans?
Caregiver: I have some shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Pacific Northwest in the near future! Come see me live buds! I promise it will be fun! Yeehaw!