The inspiration behind “Not A Rolling Stone” was to not forget that all the bad days make the good ones that much better, to never stole believing that “you got this!” My songwriting process is different with every song depending on who I’m writing with and where I am, but I always like to pin down the idea and intention of the song first. I think it makes the words and melody flow way easier! It feels Incredible to finally have my debut single out, it has made me so excited for the future and to release more music.
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We all must face the world on our own eventually. For Nashville-based singer-songwriter Caroline Marquard, that time is now. She stares down uncertainty and reclaims her own throne on a thunderous, boot-scootin’ new single called “Not a Rolling Stone,” in which she digs her heels into the earth and lets out a trembling roar. It’s the first taste of a whole swatch of new music coming soon, and while it adheres to trusty Nashville craftsmanship, it is uniquely from her perspective.
Already, she has achieved what many newcomers never do. She scored the theme song, called “Magic Moments,” for the 2015 Street Parade in Zurich and played the Love & Acceptance event at the 2017 CMA Fest in downtown Nashville. Meanwhile, she previously landed a cut with Greg Adams called “I’ll Be Waiting” (which earned major play on Lightning 100) and a cut with Canadian artist Brittany Brodie called “I Do,” gaining quite a bit of traction on radio. On the upcoming Bastian Baker, a self-titled release, Marquard landed two cuts. Not too shabby for such a up and coming talent.
Co-written with Chris Seefried, known for fronting such bands as Gods Child, Low Stars and Joe 90 and producing Fitz & the Tantrums, “Not a Rolling Stone” flips the script of what you might come to expect. “The lyrics were originally ‘You’re my rock when I’m a Rolling Stone,’ and Chris said, ‘Hey, why don’t we make this more self-assured and empowering?’” remembers Marquard. “I love that I came in with an idea about needing someone else to keep me grounded, and it turned into a song about believing in yourself even through all that’s ungrounded.”
From the epic clashing of guitars, amidst a flurry of percussion, the fist-pumping anthem sits comfortably between classic pop and mainstream country. Marquard’s voice rocks steady, and there’s never a moment of hesitation on her part. She’s steely and determined, and all the bad times have simply thickened her skin for a destiny of superstardom. “The music is not so much about what box it fits in as the feeling it gives you,” she says.
“Time has taught me a thing or two / That I’ve got nothing to prove,” Marquard vows over lush dusting of strings and a guitar’s tearful wail. The promising newcomer is as modern as she is throwback, culling together such influences as Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, Maren Morris and Faith Hill. Alongside esteemed producers Jordan Lehning (Kacey Musgraves, Andrew Combs) and Jase Blankfort (Ed Sheeran, Heather Brave), she wields biting insight through a rose-colored lens, both bitter and sweet. “Jase and Jordan got my vision and are some of the most talented guys I know,” she says.
Over the span of a year, Marquard recorded 17 songs, and Nashville’s Sound Emporium proved to be the prime backdrop. The new batch of music brings together some of the city’s finest musicians, including Ian Fitchuk (Ruston Kelly, Caitlyn Smith), Eli Beaird (Niall Horan, Steve Moakler), Todd Lombardo (David Nail, Zac Brown Band), Kris Donegan (Brett Eldredge, Old Dominion) and Dave Cohen (Chris Young, Jon Pardi). Such a tremendous pedigree serves Marquard’s talent quite well and permits her to soar higher than she could otherwise. “I could not have asked for more talented people to lend their voice and experience to my music. They really brought it to a whole new level,” she says.
In her youth, Marquard was also exposed to such trailblazers as Shania Twain, Randy Travis, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum. She plants her feet firmly in the same pop-country soundscape, while carving out her own path. Her roots run just as far and wide, too. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, she came to call many places home over the years, spending her summers with her father in Switzerland and spending the rest of the year with her mother in New York and Florida. “Each place helped make me who I am. Now, I really attach myself more to my family and friends and call them home rather than a place,” she reflects. “I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to see the world and travel to so many places at just 22. Getting to experience different cultures and ways of life definitely widens my horizons.”
With a brother and as part of a triplet of girls, Marquard was immersed in music culture right from the start. “My mom has the most beautiful angelic voice, and I grew up singing with her in the car.” It quickly became second nature to bust out a song, and when she began to take music a bit more seriously — first picking up the harp and later the guitar — she had a wealth of co-writers at her fingertips. But it wasn’t until she was 13 that songcraft really clicked into place. She then began playing those diary confessions out about town, slowly but surely honing her live skills in the process.
In her junior year of high school, Marquard moved to New York City and attended Professional Children’s School. Later, she attended Berklee College of Music for one semester, and it was quickly evident that her talents were best utilized outside the classroom walls. “My parents raised me to always follow my dreams and to do what makes me happy — to know that happiness doesn’t come from reaching a goal. It comes from truly enjoying the journey,” she ponders. “I’ve watched them live their best lives by taking the road less traveled and making hard sacrifices.”
When she made the tough choice to live her best life and leave college behind, she moved back to Switzerland to get her head together and focus on the music. Teaming up with producer Roman Camenzind (Adrian Stern, Lovebugs) allowed her to explore, take risks and fail without fear. Later, she returned to the states to continue dabbling in various styles and link up with singers, songwriters and musicians in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, which would soon become her new-found home. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else but here and in country music,” she says.
To say she’s finally found her voice is an understatement. In pouring her heart out in the studio, Marquard stands victorious with a gleam in her eye. She’s also learned a thing or two about herself throughout the process. “I found out how important having patience and grace with yourself is. Perfection is impossible, and recorded music is just a picture of a moment in time,” she says. “I learned how much I love being involved and getting my hands dirty.”
“Not a Rolling Stone” is the tip of the iceberg of a much grander picture, and Marquard is positioning herself as an undeniable force to be reckoned with.