Read to the end for your chance to win tickets to a Caro Emerald show as well as an exclusive one of a kind money cannot buy prize.
With the voice of a speakeasy singer and the glamour of a reincarnated Bettie Page, Caro Emerald has conquered the UK charts and now has her sights set on wowing the crowds on her biggest arena tour to date.
The Dutch musician mixes pop, 1940s and ’50s jazz, R&B, samba and more into her musical storytelling. Her debut album sold over a million copies and has even taken down the King of Pop’s Thriller from the number one spot in the Netherlands, and her second, The Shocking Miss Emerald, shot straight to number 1 here in the UK.
Miss Emerald was in the process of preparing for her upcoming UK tour when we called her. We spoke with Caro about motherhood, the fame which accompanies success and her vintage sound and style.
Hey Caro! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today. Firstly, congratulations on becoming a new mum. How are you?
Thank you, I’m good! It’s different all the time. It just changes so fast, it’s a new life, but I’m really enjoying it.
It must be quite a challenge preparing for a tour when you have a new baby too?
It is a challenge, and I can’t really call other mums that also go on tour as I don’t really know them, so I have to figure everything out for myself.
You can hear so many different genres in your music, which other artists influence you?
So many different artists, and it depends on what aspect of the music you’re referring to. Vocally I’m definitely inspired by… I could name a whole bunch of people!
The old school jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughn. Also soul singers from Motown; Otis Redding and Marvyn Gaye. But also Beyoncé and Rihanna, or Amy Winehouse very much – and her whole style – Shirley Bassey and also a lot of male vocalists. It depends so much you know?
Like any other musician, I listen to a lot of music, so they all influence me in a way. And other influences are also the music. Swing bands, big bands – you could think of any big band and it would influence us.
Also some acts from the 90’s who mix old music with new, with beats with electronics, like we do. Propellerheads or The Avalanches.
We work with samples a lot so that has influenced us. Portishead for instance. It’s very hard to answer that question actually! I guess for the mainstream probably music from the 40’s and 50’.
What sort of music did you grow up listening to?
Mainly Classical actually. I didn’t really have a lot of interest. My father would play a lot of classical music and I would never really ask what it was.
I do remember that he used to listen to lots of Schubert. My sister would also play a lot of Classical music like Mozart and my mum would play the classical piano. Obviously you go to school and listen to stuff at school. I remember that my first album was by Madonna.
She was very popular when I was a kid in the 80’s. Anything from the 80’s that we all grew up with, pop music. I don’t recall a certain artist, we would just listen to the top 40 I guess.
It’s not only your music that is so distinctive, it’s your style as well – fashion, clothing, branding and your online presence – how did that evolve?
Well it actually kind of starts with the music. Once you want to release something, you should start thinking about how to present it, and it just started with the album cover – what kind of picture or what kind of image do we want to print on it – and obviously with performing you do dress up.
I already had a little style going on; preferably dresses, preferably a little bit more classic and classy. I would perform with a flower in my hair.
So those things were already there, but then we did a photoshoot and felt like it needed to be enhanced, so that’s what we did.
The whole basic of it, very feminine and dressy, was already there. Not in the very beginning, but eventually I got help from stylists.
Are there some favourite “go to” pieces in your wardrobe that you can tell us about?
I have some favourites! You should also think of what suits you. I love certain dress styles but they don’t suit me. That’s also a very big part of my style, just wearing what suits me.
I like high waisted dresses, because they look good on me. A low waist dress would look horrible on me so I can’t really go for the twenties style. It’s very cool and I love it, but it’s really for very skinny women and it wouldn’t look good on me, so I have to pay attention to that as well.
Hats look good on me, fascinators…the shoes are a very big part of a good outfit!
I’m a big fan of your wardrobe, everything I’ve seen you wear I just love!
Thank you – me too – it’s very big!
So The Shocking Miss Emerald hit #1 here in The UK and your debut Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor spent over 30 weeks at the top of the charts in your native Holland, beating a record held by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Your career must have been an amazing journey so far. What is it like being so successful?
It feels incredible and it’s always very hard to realise what’s going on. There are certain moments I know I can’t really let it in, because it’s just overwhelming and it sweeps you off your feet.
Usually when I just have some time off and I’m just having fun with friends, those are the moments when I realise what I’m actually going through and how lucky I am.
Also when I travel and I get welcomed as a big star somewhere in a fancy hotel I think “my God this is not normal!” it’s so cool that I have the luxury to live this life, and I try to remember that every day.
Over here you’ve been labelled “the Dutch Adele” what is it like being compared to other artists?
It is a very big compliment. I don’t think any artist likes to be compared too much, because it gives the feeling that you don’t have your own identity, but I do feel that I compare a lot too and it says something about how people perceive me, so I think being compared to Adele cannot be anything but a compliment.
Obviously my style of music is very different but she is a great, great singer and a great woman, so I can’t complain about that.
Which of your songs do you like playing the most live? Is there a particular favourite track?
Oh it changes all the time! I’m very happy when we have new songs to play and we just found out about this really cool arrangement of one of the old songs, so that changes a lot.
To me the most happy I get is when I can really make my audience happy. It might not be my favourite song to sing, because I’ve done it so many times, but to feel this energy burst and to have everybody up on their feet, on their chairs, clapping and singing along and to feel that energy. That is so priceless you know, so that kind of makes it my favourite or one of my favourites.
One of our favourites over here is Liquid Lunch…
Haha I know!
What is the story behind that track?
Well the guys were writing this song and they were kind of thinking in the spirit of Mad Men.
We have a lot of things that we think of when we find inspiration for writing songs and this time it was Mad Men the TV series.
They were fantasising away about what would happen when the secretaries would go to lunch, the boss was away, and they got a little drunk and stuff, so that is actually the idea behind this song.
It’s not like a real life thing that happened. I mean everybody must have had a hangover like that in the past – I can fully relate to it! It’s not like there was something happening and we wrote a song about it.
Which Dutch acts do you recommend we keep an eye out for over here in The UK?
Oh we have a few that are doing quite well! One that is really interesting and starting up internationally is Dotan. He has a really cool song called Home, which is not the sort of thing I usually listen too, but it’s very good.
Another one who is also very interesting is The Common Linnets they were our candidates for Eurovision this year. I think they could go far!
You’re about to embark on your biggest UK tour, can you give us a little insight into what your fans can expect?
Haha I’m still in the midst of preparing everything, but they can expect very beautiful lighting and graphics on stage for the visual part.
I’ll be wearing beautiful dresses, the guys will be looking good and we will try to make the arrangements as rich as possible so there is a lot of grooving going on, but also a lot of intent listening.
I like to give a show that is both “groovy” “dance-able” and “sing-a-long” and also very intimate. So they can expect everything!
You have the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Caro live at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena on 23 October 2014
Plus you can win a one of a kind, money can’t buy Fascinator from Caro’s personal collection.
Just answer this simple question to win.
What is Caro Emeralds’ breakthrough 2013 album that went number one in the UK album charts entitled?
Closing date: 13 October 2014. The winner will be selected at random and contacted by email. When you hit submit it will take you to the Eventim UK homepage.
1. Entries must be received by 1:00pm on Monday 13 October 2014. Winners will be notified via email as soon as is reasonable after the closing date.
2. The prize is 1 pair of tickets to see Caro Emerald at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena on 23 October 2014. Only standard tickets are offered. No multiple venue tickets are offered. You will also receive a fascinator selected by Caro Emerald from her personal wardrobe.
3. The winner may be required to participate in publicity events after the draw and by entering the promotion acknowledge their consent to take part in publicity and for their name and details of their application to be published by the Promoter. Details of the winner can be obtained by sending a written request to the Promoter c/o the Marketing Department.
4. The prize is as stated and there will be no cash alternative. The prize is non-transferable, non-negotiable and non-refundable. Prizes may not be sold, offered for sale or used in connection with any other competition, contest offer or promotion by a prize winner.
5. The Promoter reserves the right to (a) award an alternative prize of equal or greater value and (b) in exceptional circumstances to vary, amend or withdraw this competition on reasonable notice.
6. This competition is open to UK residents excluding employees of Eventim UK and associated agents or anyone otherwise professionally associated with this promotion.
7. Entries, which are late, illegible or not in accordance with these rules will be disqualified. The Promoter shall not be responsible for technical errors in telecommunication networks, internet access or otherwise preventing entry to the competition.
8. By entering the competition each entrant agrees to email updates from Eventim UK. These can be unsubscribed from at the bottom of any email you receive.
9. By entering the competition each entrant accepts and agrees to these terms and conditions.
10. These terms and conditions shall be governed by English Law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction.