It’s 11:30AM in Nashville but 6:30AM the next day in New Zealand. That’s where country singer-songwriter Caroline Jones has been residing for the past five months during the global pandemic. “It’s just been an amazing, unexpected chapter. But it’s probably one of the best places to be right now,” Jones tells Sounds Like Nashville in a recent Zoom interview.
New Zealand is beloved by many for its picturesque sights, and the Florida native has recently tapped on that as inspiration to conceptualize her forthcoming project and its lead single, “Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable),” which came out last Friday (March 12). The track is up-tempo, sassy, rootsy and everything perfect about a fun classic country-leaning song.
“Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable)” is one of the most traditional country songs I’ve ever written,” Jones admits. “Even the title and lyrically, the way that it’s formatted, placed with colloquialism, ‘Come in and make yourself comfortable,” which is one of the oldest country lyric tricks in the book. Usually I stay away from that because so many of them have [already] been written and are huge country classics that we all love.”
However, all of Jones’ initial apprehension dissipated when she realized how fun the song sounded. The breezy tune, which started out as a joke, received so much positive feedback when she shared a clip on Instagram that the singer herself decided to cut and release it. “It’s gonna be so fun live,” Jones says with excitement. “It’s really sassy, it’s really fun and I’m very proud of it.”
Outside of this single release, the songstress has spent her hunkered-down time in the island country to record and ready her forthcoming new album, which is slated to drop later this year.
“New Zealand has inspired me endlessly because [it’s] a completely new place with new stimuli like nature, the people and different cultures,” Jones explains. “It’s more laid back and a bit more of a small town feel than America, which is kinda like going back in time and extremely refreshing.
“I think in America, we kinda forget how fast paced we are,” the 30-year-old reflects. “So, it’s like taking a breath of fresh air and drinking cool water, you know? Creatively, I’m just inspired because I’ve a completely new chapter of a personal life here, meeting tons of new people, working with new people and just seeing these breathtaking sights all the time.”
However, one challenge the covid pandemic has presented her is, like most musicians, not being able to tour on the road. In fact, as an independent artist, Jones admits that touring is her “main source of income” and one of the biggest ways she gets to connect with fans, and convert first-time listeners.
“I really owe the career I have thus far to touring. I was given opportunities earlier on by Zac Brown, Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney and Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill]. The fans that I have are because of those tours, as well as press, radio and other verticals that we push on,” she shares.
“But really, I feel very confident about my ability to convert fans live. That’s always my focus. And so, not having that, I guess forces creativity in other ways.” With the unexpected touring halt last year, the singer pivoted to connecting with and building new fans through social media and various Instagram and Facebook lives that benefitted charities, “which was really fun and fulfilling in a different way,” she adds.
Looking ahead, while “Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable)” leans more traditional country, longtime fans of Jones will be pleased to know that her upcoming LP will continue to showcase her multi-genre influences, just as previous songs have. Though she has a boundless love for country music, the talented songstress will not pigeonhole herself to just one sonic style.
“As anyone who’s followed my music would know, I’m too passionate about too many sounds of music,” Jones acknowledges. “I’ve never been a traditional country artist, but I love country and it’s somewhere in all my songs.
“‘Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable)’ partially hints at the new album [with its] raw, more energetic and life-sounding instrumentation, but I wouldn’t say the actual melody is emblematic of the rest of the record.” Detailing further, she says the entire record “will sound a little more like what people are used to hearing from [her] in terms of the blend of country, pop and rock elements.”
While making music halfway across the world in New Zealand is certainly not conventional for a US-based country artist, in the truest sense of “perfect timing,” this journey away from home has afforded Jones the opportunity to both hit pause and dream up her sophomore effort.
“It’s turned out to be a great, unexpected surprise blessing of a chapter and I think it’s gonna show on my second record, which I’m really really excited about.”
While you wait for Jones’ sophomore effort to drop later this year, have a country dance party and listen to “Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable)” on our New Nashville playlist now!