1. You grew up in New Jersey but now reside in Nashville. What was the change like for you and how did it effect you musically and personally?
– The change was pretty smooth for the best part. The thing that caught me off guard about living in the south is how polite everyone is, whether that be a good or bad thing. I guess Jersians are a tiny bit more blunt when it comes to our opinions on things, at least this girl is. I was raised to always be respectful, but to not lie; I definitely found myself being a little too forward about some things and it definitely got me some glances! One time, a man even commented while laughing, “where are you from? ‘Cause you’re definitely no southern bell”. I wasn’t really sure if it was a compliment or an insult lol.
2. You first started out as lead singer for the band “The Best Week Ever.” How did that experience help prepare you for a career as a solo artist?
– The Best Week Ever was a lot of fun and taught me how to work with a lot of personalities at once. Being in a band is a really different animal than a solo artist. There is a lot of compromising to make all 4+ members happy with the art, direction, etc. Being a solo artist was a little overwhelming with all of the creative and directional freedom at first, but even as a solo artist, you still need to know how to work with other people like booking agents, paid musicians, graphic designers, managers, and so on. The band was a great lesson in learning how to voice your opinion, but still listen and consider other people’s opinions as well.
3. What was the biggest difference between writing and recording your debut EP Songbird and your latest EP One of the Guys?
– Songbird was a trial EP sort of. I love it and all of the songs, and I think my producer and I did a great job on it, but it was a HUGE learning process. We went into it being like “Okay… let’s just do what feels right and see if it works”. We weren’t trying to push too hard into one direction or another, we really just wanted to take the best songs and make them come to life. It was very much a learning project. When I moved to Nashville, I started gaining more and more focus, writing and playing out, watching other artists, and really honing WHO I wanted to be. One of the Guys is the first step for me as an artist’s clear direction. It’s the launch pad for who Lacey Caroline is and wants to be; how I want to be viewed as an artist. I love it because it was about great songs, but also conveying a clear message to my audience and what I want them to know about me.
4. You have stated that “a relationship between two people isn’t a power tug of war, but a combine of powers to blast you both into the sky together,” and that you learned that from your mother. What advice would you like to impart on your listeners?
– I’ve always been a really firm believer in making yourself happy and finding contentment, and then using your contentment to get to that next level with your partner. I can only talk about what I’ve experienced or seen, but my advice would be to believe in yourself and love yourself first, before trying to love someone else. If you’re not whole to start, then you’ll never really be fully complete with someone else.
5. One of the Guys features a lot of strong female empowerment. Why is this such an important topic for young females, for you?
-YES! I’m so happy that you asked that! Girls and boys all have battles in life; fact. Growing up as a tomboy in a house full of pageant queens (literally), I always struggled with understanding my self worth. I wasn’t pretty growing up, I didn’t like doing girly things, and I liked doing “boy” things like playing in the dirt, skateboarding, and playing roller hockey. But as a result of not fitting into the norm, I was shunned by my class peers, other girls in school, and I was labeled as weird, ugly, and picked on a lot. Now that I’m older, I want my music to translate that it’s totally okay to be yourself and do what calls you! If that’s a girlie girl or a tough tomboy, do it! Be confident in yourself, because THAT’S what matters. The most important thing is to be a kind and good person.
6. You describe yourself as a tomboy. Starting in the industry were you ever pushed or pressured to change your image? How important is staying true to yourself for you?
– At my first meeting with a label when I was 20 years old, they told me “when we look at you, we see a Katy Perry meets Taylor Swift”. I awkwardly smiled and nodded, thinking to myself “Do you people not see me?!”. Lol, I don’t know a point where they would look at me and see anything that screams sex symbol like Katy. A lot of times, I’ve been told to up the sexy, or wear more makeup, or dress with my glamour. I laugh it off and thank them for their advice, saying I’ll consider it. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends on who’s interests I feel like they have in their mind. I’ve always been me, and I think the hard part for artists is when they don’t really know who they are and are trying to figure it out, people tell them who they see/ think the artist should be. Sometimes it works really really well, but sometimes it spirals down a rabbit hole and the artist will find themselves unhappy or confused as to where they lost control of their art and image. With that said, taking in other people’s vision for you is important to listen to because sometimes they see you in a way you can’t see yourself.
7. Who do you look up to in the music industry
-Ah, TSwift easy. I think she’s been so smart in each step and move she makes. She’s very business oriented and savvy, but never forgets about her fans and treats them on such a level that any company could take a lesson from.
8. What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?
– Probably opening for Bon Jovi at Metlife Stadium. That was pretty dang cool. I’ll never forget playing in that stadium and walking around like a kid on Christmas morning; just in absolute awe of where I was.
9. What is the first and last album that you’ve purchased?
The first album I bought was probably Backstreet Boys Millennium; ugh so good. I still jam it. Staple in any millennial girls’ life. And as of yesterday, the most recent album that I purchased was actually the new Alessia Cara album. It’s pop, but I love her voice and so far it’s got some great tracks to work out to!!
10. What is up next for you?
– With my EP coming out, I want to tour and play as much as I can. There will be a lot of shows in the south and midwest, as well as the tri-state area as well. Anyone interested in meeting me, I would LOVE for them to check out my website and sign up for my mailing list so I can keep them posted on anywhere I’m playing. I want to meet as many people as I can and hear their stories, while sharing mine!
Monique Ortiz is no newcomer to the Indie Rock Scene, having fronted previous bands including A.K.A.C.O.D. (featuring surviving …