When you speak to Caroline Kole (or hear her speak), you cannot even fathom that she is a teenager. While we had been familiar with Caroline’s name in the past, we fell in love with her during the recent CMA Awards preshow when she walked the red carpet. Caroline has an intelligence, wit, and poise about her that makes her quite the teenage anomaly. However, when Caroline explained to us that she has been involved in music for half of her life, it became clear that Caroline, as a whole, is an exception to the rule. While you may find Caroline studying for an upcoming Physics test and keeping up-to-date on her school assignments one day, you could find her opening for Reba McEntire the next. And, by virtue of her humble, grateful attitude, Caroline might seem like an everyday teenager … but let’s be real, there is nothing run of the mill about her!
When Caroline was eight-years-old, she realized she wasn’t a natural-born athlete like her sister and friends. What else is a girl to do, but pick up a guitar and give something else a shot?! Despite the realization that she would never cut it as an Olympian, Caroline did realize she had quite the knack for music when, after learning her first few chords on the guitar, she wrote an entire song. From that point on, her music career began to take off. Caroline started playing at the local church fair and local festivals, which led to national festivals. Ultimately, the exposure Caroline was receiving through the national festivals led her to the queen of country music, Reba McEntire, in an evolution that Caroline describes as “mind-blowing.”
After meeting Reba, Caroline was introduced to Reba’s husband, highly acclaimed Nashville music manager, Narvel Blackstock. It was from there that Caroline became one of the few, the proud, the Starstruck Management elite. To put the short, but impressive, roster into perspective, Caroline shares music management with the likes of Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson. That’s it, folks. Obviously Reba, and then Narvel, saw something incredibly special in this young Florida girl turned country singer, as she was adopted into the Starstruck family without hesitation. When asked exactly how she was able to impress the Blackstocks to the level she has and find a home at Starstruck, Caroline quickly responded “Jen, I’m still trying to figure that out! Like I’m trying to figure it out and I just stop because … it’s a lot. It took us a lot to get here and I really like the position we’re in. I’m so honored to be surrounded by the people I am … FOR SURE, without a doubt. I mean, walking on to that stage with Ms. Reba McEntire every other weekend, I have to pinch myself before I go on stage because it’s still so surreal to me, even though I’ve been working with her for the past four years. But, it feels incredible. It’s been a really fun ride and I’m really enjoying it.”
Going on tour with Reba is certainly a dream come true for any artist, let alone a sixteen-year-old who grew up with Reba’s music playing in her home. And, luckily for Caroline, along with opening for Reba comes mentorship from one of country music’s greatests. On their way to a show in Syracuse, Reba told Caroline her life story, including “growing up on Broadway, and being involved in the TV shows, and her doing all of her performing, and then back to Broadway. And she looked at me and said that we’re really not that different, which is so cool to me because she’s such an iconic woman in country music. And to hear her say that she and I were not that different really struck home with me because, I mean, she went through the same struggles I’m currently going through, you know, trying to find the right people; trying to find the right songs; trying to sing the right thing; and be yourself in the midst of it all … and it meant a lot coming from her.” Caroline truly values the words spoken to her by her role model, an inspirational woman who has already had the experiences of which Caroline’s present and future are comprised.
In regard to Caroline’s present and future, we also spoke with her about her current music on iTunes. Most importantly, Caroline’s Money To Me (we dare you to listen to this song and believe that she is only sixteen!) is going to start airing on SiriusXM’s The Highway in the upcoming few weeks. Caroline also informed us that the very beginning of the year will bring us her first EP, which will consist of “real stories” and “fun grooves;” a project which Caroline is extremely excited about and hopes country music fans will share in her excitement.
Additionally, as we mentioned above, Caroline attended this year’s CMA Awards and was fortunate enough to walk the red carpet. While she was not nominated this year, we anticipate her time is coming and she will be a nominee in a flash. Despite attending the awards show without a nod during this particular event, Caroline described the CMA Awards as “one of the coolest moments of my life!” Caroline, undoubtedly, cherishes every moment of her young career and counts her blessings with every new experience, and this is made obvious by her vivaciousness and reported animation throughout our entire interview. Caroline made sure we knew that while she was talking to us, she was “doing all these really awesome gestures and stuff!” Specifically, Caroline explains that she was doing “excited hands” in order to make the interview “much cooler!” Did we mention that we love her?!
Caroline’s country music story can aptly be coined as a fairytale to most aspiring musicians, considering the blessings that have deservedly come her way. So many, in fact, that Caroline cannot pinpoint just one moment in her blossoming career that has stood out as “the one” in her mind. However, Caroline did explain that the first she opened for Reba is a resounding memory, indeed. “I’ll never forget walking up on to that stage and just seeing the audience and getting them ready for Reba. And then when I was through, pinching myself yet again … it seemed to be a reoccurring thing … and hearing her talk about me and my performance to all of these people in this sold out venue, and to hear them all cheering on about it too.”
Caroline also said that filming a music video was a memorable moment for her and couldn’t believe she had the opportunity to do so. Then, CMT picked up the video, followed by CMT Pure. This eventually led to Caroline’s video being a part of the CMT Pure countdown (which is voted on by fans), and hitting and remaining in the Top 3 for the last few months. Caroline hopes to keep the video in the Top 3 for several more months … and, shameless plug, you can help her achieve this by casting your votes here!
Again, this teenager’s life is quite out of the ordinary, but Caroline does her best to maintain a sense of normalcy in a world that is anything but! Caroline noted that striking a balance between life as a teenager and being a recording and touring artist is not the easiest of feats, but she makes sure to support her friends (ironically at sporting events!) and they, likewise, support her at her shows. And, speaking of shows, when asked about her ideal bill for a show, Caroline very promptly explained that she would love to share the stage with Hunter Hayes and Kelly Clarkson. Caroline selected Hunter Hayes because he’s “pretty close to my age, he’s really cute, and he sings really fun songs” and Kelly Clarkson “because she’s like an amazing rocker, and ever since the first American Idol season, I’m just starry-eyed over her!” We jokingly pointed out that Caroline was about five when Kelly won Idol, but, despite being just a tot at the time, Caroline remembered A Moment Like This and sincerely appreciates the relatability of the song. While on the stage with Hunter and Kelly, Caroline hopes to be performing a song with her dream collaboration partner, Miranda Lambert, who she describes as seeming “really fun and really cool … and she’s married to Blake Shelton, so, maybe I could hang out with both of them!”
During our chat with Caroline, we learned that she is an amazingly appreciative, charismatic, and talented young lady who has traveled down a path of dreams and will certainly continue on the road to stardom. Caroline invites country music fans to join her on this exciting journey because she wants “them to have as much fun with it” as she is having. Caroline “loves new friends” and she hopes that she has made some along the way, and we hope that we have created new friendships for her throughout this exclusive interview. There is no doubt that our staff considers Caroline a new friend of ours and we look forward to cultivating this friendship as we trot alongside her as she embarks on the ride of her life!
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