10 QUESTIONS FOR
MILL VALLE Y
In Marin / CURRENTS
Caroline de Lone
Even though Caroline de Lone grew up in a musical family, her own path to the lighted
stage was never a sure thing — it took a little push from Mom. The 23-year-old daughter
of a Marin musical fixture, keyboardist Austin de Lone, recently released her
first album, a CD entitled Fingerprints, featuring 11 original songs. She’s a
familiar face in Mill Valley, where she’s grown up and lived for her entire
life, and she’s frequently seen at her day job at Beth’s Community
Kitchen downtown. She still lives at home, with Austin, her mother Lesley, and
her younger brother, Richard. But every chance she gets, she’s out performing at
whatever bars and clubs in the area will let her get up and sing. MARC HERSHON
1You recently had a release party for your CD — how did that go? It was really fun. It was at the
Sweetwater. I went thinking that there would not be that
many people — I told some customers, friends, family
and neighbors — but I got there, got up onstage and it
was packed. Completely packed.
2The CD case reads “All songs written by Caroline de Lone.” Did your dad help you out at all? I wrote
the melodies, the lyrics and everything. I’d show those to
him and he’d suggest a word here and a note there. But it’s
99. 99 percent me.
3How would you classify your music? Imagine if Colbie Caillat, Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones somehow created a musical baby. That would be me. So it’s like soul, rock
and I guess a little pop, because what isn’t pop nowadays?
4Your father is such a musical presence in Marin. He must have been some influence on you, yes? Oh,
of course. I grew up listening to his music. Obviously, kids
are going to rebel against what their parents want them to
do. I’d go to the shows, and I knew all the musicians, but I
wasn’t really into it. When I was in the third grade my mom
suggested that I join the choir. So I did and I was, like, “Wait.
This is so great. I can actually sing!” So as big an influence as
my dad was, my mom kind of gave me the biggest push.
5What’s the most challenging part of songwriting for you? The process of actually writing the song. Because,
for me, it really is emotional. There are some songs on my
CD that took me 10 minutes to write and they’re the most
emotional ones. Every time I hear them I cry.
6Those are the songs that just pour out of you? Um-hmm. I’ll write a melody and write words over it.
I take my iPhone, the voice memo thing, and I’ll just press
record. I’ll take the riff I just made up and
improvise words sometimes. Or sometimes
I’ll write words first. So it’s not like either
part is challenging — it’s the emotion that’s
the challenging part.
7Fingerprints is your debut album — how long did it take
to create? I’ve been working on
this album since 2010. We took a
couple of breaks, because I wanted
the music to be a full story. There
are some songs I wrote when I was
14 on there. Then there are songs I
just wrote a couple of months ago.
8It seems your life up until this point has been all about the music. Is there anything else you’ve ever
considered doing? The only other thing I feel like I could
ever do is teach disabled kids and be a special ed teacher,
because of my brother, Richard. He’s very special needs.
He just turned 17, he’s still in diapers and can’t have a conversation. He suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome.
9Is any element of your music influenced by being around your brother, and learning how to accept
his condition? Not any songs in particular, but I definitely
think that having Richie around has made me become the
kind of artist and person that I am. When I was 6 years old
and my brother was born, the thing I turned to was music.
10What are your favorite things about Marin County? I think the music scene is really
cool. I grew up going to the Sweetwater. And the new
Sweetwater is really great. I think how welcoming it is
here. And also how beautiful it is. I think those things are
the only reasons I’ve stayed here. M