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CARAMEL on Finding New Sound and Balance as He Releases New Track "nameless"

CARAMEL, also known as Angus, is an incredibly talented young artist on the rise who is currently a full time student at Boston College and he has demonstrated his musicality and sonic prowess through the tracks he has released in such a short period of time in his career. This week, the singer, songwriter, and producer releases another piece of his creative saga which continues the story of this artist's growth and development into uncharted territory of the industry. 


Last year, CARAMEL performed his single “GONE BY THE MORNING” in the Fuel America Grove Street coffee shop for the Women In Music showcase, which is where I had the pleasure of meeting him. As I recall, he absolutely stunned the audience that night and forever cemented spaces in our playlists for his music. That song is a particularly bold and charismatic RnB track with balladic nature to it much like that of Giveon and John Legend. It’s hypnotic as he loops you through cycles of his emotions. You can event start to feel the air rush past you as you imagine yourself in this epic race of escapism.  Now the newest track CARAMEL has released, "nameless", is a very interesting new vibe and experience as it begins with a gorgeous piano introduction and then is interjected by the stunning riffs of his deep vocals. Almost like a lullaby, he croons us to sleep, and then once we are eased in, he brings in the force of the back up vocals and brings a power to the single as we swirl around into the various melodies he intertwines together.


His other records are marked with an impressively strong understanding of music theory and his lyrics are anecdotal and poetic. There’s a vibrant energy in each song that gets you to close your eyes and truly feel them. His wide range of genres captures the reality of life's versatility.  When you listen to his voice, you can hear the maturity of someone who understands the stories he writes.


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CARAMEL also has humility in the great talent that he possesses. Such power is like magic and yet he wields it as if with ease and with a hunger to still learn more and appreciate those who have listened or support the sound. CARAMEL is a delight both to the ears and to know. It was wonderful getting to catch up him for this and I am very excited for CARAMEL, if you couldn’t tell, for his continued development on this path.


Here is our Interview:


Neelu Mohaghegh: I would love for you to introduce yourself.


CARAMEL: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Neelu, for having me on this call. I started playing music when I was super young-- I played the piano when I was three years old, all classical music basically and then as I kind of transitioned into high school, I was being, exposed to a lot of different genres, from Rock to R&B to rap and started wanting to write my own thing. So high school was where that kind of love for songwriting and production began, and I started making my music and releasing.


So in college now, I've started to create more things at a higher level, having managers, and being able to create all these different types of genres, which has been amazing. And this next project called "nameless", I was more focused on electronic music... I've created in my own space by myself producing and engineering it and this year I was able to kind of expose myself to more live instruments and more choir focused parts of the music in that that's been incredible for me. So yeah "nameless" is very much at R&B kind of focused song about wanting to find affirmation in yourself.



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Neelu Mohaghegh: I love it. So why the name "nameless"?


CARAMEL: So, part of it in the beginning was that we didn't have a name for the song. It was just very much the feeling, right? It was like the first lyric is "call me by my name", and so if this person that we're writing about is asking for affirmation "call me by my name", you need to kind of know what your name is first. If you want to find that information with someone else you need to be able to affirm yourself before you're able to kind of rely on anybody else. And so, we're talking about this person that doesn't necessarily have that affirmation yet--I feel that sometimes that I don't have that and in order for me to really connect with other people that needs to be there. And so I called this "nameless", because I don't have a name yet or sometimes it doesn't feel like that and so from asking someone else to kind of give me that affirmation, then that's a necessity, [but it's also] ambiguous."


Neelu Mohaghegh: How would you describe your creative process? How do you get these inspirations? How do these ideas come to you?


"So yeah 'nameless' is very much an R&B kind of focused song about wanting to find affirmation in yourself."

CARAMEL: So for this [track], I got together a band of best friends basically and came up with a baseline. Started with a baseline with a bassist that I've started to work with more and we're just like okay, there's this musical idea that we have, let's build off of it with a choir. Let's build off of it with the violin and see what comes. But this was interesting because it was completely out of my comfort zone in terms of what I've done previously for writing music because I've had to rely on so many different people's style of music and style of singing and make it relatable in that way. So we're all able to perform in a cohesive kind of form. So it was very much music based at first and the lyrics kind of came afterwards.


Neelu Mohaghegh: You are a full-time student while also producing such great music full-time, and I think a lot of people who are in the same boat as you are trying to figure out how to be in the same situation but want to know how you balance that all out?


CARAMEL: That's a great question. I don't even know really how I do it a lot of the times but for me, I as a Lifeline. I think that I would not be able to be productive in school. If I did not have music. I find it as something that I do not only is a profession but something that keeps me afloat and allows me to focus more on my work allows me to be more productive and allows me to this creative person that I am. and also it's the biggest form in which I can connect with people sometimes being very antisocial the way I'm able to connect is through ART and through music so making this something that's Because music is so sailing. I'm able to do that all the time and it makes me happy that I'm able to do that. Yeah.


Neelu Mohaghegh: That's I know probably not 100% but I'm sure for sure Are there any classes that kind of intertwine with your musical calendar of helped you at least in your career for this as you're pursuing this more and more?


CARAMEL: expected But he more so now than ever I think during my first two years was very much to my core classes I'm an economics weirdly enough very interested in social behavior and what people value basically but two classes I'm taking right now Harmony, which is focused on composition and just learning the theory so that I'm able to communicate some musicians, But something this was the class that I just got out of before this meeting is it's a readings and research class where I created my own curriculum with another faculty member. Yeah, and it's focused on composition through the black lens. It's in the African and African dice board studies on Department here, and I'm reading a book about Soul music and also learning how to use manuscript paper and write my compositions.


"...you need to be able to affirm yourself before you're able to kind of rely on anybody else."

CARAMEL: And kind of communicate that and put that on paper as well as the business side of things. it's all encompassed into kind of this. Holistic view of music from creation to business and the historical lens as well. it's awesome.


Neelu Mohaghegh: I love that. when I was in call or it was high school and I took this but I took a pre college program at Barnard that was called ethno musicology, and it's been basically the same thing you just described like we talked about the evolution and…


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CARAMEL: You can't really put any music in a certain box because it's all subjective but also it's based on experience. It's so cool.


Neelu Mohaghegh: What is your elevator pitch?


CARAMEL: Okay putting me on the spot. Let's see we got here. All over the place. I would tell them that I am energetic and creative and always willing to try something new.


Neelu Mohaghegh: If you had to tour with anybody who would be an artist that you would love to go with?


CARAMEL: That's a great question, as well. I think right now I would say John Batiste. I found that he's one of the most soulful musicians I know out there right now and the energy that he brings to his music is just so raw, and I've just started to fall in love with how flexible he is with genres, with instruments, with all that stuff. He's dope. Definitely big inspirations are Beyonce with her flexibility and Jon Bellion [as well]... any artist that can create.


Neelu Mohaghegh: Do you happen to have any advice for people who are going down this path or in school to eventually do so? They want to be artists and musicians, but they're having a hard time really pursuing it?


CARAMEL: I say the biggest thing for me is you don't focus on what other people are saying around you. I would say it's based on what you feel and just go for it. If an artist is something that you love to do, then you don't have to be mainstream and you're not confined to anything. The only thing that's confining yourself and how you create is your environment. So focusing on that environment and doing what you love. I think that's the biggest thing is really focusing on that.


Neelu Mohaghegh: If you were to have a perfect day, what would an ideal day kind of look like for you?


CARAMEL: A perfect day would be to wake up real early. I'm an early bird. I'm not a late night guy. Wake up real early, maybe like 7 am. Or earlier honestly see the sunrise rather and start creating music with people I love. Eat a big breakfast-- it's my favorite meal. I'm somewhere sunny. And just being in a place where I could create and interact with people.


Neelu Mohaghegh: What is something that fans should be looking forward to, aside from the new single? Is there anything on the horizon that you're excited about that you can share / able to reveal right now or any ideas on the line?


CARAMEL: Yeah, definitely outside of "nameless", there's Living In Color which is an event that I founded and organized and am directing, come February 29th, and it's basically a theatrical showcase of art, poetry, dance, and music. We will also be performing "nameless" and then after the nameless release on March 7th, I will be releasing an album in the summer including a few more songs. Then I'll be recording throughout the year.


Neelu Mohaghegh: What's your go-to coffee order then?


CARAMEL: I've been in love with matcha, but that's not like coffee. I would say matcha or a chai latte is really good, or a latte with just french vanilla syrup.


Be sure to check him out on Spotify and follow him on IG.


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