Caroline Marie Brooks (of Good Lovelies) has released Vitamin, a beautiful new track on the passing of time and celebrating the small, magical moments in our everyday lives.
“Vitamin seeks to find beauty in the mundane day-to-day and the messiness of life in general, but particularly with young children,” says Caroline. “There’s nothing more than this, truly, and I’m trying to hold on for dear life as the years are rushing by. It’s perfect.”
Vitamin is the lead single from Caroline’s debut solo album Everything at the Same Time. We caught up with her to discuss the importance of family and slowing down to appreciate what we often take for granted.
There’s such a dreaminess to the track Vitamin, turning the mundane of day-to-day life into something magical. I love it when songwriters find something special in simple things. How did you go about writing the lyrics for Vitamin?
The first few verses of this song are what I like to call a songwriting “gift” in that they came swiftly and almost without thought. I love it when that happens, when the lyrics spill out of you and you’re led somewhere without overthinking it. This is not a deeply metaphorically song lyrically, so once the plain language tone was set, I continued to explore the idea of perfection and as you said, the “magic” of the mundane. I feel that the boredom and bliss of loving and living with young children can be perfect. I hope that comes across in this song.
Did writing this song help you see your day-to-day life with new eyes?
That’s a great question and I’ve never thought about it in that way, but yes, most of my songwriting helps me gain perspective on my own experiences. Vitamin is definitely very personal, and I will be able to look back at this time through this song. In one of the later verses I mention marking my kids’ heights on the door frame. To me songs are like the lines on the wood; marking a specific space and time.
You’ve been writing your solo music while drawing inspiration from being in a tight-knit family. You can hear these themes play out beautifully in Vitamin. When talking about the song, you’ve said, “There’s nothing more than this, truly, and I’m trying to hold on for dear life as the years are rushing by.” What advice would you give to others who need to take some time to slow down and enjoy the moments they have?
I’m not sure I have any to give, and would gladly take any advice on how to slow the years down! I have been trying to carve out more time with my family without distraction or screens, frankly. Just sitting and playing lego or cars or Uno with my family (I’m so sick of Uno) or drawing. Almost everyone I know feels this sense of time rushing by, and to be honest one of the reasons I wanted to make this record was to capture this specific time of our lives. That’s a way, I suppose, that I’ve been trying to slow this all down.
While it’s a very laid-back song, the production elements in Vitamin help add to the dreaminess. What was it like collaborating with co-producer Jim Bryson and all the instrumentalists on this track?
I love working with Jim. We’ve collaborated on projects for many years and when I decided to make this record Jim was the natural choice for a co-producer, as he is an incredible musician and understands my sound aesthetic. We spent a lot of time chasing sounds either through instrumentation and mic choice/placement, and we hit the jackpot on this song when I decided to switch from acoustic to tenor guitar. It gives an open-dreaminess to the track that really suits.
Vitamin is very special to me and features my mom (Joy Brooks) and sister (Katherine McKenzie) on backing vocals, as well as a group of very special friends who really brought Vitamin to the next level. Christine Bougie’s layered lap steel, Jim Bryson’s dark acoustic guitar and Josh Van Tassel’s percussion are so integral to the track. Because of COVID, we weren’t able to have many in-person sessions, but I was able to sit outside of Ben Whiteley’s studio, in my parka with a toque and headphones on (in February!) as he tracked his bass. That’s a memory I’ll never forget!
You’re currently working on your debut solo album Everything at the Same Time. What can listeners expect from the new music?
I decided about a year ago that I would write and record an album in celebration of my 40th birthday this July. And here we are! Making this album has been one of my life’s great joys – I was able to collaborate with people that I love, explore sounds and instrumentation that are deeply satisfying to me, and express myself in a true and honest way. I’ve also, with the help of my friend and co-producer Jim Bryson, learned a lot about the recording and editing process, and feel empowered to move forward with these new skills in my life as an artist and a member of my band Good Lovelies.
The album will be coming out over the next few months and I’m really excited to share these songs with the world.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Just that I’m extremely grateful that I was able to make music during the pandemic. It’s been such a challenging time for musicians, and having this project has given me a sense of purpose. I’m also deeply thankful to Kerri Ough and Susan Passmore, my best friends and collaborators in Good Lovelies for giving me the space and time to explore this intensely personal project.
Listen to Vitamin here.
Connect with Caroline Marie Brooks