About the Author
Ceillie Simkiss is a journalist from Raleigh, North Carolina and a 2015 graduate from Western Carolina University’s school of communication. She also writes book reviews for her blog,, and works part time as an obituaries clerk for the News & Observer.

New Jersey Girl Lacey Caroline Tries To Break Into Country Music Scene

Lacey Caroline is a Nashville transplant, originally hailing from Sussex County, New Jersey. She says that she lived “a very country lifestyle” growing up, despite being from up North.

Sussex County hosts an annual Farm and Horse Show, and Lacey’s first job at the age of 14 was helping to take care of the horses on a nearby farm.

“I will say the biggest difference from New Jersey to Nashville is that I find Southerners have a greater restraint when it comes to ‘telling what you really feel,’” Caroline said.  “I’m not sure if it’s a flaw or a gift, but Jerseyians are known for not holding back their feelings about situations.  With that aside, I always try my hardest to be extra polite. Oh, and the food! Man, is the food good. The biscuits and gravy, fried chicken. The only one who isn’t a fan of the food down here is my bathroom scale.”

Caroline loves the country lifestyle, which is what brought her to Nashville.

“I knew the only way to get better at the art of songwriting and crafting those lyrics would be to live in the thick of it all. I wanted to be able to go out any night of the week and hear great songs, and have the opportunity to write and learn from the people in this town.”

She found a great support system in Nashville in a 24-hour space on Music Row called The Workshop.

Read More: Aaron Parker Is The Next Big Thing in Country Music

“I have the most amazing group of friends, and every day, they motivate me to not only work harder at music, but work harder at being a better person,” Caroline said. They’re all amazing songwriters, artists, and singers. They’ve taught me so much about music, writing, crafting songs and digging deeper.”

Despite being a country singer, she attributes much of her understanding of music to growing up listening to emo music.

She said that she grew up as a kind of loner in school, “because I was quiet didn’t mean I didn’t have feelings or emotions, and I felt like even though kids in my school picked on me, the emo songs I listened to made me feel like I was accepted, like I wasn’t alone. It gave me hope, and in that, happiness.”

She wants to evoke that same hope and happiness in other people who may be quiet but still feel strong emotions.

Lacey’s EP,“Songbird” was released in October 2013, and it helped her find some great opportunities, such as playing the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville.

“It was a great introduction to the country music community as an arist,” Caroline said. “And it also gave me a great starting point to grow from in terms of songwriting.”

“It’s better than a dream to me; in fact, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming.”

Caroline said that she pulls inspiration and influences for her songs from musicians like Will Hoge, Brandi Carlisle, Eric Paslay, David Nail, and The Milk Carton Kids. She says that she always looks for “inspirational triggers in words, melodies, and structures,” and she also pulls inspirations from real life events.

Her song “Mason Jar,” which she thinks is one of her best, was written after a conversation at a bar.

“I was eating dinner at a bar by my house, coming up with song titles, when a very old Alabama man leaned over and asked what I was writing. The conversation turned into him telling me stories about his life, including a particular story about his wife and mason jars.“

WATCH: Caroline perform “Mason Jar”

“You have two minutes to tell a story,” says Lacey. “So every word has to count.If I don’t “feel” what I’m singing or writing, then I need to rewrite and rethink it; if the listeners don’t feel anything, then I need to do a better job at relating what I’m personally feeling.”

Her latest single, “Girl Like You” is based off of her personal experiences, and was a very quick write.

Read More: Could Abi Ann Be The Next Breakout Country Music Star?

“This girl was in love with my then boyfriend and doing everything to get him to dump me for her. I went to my mom asking what to do, and her advice to me was not to do anything,” Caroline said. “I was pretty dumbfounded, but she went on to explain that the issue wasn’t between me and her, it was between my boyfriend and her, and she said ‘If he’s not willing to stand up for you, and show respect for you and your relationship with him, then he’s not someone you should waste time on at all.’”

LISTEN: Lacey Caroline’s “Girl Like You”

Caroline said that she loves every part of the songwriting and recording process, but that her favorite part is performing live.

“I still get butterflies sometimes when I sing, but there is no feeling that compares to losing myself in a song, reliving the moment I’m singing about, and creating that moment for the audience,” Caroline said. “It’s better than a dream to me; in fact, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming.”

You can check out Lacey Caroline’s music on her Youtube channel or on iTunes, or you can keep up with Lacey herself on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hey Bros, Here’s 6 Tips To Avoid Mansplaining

The term “mansplain” was one of many words added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015. Mansplain is defined as an informal verb meaning “(Of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.”

While a condescending explanation isn’t something that is limited to men, it is something that many women have experienced over and over. Being silenced is something that many have experienced in one way or another, and mansplaining is one of the ways that that happens.

A good example of mansplaining is something you might have already seen from recent news – Matt Damon explaining how diversity in the film industry works to Effie Brown, producer of Dear White People during a discussion on Project Greenlight, which can be viewed in the TMZ video below.

He later released an apology, saying that, “My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood.”

Damon’s apology has its own issues, starting with the fact that the discussion about diversity in Hollywood has been going on for years, but it certainly did add to the discussion about diversity in a way.

Now, I know that you would never want to be accused of mansplaining, so here are some ways to avoid it in all of your conversations.


1) Before jumping in with your thoughts, ask yourself these questions:

A) Did your conversation partner ask for your opinion about the topic?
B) Are you an expert on the topic?
C) Does your sentence start with “I don’t think you understand…” or “No, you’re misunderstanding….”?

2) How much does your conversation partner know about the topic? If you’re not sure, ask!

3) Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something. You aren’t always going to know everything about every topic. If you don’t know about it, open your ears and give it a solid listen – You’ll probably learn something!

4) Is your conversation partner plastering a fake smile on their face or responding with nods or “mmhmms”? If so, they probably aren’t listening to you anymore. Watch your social cues.

5) Limit your assertions to your own experiences or research that you have fully read and understand. If you don’t fully understand it, say so.

6) Last but definitely not least, respect your conversation partner’s experiences and viewpoint. It may be different from yours, perhaps even wrong by your beliefs, but you still need to respect them.

Cover Photo Credit: ☻☺/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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