It’s hard not to notice carolesdaughter. As the youngest of 10 siblings, Thea Taylor always felt the need to stand out. With some hair dye, shaved eyebrows and a seemingly infinite amount of piercings, she did just that. But it was when the 18-year-old artist started posting her music online that people beyond her “giant” family took notice.
Taylor started posting music under the name carolesdaughter on SoundCloud in February 2020, and built her fanbase online during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she dropped “Violent” on a whim, TikTok latched on and quickly made her a household name among emo kids worldwide. Now, she’s garnered over 2 million monthly Spotify listeners and earned her a spot opening for Machine Gun Kelly on tour.
Fans who have been intrigued by her eclectic alt-pop offerings so far will get to know her even better on her upcoming EP, much of which was inspired by her journey with addiction and written during her transformational time in rehab. “It’s going to be pretty much the intro to carolesdaughter,” she tells PopCrush. “The cover is my mother. I did her makeup crazy like mine and she was wearing the same spiked collar that I’m wearing in the ‘Violent’ cover, so that’s a cute little Easter egg in there.”
Below, carolesdaughter talks about Carole herself, meeting Megan Fox and why she’s not too crazy about her breakout single “Violent.”
Where did your name come from?
The truth is I didn’t come up with that name myself. I was in treatment at the time, and I talked about my mom all the time, how much I missed her, and kind of made a joke calling her Carole to other people, although I don’t call her Carole to her face. So my friend just came up with that fun name. She was like, “You should go by carolesdaughter,” and I was like, “Holy s—, that’s actually perfect.”
So it’s in tribute to your mom?
Oh, of course. Me and her have a really good relationship and I wouldn’t be here without her.
Your new song “My Mother Wants Me Dead” doesn’t suggest a good relationship.
No, it’s funny. My mom actually hates the name of that song. She doesn’t hate the song, but she’s just like, “Why would you name it that?” It’s just a little metaphor. Basically, that song is just a light-hearted take on paranoia, and although the title is “My Mother Wants Me Dead,” it just goes to show how your perspective can be really off in certain times, you know?
What made you fall in love with music and decide to make it a career?
I literally don’t remember a single point where I didn’t think this is what I was going to do. Even at 5 years old, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be a singer.” I always knew. I did a little bit of choir in school. I did musical theater in high school. My family is pretty musically inclined and artistic. We were just a giant Mormon family, and Mormons put an emphasis on music and playing instruments and honing in on your talents. It was always a really big part of my life.
How does your family feel about your music and career?
They’re very proud of me, and I think they’ve accepted me. I don’t think they care that I’m not Mormon anymore. It doesn’t matter. I’m my own person. My mom and dad are still Mormon, but most of my siblings are not Mormon, if that tells you anything. Only two out of 10 are [still Mormon], not a very good ratio.
How did you develop your style?
I’ve always had a really eclectic and weird sense of style. In middle school, we didn’t have a lot of money for trendy new clothes, so it was mostly hand-me-downs. I would be like, “Oooh vintage,” but in reality, it would just be my older sister’s clothes from 15 years ago. And because my family was Mormon, I wasn’t really allowed to dye my hair, do makeup, piercings, tattoos, any of that. I ended up rebelling at a pretty young age and doing that s— anyways. I dyed my hair black and shaved off my eyebrows. From there, it was like, “Alright, I’m going crazy now.”
How did going through rehab and addiction translate into music?
I think even before I was an addict, music was always an outlet for me no matter what I was going through, so it was just natural that it’s what I ended up writing about, because it was such a big part of my teenage years. Before treatment, I had written music but I didn’t really go crazy with it. But in rehab, I literally wrote 100-200 songs in a couple months. I just kind of realized, “Holy s—, I have a lot to say, and these are pretty good.”
When you write, are you ever inspired by the stories of others?
I honestly take mostly from my own life and experiences, but with writing, I like to look at it as creative writing from school. You can write from other perspectives, or you can not make things up, but take things a different route. I have a song on my EP called “Audrey,” and it’s about this exotic dancer that I met the first time I went to a strip club. Although I only spent a couple hours in her presence, I really tried to put her own life in this song. Not all of it is true, but it’s just what inspired me. Not everything has to be exactly like it was.
“Violent” was the first song many fans heard from you. Where did it come from?
I basically just found a beat on — cough cough — YouTube. It was a Lil Peep-type beat. I wrote and recorded it on my little Apple headphones on Garageband, and then sent it to my friend who mixed it. He was like, “Yo, this song, it’s your best one yet.” And I was like, “Really? I don’t know. It’s kind of lame, kind of basic. I hate pop music.”
It’s ironic how a song you weren’t crazy about became so big.
It’s not my least favorite song that I’ve written, because I do realize it’s a good song. I think every artist doesn’t like their big song. That’s just typical. But it’s still a good song. It’s just a little… If I heard it, would I save it? I don’t know. [Laughs] I wouldn’t be like, “Oh yes, this is a banger.” But also because it’s a relationship song, and those make me cringe. That’s why.
What made you want to cover Radiohead’s “Creep”?
Well, I am a creep and I am a weirdo. Obviously I could’ve picked a less popular Radiohead song, I love playing their songs on guitar. But it was more so because it’s “Creep” and everyone knows that song. I wanted it to feel familiar to people but put a new twist on it. What was interesting is that Radiohead themselves put out a remix of “Creep” a couple of weeks before I planned to put out mine, so I was like, “Oh, that’s a sign this is the right timing.”
What other artists did you gravitate to growing up?
I never had an idol or someone that I wanted to be like because there was nobody. That’s why I was like, “Ok, well I have to be that.” Only recently am I seeing people that I would look up to. Rico Nasty is really cool. Eartheater is insanely talented. I’m really into Caroline Polachek lately, her album is on repeat anytime I’m in the car. Alice Glass, always. A lot of badass females.
There’s been a huge emo revival in the past two years. How does it feel to be a part of it?
Embarrassing. Because pop-punk sucks. No, I’m just kidding. [Laughs] I love how it’s coming back and people are more comfortable expressing themselves. I can go to the mall and see a bunch of baby emos and it’s really cute. I am baby emo, but there’s even younger now, like 12- and 13-year-old emos.
How was it opening for Machine Gun Kelly?
It’s been really fun. The crowds are huge and he puts on such a crazy show. Oh my God, the production is insane. And also, just the way he interacts with the crowd… He pulls a kid on every show and it’s so f—ing cute. This one little girl did this crazy rap and she was 8 or something. It was f—ing adorable.
Have you met Megan Fox?
I have. She’s so beautiful. It was kind of funny, because he was like, “This is my girlfriend Megan.” And I was just like, “Yeah of course.”
What’s next for you? Do you see yourself expanding sonically?
I wouldn’t say I have a genre because I go all over the place, but this EP is pretty cohesive. I think the next one will be different for sure. I wanna go a little harder, a little more screamo. But good. I definitely want to experiment, and now I have people around to do that. I want to put out random singles too. I may have a rap single, who knows? The world is my oyster.