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Caroline Marquard’s new song, “Never Should’ve Left” feels like an accidental quarantine anthem. The 24-year-old sings about lost conversations and regret over leaving things a certain way. But while this feeling of helplessness is a familiar one for many at any given time, the loneliness in Marquard’s voice in the acoustic music video, premiering here on Refinery29’s The Drop, feels especially relevant in this time of global self-isolation. Who isn’t lonelier than usual right now? Whether it’s missing loved ones, or a lover, or just aspects of “normal” life pre-quarantine, the beautiful song now holds a double meaning.
Marquard wrote and developed her new single with one of her idols, songwriter Liz Rose, who has worked with Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. After moving to NYC at the age of 16 from Switzerland to finish high school, Marquard left Berklee College of Music to move to Nashville and live out her dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter in real time. Since 2016, Marquard has been doing just that, blending a passion for songwriting, harp playing, and story-telling through song. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder her influences are Sara Bareilles, Maren Morris, and Faith Hill. In fact, along with Rose, Marquard also worked with producer Jordan Lehning on the song, whose past collaborations include Kacey Musgraves and Shania Twain.
Lehning’s influence is evident in more than just the names of his previous collaborators — the video itself was filmed in his East Nashville studio. “Never Should Have Left” is the is the first of four live videos titled, “From Switzerland to East Nashville,” noting the young artist’s musical and professional journey.
“Never Should Have Left” is part of her debut EP, The Prologue, out June 26. Over email, Marquard opened up about the song and her life in quarantine.
Refinery29: Tell us about the song “Never Should’ve Left” What is it about?
Caroline Marquard: “‘Never Should’ve Left’ is an introspective song, looking back at a relationship and realizing your part in it. The good and the bad. Thinking about what you would do differently if you could do it all over again.”
What did it mean to co-write with Liz Rose at this stage of your career?
“It was the most surreal thing to write with Liz Rose! I’m not sure I was qualified to be in a writing room with her at the time, but she’s really encouraging and definitely is a big inspiration to me. I think it says a lot about a writer of that stature to take a chance on a new artist like me and I’m really appreciative of that.”
How did that come about?
“My producer Jordan Lehning and Liz have worked together in the past and we all thought we’d be a good fit to write together! Nashville is a very small world.”
What did it mean to film the live videos?
“It meant a lot to film these live videos. They were really the last piece of this project to come together and felt very full circle to end with giving the songs a new life.”
Where did you film it?
‘The videos were filmed at my producer Jordan Lehning’s studio in East Nashville called The Duck. It’s the vibiest place and we actually recorded some of the EP vocals there too. It felt fitting going back and recording the live videos there.”
Tell us about the video series - how you decided on the title?
“This whole project and my first EP is the first chapter in my book, how I got to where I am right now. That story begins in Switzerland and currently lands in Nashville.”
What can fans expect from you for the EP and live series?
“They can expect to see different sides of me as an artist and writer while getting to know me a little more. I hope they get a glimpse into my heart and my vibe. I really wanted the videos to be stripped back and real, while still wearing glitter, of course.”
What have you been doing to keep busy during quarantine?
“I’ve been doing a wide array of things during quarantine: I’ve fallen in love with cooking, reading books, doing puzzles, going on daily sunset walks. I’ve continued writing songs over Zoom with co-writers and also started a weekly live stream on my Instagram called Caro-Wine down Wednesdays. Although, I’ve let myself have some down time as well. I think that’s important during this uncertain time. Just to chill out and give yourself a break.”