Los Angeles singer-songwriter Melody Caudill, aka Career Woman, grew up in a musical family; she began learning to play piano at 4, and released her first EP at 13. She's now 17, and her new single, "Balcony," out via Lauren Records, which premieres in this post.

"Balcony" starts off as a lo-fi track with just guitar and Caudill's clear voice, but when the drums and double-tracked vocals kick in, they add weight and conviction to her vulnerable, self-aware lyrics, which recall her inspirations (Phoebe Bridgers and Elliott Smith) without being derivative. This is confessional music that rings true.

Caudill wrote about the track:

I wrote Balcony more than a year ago, a few months before the pandemic started. I was feeling pretty isolated from my peers at the time despite being physically surrounded by them, and my only outlet or way to express that was through music, which is part of what the song is about. I have changed a lot since I wrote the song, but the lyrics definitely still apply to me. Even though the lyrics come from a time where I was surrounded by people at school or just in the world, they still deeply apply to me now, maybe even more so.

This project has changed so much from where it started, from the vibe of the song to the lyrics themselves. I started writing the song about the feeling I had while on the balcony at a concert. I was there to see Beabadoobee who was opening for Clairo, but during Beabadoobee’s set, the people who were only there for the headliner talked the entire time, so loud that I couldn’t concentrate on the show. Being in the balcony behind people who would not stop talking over the music I was there to see made me feel so detached from the whole experience. When I got home I wrote a few lines about that feeling, but ended up scrapping it and starting over, using the balcony as a metaphor for being detached from everyone in general instead of talking about the literal experience. Now the song is about being a wallflower and an observer, and documenting things rather than being a part of them. In terms of the music itself, the song started out as a more folky acoustic song, but after showing it to my dad who’s also a musician, we decided that it should feature a whole band and be more indie rock-ish.

This project is exciting in general, mainly because it's the first song I’ve gotten to properly record in over a year, but also because it connects with another part of my life that’s really important to me. Story-based video games have been a huge part of who I am for years, but in particular, the game Life Is Strange has been one that has deeply resonated with me more than anything else. The main protagonist in the game, Max Caulfield, is an introverted photographer who expresses how she finds comfort in photography because it allows her to participate in the world without having to be at the center of everything, and that is something I really relate to in terms of my music. Pursuing music may seem like it has something to do with seeking attention, but for me, it's about how songwriting helps me connect with the world from a comfortable distance but still in a personal way. Although Balcony is entirely written from my own perspective, it is heavily inspired by LiS and references Max’s relationship with photography in the chorus. I am really looking forward to sharing this other side of me through this song.

The name Career Woman comes from the term that used to be more derogatory when criticizing women who valued their passions or jobs over starting a family and being a wife/mother. Now it just means a career oriented woman, but I thought it was a poignant yet ironic and funny name for me, a 17 year old girl, because I am not a woman and am nowhere near having a career at this point in my life. More importantly, I picked the name because I think it sucks that it even exists. Women are pressured to make a choice between prioritizing their lives or their family’s lives, and are criticized for doing either and when they try to do both. That sucks! Also, I love wearing blazers.

Stream "Balcony" below.

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