Cailin Russo looks like a pop star and sounds like a powerhouse
On the surface, Cailin Russo looks like another one of those beautiful Instagram models you can’t help but follow.
She wears cool things and goes to cool places, and she takes the cool photos to prove it.
But what you don’t see if that she’s got a mouth like a sailor and she’s not afraid to say something’s wack. Whether it be a “cool girl beauty trend” that makes people look like they’re pirates or modeling agencies that said they didn’t understand her “whole thing.”
Plus Cailin’s got the kind of pipes that would make her the perfect candidate for “The Voice.” She may look like a pop star, but she’s got a voice that’s dripping in soul. Think Amy Winehouse, but without the messy personal life.
And yes, she knows what you’re thinking. Another model turned singer? But she doesn’t care. “What the fuck am I gonna do?” Cailin told us. “I’m not gonna not do what I want to.”
We talked to Cailin about how the backlash from starring in two Justin Bieber videos made her feel prepared for anything the music industry could throw at her and how love at first sight is kind of shallow.
I’m absolutely obsessed with Instagram bios, and I was wondering what does [your IG bio] “Comfort Food… #rosegang” mean?
When I first started wanting to do music and making a project, I had an album name in my head that I always wanted to use. I always wanted to make a project named “Comfort Food.” And the rose gang thing is kind of almost a fan zone. Like it’s my name for the little troop of people who support you, like with beliebers or smilers for Miley Cyrus. I have a cute little rose tattoo, so I decided to go with rose gang for the name.
Speaking of beliebers, did you get booked for the two videos from Justin Bieber’s Journals album at the same time?
No, I just got booked for the first one, which was “All That Matters,” and then I was talking to Justin and he called me in and was like “Hey, I really want you to be in the next video,” and I was like “Okay! Yeah, I’d be down to do that too” Prior to that, I had already booked a flight to go to Nigeria so I really hoped there wouldn’t be a conflict, but of course there was. I had just gotten all my shots to go to Africa and I talked to my friend who I was going with and she told me, “You know, you should just do it. Do the second video, it’s really good for your overall career.” And I was like “you’re right.” So I did it.
Did you get any backlash at all from the video?
Of course, people were mad. Real fangirls were fucking pissed. You know, I’m sure when I saw Aaron Carter’s music video with another girl I’d be like, that should’ve been me. I’m sure I was the same way, I just couldn’t voice it. At the time it was super intense. It was a bombardment of either mad love or serious crazy hate.
Were you nervous at all about making the model to musician career transition?
Oh my god, yeah! I’m still nervous. At the same time though, its just like, what the fuck am I gonna do? I’m not gonna not do what I want to. Besides I’m so ready wildly prepared for backlash ever since I did those videos. I’ve already been through everything.
You have a very soulful sound when you sing, but you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell looking at you. Are people often surprised when they see you in a room and then you start singing?
Yes, absolutely. Everyone is like, “I don’t understand.” I went to my modeling agency and the lady was like “Yeah, I don’t get it. I don’t get the whole thing.” I was like “Oh shit, okay.” People don’t assume I’m gonna sing with some soul and some blues. I’m really happy that I have a “shock” factor though. I think its pretty cool.
Why did you decide to name your most recent song “Hierarchy?”
“Hierarchy” is pretty much about status, and the people that are so obsessed with status. The whole thing is like, all of us are at the same party and I’m just trying to have a good time but you’re throwing shade at me when you don’t really know who I am because you just assume that I’m not cool enough. I feel like we’ve all experienced that. In a room full of dominos, when everyone is trying to replicate each other, I’m gonna be something different and I don’t need anyone else’s validation.
What are you looking forward to the most as your career progresses?
Im fucking excited about everything! I know thats a broad answer. I just wanna keep creating. I’m on a high right now, and it’s awesome.
So, whats your creative process like?
It varies. It all just comes out of random inspiration. You know, if you’re in some weird mode sometimes thats what evokes the most emotion and creativity. I wish I could say I sit down with like, a feather pen and dip it in my ink and magic comes out, but it doesn’t work like that. A lot of my ideas come from when I’m driving or when I’m just really upset about something.
What do you do when something comes to you and your out at a party, or your drinking, and its not the time to stop everything that you’re doing.
Oh no, I’ll stop everything and do it. If I get an idea, then yeah i’ll write it down or go to the bathroom and sing into my phone, and then I’ll continue my night.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yeah, I think so. It’s kind of a one in a million thing. But I more so believe in looking at somebody and thinking it’s love at first sight, but then they open your mouth and it’s like, “Nah, not that.”
Even thinking about love at first sight, its such a romantic term, and its kind of a superficial thing to say. You don’t know anything about the person. They could be a total asshole but since they’re hot it’s like, “yeah it’s love at first sight, let’s fucking bop,” you know what I mean?
Are there any fashion trends that you are totally sick of by now?
Theres this one trend, its still kind of trending. It’s that fucking lip ring in the middle of you’re lip. I hate, I’m like “Y’all look like magicians” or like you’re in some weird pirate band. It never looks cool.
No, it never does, it kind of instantly makes you look like a poser. Well, any last words?
Not really, I’m just really looking forward to people trying to accept me as a musician, and if they don’t, fuck it!
Listen to “Hierarchy” here.