Love, Labels & Other Things With Caggie
After venturing out from the U.K. and jumping into the L.A. creative scene to build on her growing music career, emerging artist, Caggie Dunlop, is leaving her reality TV days behind and is utilising both her actress and songstress capabilities as a creative tool to voice her frustrations.
The London born Artist appeared into the limelight as the English reality TV series, Made In Chelsea, was beginning to thrive and left just shy of her fourth season on the show as part of the leading original cast. Since then, Caggie has taken to writing and producing her own film project TAME, of which was directed by the award winning director David Petchand was intended as a platform that underlines themes of sexuality, gender roles and her personal experiences with repression and stigma labelling. Her songwriting has also been a focus point over the years which we can appreciate in her latest single ‘Here We Are Again’ that dropped this year.
Following her debut release, Caggie talks love, celebrity hierarchy and bucket lists with us at PIBE.
We have read that your lyrics take on a deep and personal meaning to yourself, so can you tell us where you derived the inspiration from in your latest single ‘Here We Are Again’?
Caggie: The whole project was largely inspired by one person. ‘Here We Are Again’ was about a particular time when we saw each other a year after we had broken up. And, by chance, the place we saw each other was actually the same place we were the night we had broken up, and around the corner from where we [first] met. So the song is about us coming full circle in a way and even though our worlds have moved on, I [still] felt the same nerves and excitement I had the first time we met. That’s what makes the song very personal to me, but also relatable [to everyone] because we all have that one person. I really love that balance between it being my story and then becoming someone else’s too - that’s what I want to always achieve with my songwriting.
Why does music hold such a special place in your world? How does creating music make you feel?
Caggie: Music has been incredibly important in stabilising me on a personal front because it has given me a discipline to look after myself and my voice. My nature is to be quite compulsive, so channeling that into music has been such a positive influence on my life. The last two years I have spent most nights in LA practising at home either obsessively reworking lyrics or in the studio. It was quite lonely sometimes, and music became my relationship in many ways. But I think that attention to detail and dedication always pays off eventually because people notice when you have put your all into something. Someone said the other day “art is never finished, only abandoned" and I do struggle with letting it go! But the response I got from ‘Here We Are Again’ was so overwhelming that it completely inspired me to continue. It was one of the best feelings I've ever known. Making music is sort of like opening up a box of memories. And in a way, it allows me to rewrite the past by painting over the ugly parts and romanticising it. I think that's what we all do, and that’s why we all love music - it’s a romanticised version of the truth.
Can you try to describe your sound to us?
Caggie: It's alternative pop. It’s soft, ethereal and perhaps a little vulnerable. Sometimes it's dark and very nostalgic.
Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
Caggie: Lana del Ray, Banks, Lykki Li, Stevie Nicksand Kate Bush. I [also] fucking love Selena Gomez.
Can you tell us about your career in film and how that came around?
Caggie: I went to drama school in NY. After that I was auditioning in London, but it’s a tough gig. At least with music you are creating your own world whereas in acting you are begging to be part of someone else’s. So that brought me to make up my own projects too. I wrote two projects in L.A., and I will be getting into them in the future, but music is really taking a centre stage right now. Acting is like another child of mine - I'm equally passionate about both and I could never choose one. But [for now] I'm just flowing with the music… Which feels right.
The TAME movie was set out to break you away from the stigma that starring in a reality TV series has created for you. Can you talk to us about why this was important for you?
Caggie: It’s really important because there’s a lot of stigma attached to that kind of thing, especially in the U.K. There's a hierarchical system of celebrities that, on the one hand I understand, but it's slightly outdated and it can be frustrating. Everyone starts out somewhere and the US are more forgiving in that sense. They all share the American dream regardless of the background or class. It creates a sense of camaraderie which is nice. I have often felt a little prejudged in the UK, like an “if she did that then she can’t be talented” mentality.
If I'm really honest, Made In Chelsea represents a lot of what I aspired to be like growing up, by trying to fit myself into a stereotype that I thought would alleviate my own personal suffering which, of course it didn’t. It just perpetuated the problem and being on the show made me understand that I was lusting after the wrong things entirely. I wasn't being my authentic self, but your early twenties are about fucking up and experimenting. It would be boring to get it all right first time round. I have no doubt, however, that I am on the right path now, and I'm looking forward to proving myself to those who might doubt men - but that's not my motivation. My motivation is to just be better than I was before, to make better music and to challenge myself. It's not about seeking validation - that's a loser’s game. But with that being said, MIC did give me a loyal and incredible fanbase who have all been so supportive in ways I can never fully explain. I have personal relationships with so many of them. It's insulting to call them fans really because they are friends from a far and without them I wouldn't have this opportunity.
How did the making of TAME come around?
Caggie: My friend Laure and I met at drama school in London a few years back where we started writing this project. Then we got David Petch involved to direct. We workshopped it for months and ended up going to Mexico to film it. It was a great experience because I learnt a lot as both a producer and an actor.
Can you name three things off your bucket list that you want to achieve this year?
Caggie: To go on tour.
To do a Radio 1 live lounge.
To go back to Australia.
What's the most daring thing that Caggie Dunlop has ever done?
Caggie: Having the courage to just be myself and to know that that is enough.
Words / JESSIE PINK
Photography / Christopher Fenner
Styling / Karen Munnis
Make up / Lan Nguyen-Grealis @Eighteen Management
Hair / Wilson Fok @Eighteen Management