EXCLUSIVE | Sophia Anne Caruso talks leaving 'Beetlejuice', new single, EP and life in quarantine
Sophia Anne Caruso, a young multi-talented entertainer is adding music-writing to her impressive résumé with her upcoming debut EP. From starring in the musicals 'Lazarus' by David Bowie and Broadway's beloved 'Beetlejuice' (as Lydia Deetz) to performing for TV shows such as 'Smash', 'Evil' and 'Celebrity Ghost Stories', Caruso has our attention. We at MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) spoke with the promising actress and singer on her upcoming new music, her departure from 'Beetlejuice' and how she managed to write music during the quarantine.
At just 18, you’ve already made quite a name for yourself on Broadway and have been a part of some top-notch productions in the midst of winning a Theatre World Award for your role in 'Beetlejuice'. What has the journey been like for you so far?
Sometimes people assume that young people are new to the business but I moved to New York when I was 10, so I've been swimming in this sea for 8 years. It's a lot of hard work and I've had to give up a lot to bring myself to the wonderful opportunities I've had, like 'Lazarus' and 'Beetlejuice'. But I love what I do and all of the hard work is worth every moment. Being recognized for the Theatre World Award was a very special moment for me. When I see the glass award on my credenza while watching old movies every day It inspires me to keep going... to keep working hard and keep doing what I love. It reminds me that if I keep doing that, I can achieve my biggest dreams.
You’ve received recognition for your work in ‘Beetlejuice’, but still chose to part ways with the show this year. Did you feel you had reached a saturation point with ‘Beetlejuice’ when you left or were you just eager to try new things? Was it an amicable parting of ways?
If you asked me when I was 10 years old what my biggest dream was, I would've told you it is to be a leading lady on Broadway. That is still a truth. Today if you asked me, I would tell you I'd like to sing on the moon. I have so many dreams and I worked on 'Beetlejuice' for almost 4 years. It is full of so many beautiful memories for me but of course, everything has an end. I decided I would like to leave to work on TV. I miss my friends from the show so much, but we do stay in touch and I treasure that experience greatly.
What was the experience like working on 'The Liz Swados Project' and singing a song from the iconic 'Runaways' musical?
Liz Swados was a magnificent artist who bolted around off-Broadway with important, inspired, works. I admired her so much. Her ferociousness, and passion... being able to sing from 'Runaways' on 'The Liz Swados Project' in her honor was so soul-fulfilling. When I was asked to sing for it I remember tearing up and immediately saying yes.
What's your new single called, and what's it about? Considering how important first impressions are, is it designed as a statement of intent?
This single is called 'Toys'. It is a collaboration between my friends Henry Hey (David Bowie's 'Blackstar') and Nicholas Littlemore (Empire of The Sun). The song is about someone seeing the one they love crumbling: when things fall apart, the innocence of a child that comes through.
I think that the song itself is open to interpretation. The plot will appear different to each ear. I think Henry, Nick, and I each have a different meaning behind our work in it. Although the overall feeling is universal.
Can you give us some details about your upcoming debut EP? What's the backstory behind it, and how long were you working on it? Given your edgy sensibilities, what can we expect to hear on this effort?
I can tell you that each song has its own backstory. Each song I have written - I was at a different place in my life. I've been working with Nick and Henry since I was about around 15/16. So much goes on in a girl's mind from that age to where I am now, at almost 19. The work I tend to do marks me as edgy certainly. There is a lot of edgy teen girl music out there, but what you can hear in the music I created during this time is pure. It is a manifestation of not only the teen girl blues, but the beautiful light that shines from youth.
Has it been particularly difficult putting an EP together, given the current world situation? Did you find it challenging to complete the record during a lockdown?
The vocals for 'Toys' were recorded right before quarantine began. The rest has been remote. My video was made with the loved ones I'm quarantined with. No fancy crews and sets. Just me and a 1950s film camera.
How different has the experience of recording an EP been to working with the music on Broadway? Do you find you prefer one to the other, currently?
The style of what you usually hear on Broadway vs my music is dramatically different. My personal music is an expression of myself, or the me I feel at a time. The music from shows I've done is an expression of a character from that show, written by someone else. I love to sing and tell stories, mine or not.
If your solo career really takes off, would you consider moving into music full time, with musical theater taking a backseat? Or will Broadway always be your first love?
There's no need to cut one out when I can do both. Be it acting in a movie, writing a score for a movie, or performing on Broadway, I will always be happy, so long as I am doing it.
Are there any roles or projects you would be eager to try your hand at in the near future?
I would love to go back to straight plays, play Joan in Bernard Shaw's 'Saint Joan'. I would like to write something in French. I would love to do... so many things. The list gets longer every day.