CARYS Wants Everyone to Let It All Out With ‘Princesses Don’t Cry’
Life isn't easy, especially when we're told to just "deal with it" or that we'll "get over it." But her new song "Princesses Don't Cry," pop artist CARYS will be the first to tell you that we should do the opposite: let it all out!
"The overall message is that bottling up your feelings is really unhealthy and by doing so we are hurting ourselves," the 21-year-old Canadian singer and actress shares about her emotionally charged new single. "I am someone that feels super comfortable crying openly and will do so no matter where I am, if I need to."
Born Aviva Mongillo, CARYS isn't just musically inclined. You may have seen her in a number of TV and films, including Workin' Moms, which is on Netflix now, and 2019's Long Shot.
Below, CARYS opens up about "Princesses Don't Cry," how she approaches acting vs. music and who she really wants to get in the studio with in the future.
What inspired "Princesses Don't Cry"?
I had a partner when I was younger who would always call me his princess and had these ideals for how women should behave in relationships. [He was] the type of guy who always needed to be the alpha and felt I should be the beta of the relationship, but that is very much not who I am. I took inspiration from that and other stereotypes about women: that we're over-dramatic or that we're soft and fragile. I turned it into a song about how frustrating it is to have someone invalidate your true feelings. The main lyric of the song is "princesses don't cry," and I meant that to be ironic because one, everyone cries and two, no one should be expected to behave like a princess.
What were you trying to convey with the video?
I feel like the meaning of this song usually gets taken in the wrong context. I’ve found that a large number of people assume that, with this song, I meant women shouldn’t cry, and I wanted the video to say the opposite ... There’s nothing that pisses me off more than when someone says, "Aw, don't cry!", as if it's a bad thing when I get emotional. I think feeling deeply is powerful and letting it out is freeing. We gotta stop treating sensitivity like a personality flaw and embrace that s---.
What's the story behind your stage name, CARYS?
I play the SIMS very avidly, and one of my SIMS was pregnant. So I was looking up baby names on this website and came across the name Carys. It means "love" in Welsh, and I thought it was really pretty but didn't feel like a SIMS name. But a few days later, my manager and I talked about the idea of changing my name, and Carys popped into my head right away. It felt like it fit the vibe of what we had been creating, and we just went with it.
You've been acting for a while. What got you into that? And how do approach it compared to music?
I have always loved people and storytelling. That's what ties all of my creative ventures together. With acting, I don't remember what made me want to do it. I've just always been drawn to it. I begged my parents to sign me up for classes when I was five or six and have been doing it since. The way I see it is that with acting I get to step into someone else’s shoes and tell their story.
And with music, I get to tell my story, though they're the same in the way that they're both very vulnerable. Even when I'm playing a role, I'm still showing true parts of myself, just in a different context that is removed from my identity. I adore the honesty that comes with both. It helps me to better understand myself and others.
What separates CARYS, the musician, from Aviva Mongillo, the actress? Where does Aviva the everyday girl fit in?
This question really had me in deep self-reflection mode, then I dissociated super hard for a bit. But now I'm back, and my answer is that I believe there's a little bit of a hierarchy going on here. CARYS is a vessel for my unfiltered emotions. Free-flowing word-puke without apologies or judgement. Aviva Mongillo, the actor, has to be a little more analytical. The actor's focus is: What do I want and how do I get it, given the circumstances? Still, no judgment here. Because if you’re judging, your character you can’t play them.
Aviva, the person, is the one that's gotta live in the real world and make all kinds of choices that influence what the other two look like. She runs the show. And she's the one that decides which parts of her get to be seen through the lens of all of her characters. Only a few people get to know her truly as she is. Pretty deep, eh? Classic Aviva.
What's your first music memory?
Singing the "If All the Raindrops" song from Barney. I was probably about four years old dancing and singing in front of the TV. I watched that episode a billion times, and I'd stand there waiting for the "ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah" part because it's the only part I knew. Today, I still only know that part of the song.
Talk about the first song you ever wrote. Will it ever see the light of day, if it hasn't already?
It was called "Singing in the Rain," and it was about keeping your chin up when times got bad. I wrote it when I was in the fifth grade. I don't remember how it goes, but I remember typing it up on Microsoft Word in a rainbow-colored font, printing it out and bringing it to school to make all my friends listen to me sing it at recess. It was awful. I remember one person saying I’d probably never be a "real singer," but that they still liked it, so that was nice.
What's a song that you wish you wrote and why?
"If U Love Me Now" by MUNA. At the time I first heard it, I was trying to write about my recent breakup but just couldn't find the right words. And then I heard this and I was like, "Oh my God, this sums up exactly what I was trying to say! Screw them!" They're one of my favorite bands. I absolutely envy their songwriting abilities. I think I've told everyone I've ever spoken to to listen to that song. It's heart-breakingly simple and specific.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
MUNA. Hi, MUNA! If by some coincidence you're reading this, I love and worship you. See above.
What's your definition of success?
As long as I am learning and growing and doing my best with what I know, I feel that I am successful. A bonus would be that I could impact people and the world positively while I’m here, whether that be on a small or large scale.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
I'm constantly comparing my music to other people's music that I like and worry so often about if what I'm making is even good. I resolve that fear by just asking myself: Is this real to me? All I can hope for is that if this stuff is real to me, it feels real to others who are like me. And if not, that's fine. People are allowed to not like it, obviously. I can't control that. But I do hope that it can make some people feel understood in some way.
In general, I hope to be an example that there is power in your faults. That failure and mistakes are opportunities to learn how you can be better next time. I feel like it's such a cheesy concept but it's something that's really easy to forget. Your flaws are a part of you; a beautifully interesting part of you. I hope my music does a good job of showcasing that.
What should we look out for in 2020?
I'll be releasing an EP in 2020. Once that’s out in the world, I'll be touring and doing a bunch of promo for that, which rocks. On the acting side, I have some projects that are in post-production but don't have release dates yet. Lots up in the air right now, but you'll know when I know.