Alternative Viral Sensation Carolesdaughter Reflects on Family, TikTok and Covering Radiohead’s Iconic Song “Creep”
Photography by Jonathan Weiner
If you were pigeonholed as an “alternative” artist, and then you wrote and performed a song that got streamed more than 320 million times, then you’d be perfectly entitled to cover one of the biggest anthems ever written for disaffected youth. And that’s exactly what carolesdaughter went ahead and did. After her searing single “Violent” traveled through alt-audiences to fix itself confidently on mainstream playlists, she reworked Radiohead’s colossal single, “Creep” her own way. “Radiohead has been one of my favorite bands for a long time and being a guitar player I learned a lot of their songs when I was starting out,” says the 18-year-old from Southern California.
That specific song is one that I wish I wrote so I wanted to put my own twist on it. I feel like I’ve always known who they were. I can’t pinpoint a moment that I discovered them. I was worried because there are people who are protective over Radiohead and I was sure that some people would be mad that I covered it but I don’t care. I love Radiohead.
Thea Taylor aka carolesdaughter is the youngest of ten children from a devout Mormon family with incredibly supportive parents. After happening upon a Black Flag logo, she googled and a world of punk, emo and rock n roll opened up to her. She dived right in. A friend suggested she name herself carolesdaughter to reflect the support and tight relationship she had with her mother.
After a teen trip to rehab, she realized music was the passion she wanted and needed to pursue. She began post- ing her emotive and often dark songs on SoundCloud and TikTok where an army of fans followed and followed until 2021 when she was signed with Arista Records. “Violent” is legit smash and she put it together over a beat she found on YouTube. The song racked up more streams than twice the population of Northern Europe. “I stopped counting after a million because that was my goal,” she says about the astronomical amount of streams.
“After that everything else felt really surreal.”
No more surreal than some of the videos set to her song that hundreds and thousands of streamers have posted. “The best one is definitely the TikTok where someone is dressed up in a Peppa Pig costume dancing to the song.” Her laughter punctuates the irony of a preschool icon bopping along to her dark lyrics.
Once any artist in any creative industry manages to achieve a measure of success, it affords them the precious cred to focus on their art. Her viral fame and the major label signing have placed her squarely in that abundant space to sort out how she wants to grow. “Adding visual aspects to my art has been really rewarding and has challenged my creative brain to further my art,” she explains. “So having the time and resources to make awesome music videos has been great.” And you can see it. The “Violent” video boasts impressive production values. As does the jauntily bleak “Trailer Trash” with its cinematic aesthetic comparable to the mood of Breaking Bad. Her authentically cheerful “please put me in a medically induced coma” features CGI, aliens, latex, medical equipment and naturally, demon ghosts.
Much has been made of her family’s support. Especially coming from the namesake of her moniker, her mom. How’s the real Carole doing these days? “Carole’s doing good! Her school has started back up again so she’s back to working in the classroom during the pandemic. It’s pretty difficult for teachers right now. Be nice to your teachers during this time!”