Julia Pratt Wrestles With Strange Changes on “Carolina”

Kieran Kohorst

It’s the most devastating gut punch: to return to what once felt like home - a place you knew as well as yourself - only to feel like a stranger, both spirits broken in consequence of one another. For Julia Pratt, that place is North Carolina, for which her latest single is named. “Carolina” doesn’t sneak punches and is heavy-handed, with Pratt’s feelings holding too much depth to be submerged by metaphor. “Am I still your daughter / If I’m hollow and don’t recognize my name?” she delivers with earnest wonder, the narrative only unwinding further as Pratt opens herself up further with each passing lyric. Unleashing a myriad of vocal tricks and expressions, Pratt’s most affecting music comes when she’s writing from her lowest point.

“‘Carolina’ is about returning to a person/place that was once called home and realizing that it is no longer that,” shares Pratt. “The song…recounts a moment when I returned back to North Carolina, the place where my family ended, and was hit with the true realization that it was all over. I struggled to accept that I am not who I was then, and it pained me to think that this place, that has held so much significance in my life, may not even recognize me anymore. ‘Carolina’ is about belonging, loss, grief, and the concept of home, told through the eyes of a woman who feels she has no place in this world.”

The story of “Carolina” is also told in devastating detail in the music video for the song, which captures Pratt in a colored but lonely landscape, moving gracefully and contemplatively. She maneuvers with a stoic, perhaps deadened, stare until she is finally overwhelmed, seated with knees to her chest, a concerned look commanding her face. Her strength and vulnerability are at odds in the video just as they are in Pratt’s music, both nevertheless producing astounding art. 

Fans of Julia Pratt are thrilled to hear that the single and video for “Carolina” are just the beginning of what’s to come: Pratt has announced an EP to arrive soon with an accompanying short film, both of which will include the work of “Carolina.” In the upcoming months, Pratt will be joining tour dates with Amos Lee, flipturn and Angie McMahon before she joins the lineup of Green River Festival alongside Fleet Foxes, Cake and more in June.

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