Rlyblonde Enters A New Era of Her Artistry With “Dumb Blonde”

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Today, rising alt-rock sweetheart rlyblonde has released her newest musical effort. Infused with passionate harmonies and buzzing electric guitars and produced by Robbie Guariglia (The Veronicas, Oh Honey, Native Sun), “Dumb Blonde” is an anthemic single from the Brooklyn-based rockstar and is her first release following her two previous singles, “Your Angel” and “Girl In Your Story,” released towards the end of last year. A bubblegum-decorated track, “Dumb Blonde” represents a maturity and heightened realization following a period of reflection for rlyblonde. This maturity is conveyed through a balance of two worlds that the artist has learned to embrace – the carefree, feminine passion of rlyblonde and the multidisciplinary businesswoman that is Carina Allen.

Before making her musical debut in 2023 with her debut EP Fantasy, rlyblonde was working as a creative director, videographer and photographer for New York’s favorite rising indie acts. Now she has become her own director and producer, having released five self-directed and self-produced music videos for Fantasy, and is the owner of her own production company, Hot Creative. On top of these ventures, rlyblonde still balances her career as a popstar with her career as a professional wedding photographer. An artist in the truest and most divinely feminine sense, rlyblonde is a creative who values a hands-on approach to her visuals, aesthetics and storytelling. With her newest single “Dumb Blonde,” rlyblonde continues to share this persona and rlyblonde’s universe with the world, offering a character that is charming, passionate and unafraid to live. Rlyblonde has also announced that “Dumb Blonde” will be featured on her upcoming EP Star of the Show set to be released later this year.

“Dumb Blonde” is inspired by the little voice in your head during good times that is telling you everything is bound to go wrong. To process with this emotion, rlyblonde wrote a song with the ultimate message of just rolling with it. As an artist, one is never truly satisfied, so “Dumb Blonde” encourages listeners to just enjoy the good moments when you have them – even if it’s just for the night. A track that may be described as 90’s rock and roll meets Barbie, “Dumb Blonde” could make it into the soundtrack for movies such as Uptown Girls (2003) or Legally Blonde (2001). While Fantasy represented a manifestation of love, dreams and desires, “Dumb Blonde” sets the precedent for a grungier sound and a new era of musicality for rlyblonde. The NYC songstress sat down with Melodic Mag to discuss the new single, how she takes ownership of female stereotypes and what to expect on Star of the Show.

Your new single “Dumb Blonde” comes out today, congratulations! I love the song and I had read that you’re ready to show listeners your new era of music. What does “Dumb Blonde” represent in terms of the new era you’re coming into?
I think that this song meant a different thing to me when I wrote it than what it does now, and it’s interesting to see how it all comes back full circle. To me this song is, on one hand, stepping into a new sound. Really honing in on the sound that I want to achieve with this project has been huge and this song feels like a big stamp of that as we enter into the new chapter with a little bit of an edgier sound. On the other hand it feels like, for rlyblonde as the persona and for myself, an entrance into this new chapter as far as being a lot more confident about who I am and my music. “Dumb Blonde” is this bridge between the two worlds a little bit. I felt this when I was writing it last year, and now even more so talking about it in interviews and getting ready for the video to come out. Fantasy felt like coming out of puberty. I felt like I was 17 again and I was coming out as queer, and I was realizing I wanted to do music. While I had a very strong awareness of what I was doing, I did feel driven by something beyond me that developed this tunnel vision of having to keep going forward. I feel like last year I finally woke up and all these things I’d written about had happened. I felt dumbfounded, like I was the luckiest girl in the world. But on the other hand, when everything’s going well, there’s got to be a catch, right? I feel that constantly in my life. But I think at the end of the day, the lesson of this song is “I just got to roll with it and enjoy my night. Because some shit might go down tomorrow, but tonight is tonight.”

Regarding the message of the song, that voice in your head that tells you something must go wrong doesn’t really go away. How do you cope with that voice or learn to roll with it?
It’s sort of accepting the reality, particularly as a creative person or as someone who’s very driven and has way too many Capricorn placements, of knowing that you’re never really going to be satisfied. That was something I’ve reckoned with over the past few years. Even though I’m constantly looking for that next goal, this project has been my light in the distance. And once this is done it’s going to be the next thing and then the next thing. For a while it was Fantasy, and even getting out the door and saying I’m a musician was a huge hurdle to get over, and once it happened I was like, now what? You kind of have to know that there’s always going to be something else that you want or something else that is your new goal. I’ve really had to stop and remind myself that the process is half of it. If you’re only satisfied because of the final result or because you’ve hit a goal post, you’re ignoring like 90% of your day-to-day life. How can you find joy in the process? Thankfully I have a really beautiful, full, abundant life. I have all these beautiful things now, so I’m going to be grateful for that and for being able to pursue this career, to live a full life with ups and downs and to be able to process emotionally through music and create something. I think when you’re in a low spot it’s really easy to doubt yourself and why you’re doing any of this, but unfortunately that’s part of the job. Being an artist is up and down. And frankly, if you’ve never had the downs you probably wouldn’t have a very good album.

Going off of that, I know your life is definitely very busy with wedding photography, Hot Creative and of course music. How is balancing all these different artistic pursuits going for you?
Certainly never a dull moment. It is a very funny dichotomy to be doing the whole Hannah Montana thing. Being a professional by day and then playing shows by night. I have tried to create a separation, because I feel like it helps me compartmentalize and for the sake of being professional. I have found a few of my wedding clients have been very supportive of my music, and sometimes I won’t know that they will have seen my other work and they’ll sort of drop it in the middle of the event. It always feels like I’ve been found out. But who else can say that their wedding photographer is a pop star? I’m very busy with that, but in New York I’m just happy to be working and have a way to build a life for myself. As far as the production company, I really have been funneling all my creative work with other artists and for myself over there. There’s only so much I can get done in 24 hours, but I think that “Dumb Blonde” is a similar team to who we had on the last round of videos. So we’re definitely building up our roster and experience with producing different types and different calibers of videos. We also just got new branding done for both rlyblonde and Hot Creative. So I’m really hoping with the rebrand to remind everybody what’s going on here. Because I really love directing so much. And while I love the rlyblonde universe there’s definitely some things I could try out that maybe wouldn’t fit me, but would fit someone else really well. So I’m hoping to find the right people that are also interested in building that creative world for themselves. 

I know you’re such a visual person, whether it’s your own work or others, so I’m very excited to see what aesthetics you’ll use for these different projects. Going back to “Dumb Blonde,” I know earlier you mentioned you’ve been working with the producer Robbie Guariglia. What went into the inspiration for the sound of “Dumb Blonde?”
When we sat down to start working on this song and the new EP, we threw around a lot of different references. I was in a big 90s moment, so I was listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders, stuff like that. I also was listening to some other more contemporary artists that I love and reading about their influences and going backwards and listening to that music and seeing where that led me. Robbie is a little bit older than me, so he’s got a lot of experience producing, touring and being in bands. It’s nice to have someone else to bounce ideas off of. I could mention one song and then he’ll say, “Oh this reminds me of this” from some band that I’ve never even heard of and then I’ve got a whole new discography that I’m going to be obsessed with for the next month. It’s cool to have another set of ears that is willing to pick my brain like that and spend hours listening to music. I made the demo for “Dumb Blonde” on GarageBand, but I think he did a really good job of hearing the original and building onto it. We’ve had a really good setup with working on this project and we started this song around November, so we’ve spent a lot of time working on it and perfecting everything about it. To have time for music is a gift, so I’ve been really grateful for the collaboration between us and being able to really spend the time with this music to make it sound like how I imagine it in my dreams.

You’ve said this in the past, but you’re someone who loves aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics sometimes. The look of this single screams bubblegum and feminine. What inspired the visuals for “Dumb Blonde?”
At risk of sounding like one of the masses, I’ve always had the Barbie look on the brain. My lore with Legally Blonde goes very deep. I’m very attached to Elle Woods as a being. In my mind, the rlyblonde look is like the Barbie look. We hadn’t really done the classic, all pink moment that I felt like rlyblonde deserved. This felt like the right opportunity, with the dumb blonde of it all. This song is kind of ditzy. It’s kind of stupid. For the video we thought, “How could we have our lead character be this dumb, ditzy character but still somehow find her way into winning?” The music video is definitely Barbie meets horror film, so that’s where we were going with the aesthetic. I love campy. That’s always been something that is very prevalent in my work, and I always really want to have this sense of humor about it. To me the song is a little funny. She is funny. The whole world that she lives in is a little over the top, so this video definitely is more narrative than some of the other videos we’ve done. I really wanted to build out the world that rlyblonde lives in. It’s blending this fantasy world that exists in my brain along with my real life that I’m living. My vision for the aesthetic was definitely Barbie in her dream house living her beautiful, perfect lifestyle.

You speak of rlyblonde as a character. Where does rlyblonde end and where does Carina Allen begin?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Chappell Roan has been in the forefront of music right now, and I’ve always really loved her aesthetic world. I think we have a similar way of thinking about it. She’s expressed recently in interviews that Chappell Roan is very much her drag persona. She’s very different as her own self and I think I’m sort of that way of imagining that rlyblonde is a character. She is this larger than life version of me. As we build out more of the world with the music videos you’ll find these little Easter eggs and things that circle back to old videos. I feel like as we keep going the character gets built up more and more. I could imagine the difference between me and the character is very large and that she has a life of her own, but on the other hand all of the music for me really comes from a very genuine place. It’s all my feelings and emotions and real life experiences. In a way, rlyblonde feels like who I feel like I am on the inside. And I understand that as a human I am a wedding photographer and half the time I’m just in my apartment in sweatpants. But the human experience is very vast. When I step on stage I say, “Hi, my name is Carina and I’m rlyblonde.” So it’s kind of up to interpretation where the line exactly ends. I’m not totally sure yet, but there definitely is a fanciful element to it that gives me the freedom to explore the world that she lives in a way that is not ours. There’s a few different moments in the “Dumb Blonde” video where we establish that her world is not our world.

You say that even though rlyblonde might be this different version of yourself, the music is still from a genuine place. Going off of that, in your music you often talk about common female tropes or stereotypes. There’s this stereotype with dumb blondes as we know – how do you resonate with that stereotype, and how did you use this song to take ownership of that?
It’s kind of like what I was saying before, about tapping into something a long time ago and coming back full circle and realizing what’s actually going on. I feel like at the time I very much felt like I knew what was going on, so it was kind of working for me. I was like, “Okay, sometimes ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes it’s nice to just be like, “I don’t know, I’m just here.” And so I think that being able to tap into what I might dare call a more youthful, free flowing, excited persona…I’m a big Tarot person, so to me it’s very much Page energy. It’s very youthful, not really thinking about the consequences but feeling very passionate and excited. To me “Dumb Blonde” is that. She’s the Page of Cups. She’s a hopeless romantic. Maybe she’s not seeing the red flags because she’s just very excited and she feels very strongly about it. But you kind of need that girl sometimes. And again, the flip side is when you fuck around you find out and you have to build yourself back up again. But I think last year, to me, was very much that energy of becoming tapped in with my inner child again and being very excited and feeling very creative and opening up my world again in this really beautiful way. “Dumb Blonde” is not necessarily like she’s dumb. She’s just willing to find out. She’s willing to live. She’s excited. She’s passionate. She’s going to follow her heart and see where the road takes her. And now coming back around and looking at everything over the past year –  my life, the song, my music career – I’m an adult. I can’t be ignorant all the time. I do have to be responsible for myself. Having both of those people inside me – an innocent girl and an adult, a businesswoman, dare I say the Queen of Pentacles – that’s kind of how my brain works. Thinking in these archetypes and what energy they bring to the table and finding the balance between the two of them.

I know you mentioned an upcoming project earlier. Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about it?
We are working on a new EP. It’s going to be called Star of the Show, and it’s coming out later this year. I was so thrilled for Fantasy, but I’m really excited for this. She’s kind of like Fantasy 2.0. She’s Fantasy back with more confidence and more life experience. I think Fantasy was realizing that I could be all these people. I could put on the performance that you want. I can pretend to be whoever you want to be appealing to you, I know how to do it. That was the sentiment of Fantasy for me, but sort of feeling the frustration of that dynamic with people romantically. Star of the Show is taking the agency of that and being like, “Actually, I’m the star.” I wanted this whole fantasy world for myself and I made it. I pulled it out of thin air and now it’s my life. It’s in front of me. I’m playing shows. I have a beautiful girlfriend. It’s all happened. So I think understanding that my agency and that I did that for myself really fueled this next project and the next version of who rlyblonde is. Now she’s back in and she knows what’s up. She’s ready to rock.

Photo Credit: Eva Zar

Keep up with rlyblonde: Instagram // TikTok // YouTube // Website

Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen is a Chicago-based music journalist and freelance writer. She is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago, having earned a journalism major with a concentration in magazine writing and a minor in music business. Justice regularly contributes artist interviews, On Your Radar features and various other articles for Melodic Magazine, serving as an interviewer, writer and editor. She also writes for several other online magazine publications, including Ghost Cult Magazine, Chicago Music Guide and That Eric Alper, and her work has been featured in Sunstroke Magazine, Fever Dream Zine, ChicagoTalks and the Chicago Reader. Her favorite band is Metallica and her go-to coffee order is an iced vanilla oat milk latte with strawberry cold foam on top.

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