INTERVIEW: Carol C Reflects on the Seven Years Creating Her Debut EP, "Seven"
Electronic-soul artist, Carol C is poised to release her debut solo EP, Seven this Friday, July 12th. The seven songs on the aptly-titled EP chronicle the seven years that it took Carol to complete it, each track serving as a journal entry of sorts. A long time in the making, Seven is an incredibly cathartic and personal release, and finds Carol not only growing as a musician an artist throughout each track, but transforming as a person as well.
Carol C is best known as a member of electronic-soul group Si*Sé, which gained the attention of Talking Heads' David Byrne in 2001, who signed them to his label Luaka Bop and brought them out on tour. With her debut solo album set for release this Friday, Carol C is also working on setting up some West Coast tour dates and will be playing a release show tonight, July 11th at the new NUBLU in NYC.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for anyone who might be hearing your music for the first time?
I was born and raised in New York City. I’ve been in love with music since I can remember. As a kid I sang at my local church and then went on to study opera at La Guardia High School. I became a DJ after graduating college and then through the NYC nightlife scene met a group of musicians and started a band called Si*Sé. We were signed to David Byrne’s (Talking Heads) record label Luaka Bop after he saw us perform at a small club in the East Village. We also had the honor of touring with him. It was an amazing experience having David Byrne as a mentor.
You’re currently gearing up to release your debut solo EP, Seven this month! What are you most excited for listeners to hear on the EP?
These songs are like journal entries for me, each one narrating a different time of my life during the seven years I created them. Being that is took so long to make and release the EP, I’m just super excited to finally be sharing it.
As your debut solo release, did you have any big goals in mind when you first started working on Seven?
I didn’t have any specific goals in mind. I wasn’t even sure how I would release the songs. When I wrote “All My Love” it felt like I was entering the beginning of a new chapter in my life. They say the body and mind change every seven years, maybe there’s really something to that. It just felt like the right time to release what I had completed, which were these 7 songs.
Are there any important lessons that you’ve learned with your other projects that has helped you when working on your new music?
I think DJing has influenced me so much when it comes to songwriting and producing. I’m constantly on the search for new music to keep my DJ sets fresh and interesting. I find this process really inspiring. It’s almost like research. I also get to see what different crowds respond to musically. I feel like this inevitably has had a big influence on me and my writing sensibility.
The EP has been a long time in the making, too. What has been the most challenging aspect of working on it?
For me what usually delays the process is the songwriting, more specifically the lyrics. I typically write the melodies first and then the lyrics. The melodies seem to come to me more easily. Finding the “right” words to express what I’d like to say and have them phonetically fit nicely into the melodies I’ve already created, can be challenging for me. I also have to wait to be inspired to write and that can be pretty unpredictable.
So far, you’ve released “All My Love” and “Hide Away” from the EP. Can you tell us a little bit about these songs? What inspired them?
One night I was over at my producer, Justin’s place, listening to music and having wine when an instrumental came on. It happened to be a new track he was working on. I started singing a melody over it and suddenly the lyrics just came to me which hardly ever happens. We immediately went into the studio and recorded it. That’s how “All My Love” was born. It was meant to only be a “demo” but we weren’t able to recreate the moment so we used that original version on the record.
I wrote “Hide Away” during a time when a friend was going through a challenging time. I found myself giving him advice in my head and that’s how the lyrics were written. He wasn’t really in a place to receive this advice so I decided to put them into a song.
With Seven out soon, do you have any shows coming up or tour dates in the works?
I have a Record Release show/party on July 11th at the new NUBLU in NYC. Still working on putting together a West Coast tour for around September.
Any other big plans for the rest of the summer?
I just toured Spain for a few weeks so planning on staying in New York City till we go back out for the West Coast tour. I’m currently working on a few side projects that will be released early next year on Wonderwheel Recordings.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you! My pleasure.