Getting personal with CARSON
Tell us about yourself and your music
I spent my childhood in Chicago proper, and then my teenage years up in the burbs for highschool.
My parents raised me on a lot of classic rock and synth-pop of the ’80s with bands like The Cure,
The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, Fleetwood Mac, Softcell… I also loved Max Martin, Dr. Luke
and Benny Blanco’s reign of the early 2000’s pop and I wanted my sound to be a mixture of both. I
started producing my music when I was fourteen because I was a strong writer and singer, and
buying beats or licensing somebody else’s work didn’t interest me. When I was eighteen, I
moved to New York City as a musical theatre student attending CAP21, but when I graduated I
wanted to give music a shot, so I submitted DEMOS of an EP I had written to DEG Records and six
months after graduating signed with them. I spent a year producing and writing my EP Nº1, until
June when I released my first single and music video, ‘Good Love’ and then released the EP a month
Talk to us more about your latest release
My latest release is a record called ‘Once Again’. It has had quite the journey becoming
what it is today! I wrote it back in 2016 as a piano ballad called ‘Barely Know Me’ and then this past
fall I started rewriting it, producing it as an uptempo glam-rock anthem with the plan to shop it to an
artist I was put in touch with over at Republic Records. His team sat with it for a bit which was cool.
There was a lot of back and forth about what was going on with it, but ultimately they ended up
deciding to go in an RnB direction for his next record. So I kept it, worked on it more and decided to
What inspired you to write this release?
Warren Buffet has a quote that I think sums up this release and record as a whole, and that is: ‘I like to take things out of my life, and reintroduce them later’. I wrote this record about a guy I was seeing at the time. It was a bit of a scandal because he was pretty well known in the industry I was in, and nobody could know we were seeing each other or it would’ve been trouble. Things eventually came to an end, and I was upset so I wrote a song about it, and that was ‘Barely Know Me/Once Again’. I kept it in my pocket for a few years and then released it as a single with a rockstar music video. The way it worked out coming out right after my last record, ‘The Middle’ was very serendipitous
Describe the writing and recording process
My writing and recording process differs for each track. I have some songs that I put out years after I’ve written them such as ‘Good Love’, or ‘Wild With You’.. and then others that I write and record and send to my manager John in a week, such as ‘The Middle’, or ‘Uneasy’. It just depends on how I’m feeling and where I’m at with the mixing.
Any plans to hit the road?
Interestingly enough, I’ve been talking with my manager and the band I play shows with about possibly going on the road this fall or winter. Nothing is set in stone yet, or laid out; it’s just something fun to think about for now. I’ve never done it before, but I’m getting a ton of plays on the west coast so I think it could be really fun. A dream of mine is to be able to go on tour outside of the country so fingers crossed that will happen!
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I brand myself and music to stand out in several ways. The first one that comes to mind out of all of them is that I’m a producer. Something I get a lot is that my music “sounds expensive”. I’m always flattered by this because my records are produced in my bedroom or living room, not in a studio that costs a fortune with fees or paying producers or any of that. It’s just me in my living room with headphones and a keyboard… and probably some Japanese take out. I’ve worked hard and gotten damn good at what I do and that’s one of the things I brand myself as. And to be honest, there are not a lot of people in the music scene like that, not to mention being a top producer in the LGBT community.
Who have you been listening to lately?
So I just turned 24, I celebrated on Fire Island with some friends and made a playlist that I’ve sort of just had that on repeat. On it is Dagny, MARINA, Ariana Grande, Bleachers, MUNA, Robyn, Fickle Friends, Lauv, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, Sugar Babes, The Japanese House, Grimes, Massive Attack, and Semi Precious Weapons. That’s the party playlist. Other than that I’ve been listening to Chloe x Halle, Lou Phelps, Sade, Brandon Flowers, Billy Idol, Little Joy, Patrick Martin, Rob Houchen (I really adore him because he came from a musical theatre background too, and has a really nice way of merging pop and musical theatre) Everything But The Girl and SOHN.
Who are your biggest influences?
I love singers, but producers and writers have my heart and have been the minds behind the songs that have influenced me the most. That is Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Ammo, Emile Haynie, Greg Wells, Timbaland for producers. Justin Tranter, Justin Parker, James Fauntleroy, Moses Sumney, Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie McKee, Sia, Jessica Cornish, and Amy Winehouse for songwriters.
Tell us about your passions
This is gonna be a boring answer, but music gets me out of bed in the morning. Other passions include painting, and theatre but that’s about it. I’m pretty mono focused and obsessed with my work and art. There’s not a minute that it’s not on my mind, and I’m always keeping my third eye open for inspiration. I’ve never loved anything as much as music.
What else is happening next in your world?
More music is next. I had a bit of a brutal start to summer. I lost my job, a sold-out/sponsored show of mine got canceled, and I lost somebody I love. All of these things hit within a very short quick time of each other, so I’ve spent a lot of summer dealing with that. It was like I woke up in a different world one day, and very sobering to remember that what you have one day you’re not always guaranteed to have the next. I’ve written some really interesting music about it, with a sound unlike anything I’ve ever released which is exciting for me. But I’m not rushing it, and going off of my process it could be years before anything I’ve written this summer is released. But you can be sure, more music is next. I’m a fish out of the water without it!
Thanks for an awesome interview, John DeLaTorre
Connect with CARSON
Website: http://carsonmusic.coFacebook: http://facebook.com/carsonrmusicInstagram: http://instagram.com/carsonrmusicTwitter: http://twiter.com/carsonrmusicYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CarsonRyans/featured