After being discovered at a The Game concert with her sister when she was a teenager, LA based singer-songwriter and electropop maven Colette Carr hasn’t looked back since. Carr has exhibited killer vocals, electronic beats, and serious rapping chops throughout her multiple studio records and EPs and is now set to release a new single, “Play House” this month. 2016 is going to be ‘busy, busy,’ she says, and could be her most exciting year yet.
I read growing up that you were a competitive tennis player and it was your first passion, what was it that brought you into the music industry?
CC — A back injury took my tennis career to a screeching halt, falling in love with music was an accident that I’m very grateful for. I started to freestyle at parties and write funny songs for friends as a hobby, but after jumping on stage at The Game concert at UCLA and freestyling for 5,000 people, I decided to pursue music as a career.
You have quite the story on how you were discovered, can you tell us how it happened and what was going through your mind?
CC — My sister drove in from San Diego to Los Angeles. to try to cheer me up by taking me to see one of my favorite rappers, The Game, but we didn’t have tickets or know how we were going to get in. Somehow, we managed to get in and when The Game was running late, the host asked if anyone in the audience could freestyle. I remember my sister putting her hand on my butt and physically pushing me on stage, I was thinking, “No, we don’t even have wristbands and will get kicked out, let’s just lay low.” Next thing I know, the microphone is in my hand, and I’m making up sentences that rhyme. It was a very surreal night and I knew on that stage that I wanted to make music and perform songs, and immediately started working on a plan to figure out how to make that happen.
How did you cope with your quick transition from tennis to music?
CC — I wouldn’t say it was a “quick” transition, I was 16 when my doctor informed me that I could not play tennis anymore, and 18 when I freestyled at The Game concert. There was a solid two years of wandering around unclear about what I wanted to do with my time and I used many of the skills tennis gave me in my music career.
With your earlier projects like The Skitszo Collection, you focused on rapping and in your later work, you’ve slowed things down and are singing more. Aside from the obvious differences between rapping and singing, do you have a preference on what one you like more? Is there one form that comes easier to you than the other?
CC — I feel like I get to strap on leather thigh high boots and a red cape before I rap. It is like a giant super hero bada** fantasy, and the more I realized that, the more I craved vulnerability, which is why I decided to sing on my new record. I love to rap, but singing gives me the butterflies in such a scary way. To try and sum it up, rap is the sexy tatted guy with a dark past that you’ll never bring home to meet your parents, and singing feels like he might be the one (blush emoji).
Music is a very intimate thing, where do draw your inspiration from for a song and do you find it difficult to write your lyrics and share your personal life experiences with your fans through your work?
CC — I get my inspiration from the way I feel, though experiences that I live or fantasize about, and sometimes from the people around me that share their stories in the studio or that I saw the night before or morning before a session. Sometimes the song I start to write ends up being incredibly different from the song it ends up being, through key/tempo changes or theme changes, and other times I just have to share a story that’s eating away at me. The experience is always so different every time, that is what keeps me completely enthralled, and borderline addicted to it. It is never mundane or boring and I love it. Writing music is my favorite part of this crazy puzzle.
You’ve mentioned The Cure, The Smiths, Led Zepplin, Talking Heads, Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg as some of your favorite artists to listen to. With such an eclectic list of musicians, what do you take away from their music and do you find ways to incorporate it into your work?
CC — Every CD I’ve purchased, every song I have ever heard (even the ones I hate), they influence me in some way. I never draw directly from an artist that inspires me. I like to fill up a giant well of life experience and music that I love and take tiny sips from it when I am in the studio. But it is always subconscious and I’ve never said, ‘Hey, I love the way Eminem says ‘yo’ before he starts his rap. I’m going to try that.’ Every now and then, I’ll listen back to a track where I start off with a “yo” and smile before I know exactly where it must have come from. I don’t know if that makes sense, inspiration is such a weird thing to explain. I just live and let it all run thought me and I try not to over think too much. Turning off that part of my brain makes it so easy to stay present and creative.
What has been the most memorable thing that has happened to you since you have been in the music industry?
CC — I was on my way home early one morning still so tired for the night before, yawning, barely functioning and flipping through radio channels for something to listen to on the drive when I randomly heard my song, “Static” playing on Sirius XM. I almost pissed my pants and I went from being super groggy to ALERT, ALIVE AND EXCITED! That was such a special moment for me and I didn’t Snapchat the moment or take photos, I just soaked it in like a perfect rainbow glitter bubble bath of love and gratitude.
The music business is notorious for being tough (especially for females), what are some of the challenges that you’ve encountered?
CC — It’s definitely “tough” and of course I have my horror stories, some that I wouldn’t have experienced if I had “Johnson” or a “Peter” as my grandma calls it, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided that I wanted to make music.
Take us through what an average day in the life of Colette Carr is like.
CC — I have zero routines, so it is really hard to answer that question. I wake up early check my calendar, according to its contents. I either snag some more zZZs or wake up shower brush my teeth (the whole deal), then I make it to my appointment exactly five minutes early. I crave yogurt and soup constantly, and make that for myself at least three times a week, write songs, check my socials, answer emails, talk to goers, take selfies and post embarrassing Snapchats etc.
What are some of the things that you like to do in your free time?
CC — Work! (just kidding) I love to hang out with my dogs and take them to the park, or cook, read, paint, hang with friends, go bowling, see a movie, Netflix binge (right now, I am watching Gilmore Girls for the first time ever, and I’m combing that with season 13 of Project Runway).
You have your new single, “Play House” coming out in January. What can you tell us about it and what can fans anticipate from you in 2016?
CC — I am so excited about “Play House” and even more excited about the music video I made with Shane Drake. It is my favorite song to perform live and to dance around to blast in the car. I just love it and can’t wait for the goers to hear it and love it with me. 2016 is going to be busy, busy and I will be posting all about it, I can’t wait!