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Q. How long has music played an important part of your life?
A. Music has always been important in my life. Before I was thought of music was my destiny. My mother met my father by hearing him play the guitar, they sang together and then I came to be. As a little girl my Dad would play the guitar and sing to me, my mother sang gospel in church. I remember standing by the 8 track player listening to the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, the Eagles, Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Otis Redding, Patti Labelle and so many other greats.
Q. What drove you to R& B in particular?
A. Emotion is what drew me into R&B music. The elements of blues, passion, sex, disappointment, desire, uncertainty, love…all these emotions are where I come from artistically. The level of sincerity I operate on keeps me honest, humble, and an emotional open book.
Q. What is your process in making a song? Does it start with a melody or does it start with the words or maybe even a situation or emotion you are experiencing?
A. My creative process works in its own in a way. It’s like I see pictures of how I feel about things roll through my mind. I live and experience moments in my life, and it’s those feelings that come out as poetry, drawings, melodic tunes and hums. I’ll hear a car zoom, or a bird tweet, water running…. all these sounds inspire me to consider musical arrangements as well as a mode for a song. You usually write from personal experience, but I can develop a song off imagination as well. Not only do I sing R&B, rap, skat, country, gospel, classical, opera, but I also write, compose, arrange, direct, produce, and engineer music.
Q. While most people like to throw shade I notice you collaborate with a lot of people and really support other artist in your community, can you tell briefly about some other major artists and up and coming people you have worked or connected with?
A. I do love to support independent artistry/ local artists, not only because I’m one, but because independent music is some of the most sincere and untainted music left on this planet. Independent music is much more true to the artists own self without the influence of the big music machines agendas in the sound, content and image. Some of my favorite collaborations have been with up and coming independents such as Young May Bishop, Yakk Tuggle(rip), C E O Newburg Boogie, Killa Sen, Louisville’s K-Nine, Eddie Roe, Giovanni Swam, Elephant Room, Fiji Waters and countless others. I deeply respect the bonds I make with those whom I share my musical gift with and I cherish those creative moments.
Q. I love “I Told You”, is it going to be on the album and if not can you tell us a little of what to expect with the album?
A. My first single off the album is “I Told You”, but on the album you will get the live version played by my band, The UnXpected. “Ruby in the Rough” is a heavily hip hop influenced R&B album, with neo soul undertones, gospel harmonies, and unexpected points of view. This album goes from hard hip hop vibe to easy listening grown folk mode. The title of the album explains my life in a nutshell…. a ruby isn’t a diamond, but it’s still pretty and still valuable, in the rough means the struggle in this world and in this hateful industry as well as the struggle to find a good relationship. I’m big, red, not tiny, but still worthy.
Q. As an independent artist can you tell us what the process has been like, getting the album together?
A. This album has been a 17 year process. I’ve had to live through the heartbreak, the love, the loss of love, the disappointment, embarrassment, the joy, the passion…it took time, but the money has been another issue. I’m a single mother and my two children and the household comes first. I live on a very low income and the proper amount of money needed to properly print up this project has been hard to come by. No one has assisted me in my efforts to complete this album, so it’s been very difficult being patient and committed to put the respect into this project. I deeply believe in “Ruby in the Rough” and its ability to be received well by modern women all over the world. We all tend to fall short, we all have things we need to work on, but we all deserve to be loved and to love without limit.
We wish her the best of luck and planning to catch a live performance when Carri comes to California to promote the album.
Photo courtesy of: Babacar Sambe Photography- Graphics