We had the good fortune of connecting with Carly Carroll and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carly, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Some of my happiest moments are when I’m actually embracing simplicity. A lot of times I find myself walking this line between obsessing over the things I don’t have, and actually appreciating what is right in front of me. When I’m grounded in presence and I’m seeing the value of all the beautiful things around me, I’m happy. I was raised on 10 acres of land in a small town in north Texas, so being outside in nature feels like home to me. Nature is so chaotic and esoteric, yet at the same time it’s all placed exactly where it needs to be. It’s a constant reminder that true happiness comes not from the chase but from the being. I’m by no means an expert at this, but it’s nice to know that it’s always there for me when I need it. I also have an 8 month old kitten named Joni, who has brought so much joy into my life. I named her after one of my favorite musicians, Joni Mitchell who was also huge on using nature for artistic inspiration. I’m always amazed at how “with the world” my kitten is. She notices every single little sound and movement, but at the same time can be totally content with looking outside the window for hours. I also love acoustic pianos and my amazing family and support system who constantly shows me the value of love without conditions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have song journals from when I was 5 years old. I remember writing songs about how my best friend had hurt my feelings because she stole my pencil or some other trivial experience that at the time felt like the end of the world.. Throughout my whole entire life, I’ve used song writing as a way to make sense of the feelings that I’m experiencing. I’ve kept it a secret for most of my life because of how personal it’s always felt, and to be completely honest, I’m absolutely terrified of releasing my EP in the coming months because of how intimate the stories that I’m telling feel. At the same time, I’m overcome with excitement to share this work with the world. I think that a huge part of being a creator is putting your own ego and fears of other peoples judgment aside so that you can let your work be what it’s supposed to be. Our world has become this place where we are all addicted to the idea of being “significant”. I have found that nothing ruins my ability to create more than chasing after the worlds standard of significance, instead of just trusting in my own intrinsic creativity. The best artists are the ones who are constantly growing their skill set, and could care less about what the world thinks about their art, trusting that the people who need their art will find it. I also really struggle with that last part, and if you feel the same way then please know that you are not alone!
Nothing has helped me more professionally than persistence. When I made the decision that I wanted to start gigging, I spent about 3 hours a day for 3 months researching the industry and emailing venues. I do not think that there is a winery in the DFW area that has not received an email from me. I didn’t hear anything back from any venues for about 3 months, but continued to send email after email until eventually people started saying yes. My booking rates went from nothing to being booked a month in advance over the span of maybe 10 days. I don’t know why things work this way, but I know that it wouldn’t have happened if I gave up in month 2.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was raised north of the DFW area, so we’ll start there and work our way to Dallas.
The first thing we would have to do is go Kayaking at the Lake Ray Roberts Lake. I cannot explain the feeling of you and your best friend chilling on a kayaking in the middle of this huge body of water and having deep, existential talks. It kinda just feels like the world doesn’t even really exist. Then when you realize that you have to paddle back and the world very much does exist again. After that, we’d travel down to Denton, TX to the Recycled Books, which in my opinion is the best book store in the whole entire world, and then get drinks at Steve’s Wine Bar and listen to live music, or skip the drinks and get ice cream at Beth Maries. You can spend a whole entire day exploring downtown Mckinney so that definitely gets a mention. The next day we would travel down to Dallas and start the day at Halcyon in Lower Greenville, then go Clyde Warren park and the Dallas Museum of Art, then we’ll probably need more coffee because we’ll be tired so we’ll hit up either La La Land or The Front Porch, then dinner somewhere in Bishop Arts!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shoutout my amazing family for all of their encouragement as I began gigging. I literally would not have an instrument if it weren’t for my Dad, because he gave me his keyboard to use for gigs. They are constantly surprising me at my gigs, and my Dad still calls at least once a week to encourage me to keep on writing. When I first began emailing venues about gigs, I remember feeling really discouraged because I didn’t hear anything for about 3 months. My parents were constantly encouraging me to keep on trying. I don’t think my life would look the way that it does now if it weren’t for their constant support and love throughout all of this.
I would also love to shoutout the unbelievable support system that I was given during my time at college. I was apart of the Abilene Christian University theatre program, and the people that I have met through my time there have absolutely changed my life. ACU also taught me a lot about what it means to create art not for my sake, but for arts sake and for Gods sake. I had to take classes on interpreting different kinds of art, which I have found has given me a really unique perspective on what it really means to be creative.