INTERVIEW: Lorelei Carlson

Thanks to my lovely gig working as an interviewer at Pop-Nation, I got the chance to ask an incredible up-and-comer, Lorelei Carlson, some questions. The girl is tremendously talented, but what I like most about her is her real and frank personality. There are no smoke and mirrors with her -- she tells it how it is, and writes lyrics that are both popalicious but still introspective. I may have found my new not-so-guilty pleasure! Thanks to Lorelei for her time, and as always, thanks to Ms. beE! :) Check out Lorelei online for yourself, via her Myspace, Official site, or Twitter.

You have lived a very international lifestyle growing up, and have stated that your exposure to various cultures has had supreme influence on you musically. Where you have you lived growing up?
I've lived in Mexico, Australia, Peru, The United States (Northern Virginia + Philadelphia), Colombia, Switzerland and Chile.

Your music runs the gamut in terms of style from uptempo pop to raw emotional ballads. What song that you've written so far means the most to you personally?
Honestly, I think my most personal songs haven't been recorded yet. I plan to hopefully release them in the near future when I have the funds! :)

You have a very versatile and multifaceted sound that lends itself to songs of all kinds of genres, and you clearly enjoy experimenting. Would you say your spectrum of genres is showing off the different sides of your personality?
Of course. I'm glad you pointed that out. Everyone has multiple personalities or "alter-egos", if you will. It all has to do with emotions and mental states. Each song I've written was created with a different state of mind...different periods in my life. I have an array of influences as well and that takes a big toll on my artistry, but it facilitates my expression. It would be awfully boring if all my music sounded the same.

Your songwriting is very honest and deep, something that is incredibly lacking for the most part in commercial pop -- striving for catchiness AND lyrical meaning. What is your writing process like? Do you create lyrics first and then melody or vice-versa?
It can go both ways. It happens pretty organically, but I think my thought process relies on having a melody first and foremost. From then on I can usually construct lyrics to fit around it. I usually have to be motivated by the chords of the song and mood it transpires.

Do you write mostly from personal experiences?
Yes and no. Sometimes I will write from other people's experience or a concocted story.

Your song "Unsigned" puts out a very bold statement about the current music scene. Would you call this an overall mantra for your career, or a reaction to personal experiences?
Well...It's both. I mainly just wanted to create awarness about what the independant artist goes through sometimes. Of course it's drawn from my own personal experience, but also for my desire and need for success. That is something everyone can relate to, regardless of whether you're a musician or not. Above all, this song (although passionate and sympathetic) was meant to be sarcastic and funny at the same time. Kind of like dark comedy.

Are you in pursuit of a major/indie record deal or do you feel you are best suited as an unsigned musician? What are your thoughts on the unsigned vs. signed artist debate?
Being unsigned is a joke. Unless you have the funds to finance an entire album, marketing campaign, promotion, tour, etc. then I'd say you're better off that way. But 90% of unsigned artists do not have this fortune. It's a battle between ramen noodle soup for lunch or studio money. Nonetheless, everything has it's pro's and con's. You get to keep the rights to all your songs and royalties....BUT there are no royalties if you're not selling. Which brings us back to funding and hence...the label. It's all quite political. As for me, I'd LOVE to ultimately be signed by a major label.

As an unsigned artist, do you feel now (as in 2009) it is easier or harder to "break in"?
I think it will always be hard regardless of the decade, especially because pop music is so commercialized. But with the internet boom, every band, singer and rapper has a Myspace, so it's almost become mediocre to be an "artist." Now you're competing with every person on your block, not just the ones on the radio. Heck, back in the nineties, Britney Spears' demo tape could consist of a Whitney Houston karaoke cassette and get her signed to Jive Records. Now a days, you have to have the entire package cut and dry before you can at all consider shopping it. There's no such thing as "development" anymore, since record labels don't want to spend the money on that.

What do you feel is the biggest problem with the music industry as is today?
The biggest problem with the music industry today is that I'm not signed yet.

You list an incredibly varied array of musical influences, from Christina Aguilera to Marilyn Manson to John Lennon. If you could cover any song by these three artists and give it your own flair, what would it be?
Gosh, any Christina song would make me happy. Although I'm afraid I couldn't do her voice justice. I'd love to cover "Working Class Hero" or "Imagine" by John Lennon. And as for Marilyn, probably "The nobodies".

Given the fact that you are fluent, do you have any plans to record in Spanish?
I've recorded a bilingual track that includes an English verse and a Spanish verse, but the project was put on an indefinite hiatus. I'd love to record a Spanish album in the future though.

Your 2007 demo release, "Without You", was produced by Phil Nicolo. How did you meet him, and what was the process like?
I was introduced to him through my then-manager. It was a new and interesting process from which I learned a lot!

What's one random tidbit about your personality that most of your fans wouldn't know?
I'm absolutely paranoid about everything imaginable. I'll leave it at that, as I don't want to freak anybody out.

Thank you POP Nation for your support -- Lorelei

1 comment

Paul said...

Love her comment about record companies not wanting to spend money anymore - so true. I suppose in a way though it gives artists the opportunity to be more creative with their "whole product" but that does run the risk of you being seen as too "niche" and not getting signed whereas the old way Lorelei refers to probably led to more malleability in getting you to the person the record company wants you to be! Great read.

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