I have wanted to interview urban folk/pop singer/songwriter Edie Carey since seeing her in concert at Cayamo this past February. She’s got a new album set for release by late October 2010, called Bring The Sea. In preparation for its release (and thanks to Carey for her time [as well as Concerts in Your Home founder Fran Snyder for putting me in contact with Carey]) we discussed her music in this brief email interview.
Tim O’Shea: When a singer/songwriter goes to a country like Tanzania for two weeks on vacation as you recently did, do you typically get inspired to write a song or two. Or when you take a vacation do you decide to give your songwriting part of your brain a break as well?
Edie Carey: I definitely relished the opportunity to get on a plane without my guitar in tow for once. I love my job, but it can make me a bit single-minded sometimes. It’s good to remember the things that I loved to do before I ever started doing this….camping, exploring other countries, learning about history, architecture, science….It was a great mental break after finishing the new album.
O’Shea: You’ve got a new album set to release this fall, is all the studio work done or are you still in that stage of the process? Of the myriad musician friends you have, care to mention some that will be appearing on the release?
Carey: It’s being mastered right now, and we’ve just started on the artwork. It’s called “Bring The Sea” and it will be released in late October. Some guest artists are Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips from Toad the Wed Sprocket, Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls), Sarah Sample (Editor’s note: I interviewed Sample in March), Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Laura Veirs). They were incredible!
O’Shea: Who did you get to produce this new album and what motivated you to tap them for the project?
Carey: I worked with Tacoma,Washington-based producer Evan Brubaker. He produced my album When I Was Made and I was anxious to work with him again. I have known him for years, and I think he is an equally brilliant songwriter and producer…I trust him completely.
O’Shea: How hard was it to decide how many and which cuts to put on the upcoming release?
Carey: It wasn’t that hard, actually. I wrote the songs with certain central themes in mind, and so they kind fell together. It was pretty clear right away which songs didn’t fit.
O’Shea: Back in early May you sought help for the upcoming “On and On” music video, when you were “seeking funny, poignant, sweet photos & videos of MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS”. What kind of response have you gotten so far–and how much fun is it to do these kind of creative projects connected to your music?
Carey: I think we’ve gotten some wonderful submissions, although most of them have been going directly to my video director, so it will fall to her to decide which ones suit the piece best. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. It’s such a cool way to connect even more with the great folks who have been so supportive of my music.
O’Shea: How has your new marriage impacted your songwriting (or sources of inspiration for songwriting–if at all)?
Carey: I think being happy in love forces me to look outside myself for things to write about. It pushes me to find other things to write about than a broken heart….I am inspired to write songs more like short stories, and to try on other people’s lives in each song…even if I am singing from the first person, I am often singing from another’s point of view.
O’Shea: As a creative force, you are part of the growing majority of musicians that work without a net–without a record company. With your last album and this next one, you directly know a great deal of how much support and interest there is in the project by asking fans to pre-order the release. And in this still struggling economy, how gratifying is it to see the level of support you’re able to garner from your fans–in a time when it’s harder to part with one’s cash?
Carey: It still amazes me that it’s possible to make records this way. This is my 3rd time doing it, and while I did raise less than last time, I was still wowed by folks’ generosity, even when everyone is truly feeling the pinch. Perhaps music and art feel even more important to us in a time when it feels a bit like the color is drained from life…it’s an escape we all still seem to need, I guess. I know I do
O’Shea: What is it about house concerts that you enjoy the most–the people you meet/perform for, the places it allows you to go (you’ve got a house concert in England later this year) or some unmeasurable metric of happiness (or all of the above? )?
Carey: I just love the connection with people. I love being able to deliver my songs without distractions, without a drunk guy at the bar or crappy sound, or an abyss of darkness between me and the audience. I wrote these songs in order that they might resonate with others, too – and to be able to see that actually happen up close is so incredibly cool! I also love playing without a mike – being able to move freely, and let the guitar and my voice sound like what they are supposed to actually sound like.
Carey: He was such a wonderful soul. So warm and open and excited about music – and the fact that he was willing to come play on my second record up in the middle of nowheresville, Maine just blew me away. He was such a passionate musician…He meant every note he played.
O’Shea: I’m sure you’re flattered by the comparisons to Shawn Colvin, but are you looking forward to the day someone says of a new artist “_______ is this generation’s Edie Carey” –or do you wish critics would not have to say “Artist A is just like Artist Z”.
Carey: Ha! That would be pretty cool, but I’m not counting the days until that happens I am totally flattered by comparisons, and I just think that’s a necessary part of folks being able to give a point of reference when describing someone’s music. I really don’t mind it at all.
O’Shea: Do you have any recent or upcoming guest appearances on anyone else’s album? (feel free to skip this if it distracts the focus from your upcoming album)
Carey: I co-wrote a song that will be on Shawn Mullins’ new album. It’s called Can’t Remember Summer, and I just love the song. It’s so haunting. I wanted to record it on my new record, but it just didn’t fit. I haven’t heard his version yet, but I am sure it’s stunning. I didn’t sing on it, but it’s wonderful to have a co-write on there!
O’Shea: You (and by logical extension, your music) do an incredible job cultivating (and keeping) your fanbase. How frustrating is it when you and your fanbase work hard for a victory (like the Ourstage/Lilith push) only to have the rug pulled out from under you?
Carey: I feel very lucky to have wonderful fans, and I truly feel like that is more important than any one contest. I was disappointed to not win, but what can you do? I let myself have a moment of disappointment, and then I remember how many things that haven’t worked out over the years have always somehow turned into something even better. Katie Todd (who is playing) is such a great artist, and this year it’s her turn, and it’s so well-deserved! My time will come when it does.