Interview with Karly C

Divine Magazine
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Karly C, born Karly Coleman from Hamilton Square, NJ, launched her music career in 2016. The self-taught guitarist, bass and piano player co-wrote and performed five songs for the hit television show Dance Moms (Lifetime). Just two years later, Karly signed a production music publishing deal with Warner Chappell/BMG; she made her debut with a 10-song collection titled TAKE ME AS I AM. Her first taste of Pop radio success spawned in 2019, when the title track, “Take Me As I Am,” hit heavy rotation on SiriusXM (Venus Channel).

Karly followed with “You And Your Whatever” and “Another Drink Or Three;” both singles crossed over into the country radio format to enjoy momentum on the MusicRowchart.

Introducing Adele, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Sia, as her influences, stylistically, Karly also leans toward 1980s hair bands and female rockers such as Joan Jett and Heart.

Karly worked with Japanese EDM producer, Westie Seb, to record the 2021 single “Taste Of You” which can be heard on radio stations throughout the U.S. She also makes a special vocal appearance on the pop dance track, “Another Taste Of You” [produced by Jason Nevins (“Cruise”/ Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly)] scheduled to be released later this year.

Taking a turn in creative direction, Karly is currently in the studio recording her next EP; the project is stocked with pop/punk originals in a vein similar to Avril Lavigne.

Who inspired you to make music?

No one person, in particular, inspired me; just more that I grew up in a household where my mom played music constantly–whether 90s country, oldies, disco, or current stuff.   I think my inspiration is a melting pot of sorts.

What was the inspiration for writing your new/recent single; what is the song about?

My new single, “I Was Gonna Love You” is an idea that I came up with one day just noodling around on the piano. I was thinking about my bar gigs and thought of a scenario where a singer was performing and instantly falls in love with a complete stranger who asks if she would sing while he plays her guitar. Of course, I needed to add some heat! To complicate the situation, the stranger already had a girlfriend who he left at the bar to go play with the singer. So “prince charming” turns the world’s worst cheater! To make matters worse, the singer instigates and ignites the situation by saying “you two just don’t seem to quite fit; with the intent to steal him away.

How would you describe your style and the music that you create/record/perform?

My music is definitely a crossover; blending country, pop and adult contemporary sounds.

What is your creative process like (in both music and writing)?

I usually don’t have any set agenda to write. I just kind of sit at the piano and noodle around, humming a melody until a concept for lyrics comes to mind. Then I send a rough concept of just piano and vocals to my producer Dylan in Nashville and he turns it into an amazing production with the lending hand of talented session players and background singers. Then, I sing on top of the track to add vocals.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Ughhhh…well, it’s certainly helped independent artists, like me, to get our music out there without having the backing of a label. The Internet is a platform that offers endless opportunities for new fans to discover your music; that’s immeasurable. But…(everything always comes with a catch, right? Lol), with social media platforms being such visual marketing tools, you not only have to be a songwriter and artist, but you also have to be a content creator on a daily basis just to gain followers.  It’s time consuming, which is a bit self-defeating in some ways because if we’re placing concentration on social media content, that takes valuable time and creative energy away from creating music.

What led you to become a music artist and what advice can you give to others aspiring to make it?  What makes you confident in your decision?

For me, it was just a matter of doing what I love; purely as an artist. I really don’t like the fame side of it; I wasn’t writing or recording music for that reason. I’d rather just create music and then sing my songs live to larger audiences now and then, just the same way that I do at my bar gigs. My show isn’t a pre-planned stage show; the audience is just as much of a part of a show as I am and engaging them in the conversation.

In your opinion, how do artists in this industry stay on top of the game when faced with so much competition? What’s the secret to “rising to the top” to become successful?

Wow…hard to say. We have amazing artists and singers (like Adele, Pink and Sia) who keep it simple and stay true to who they are by just putting out amazing music and live shows. Then, we have the complete opposite, entertainers who are just “acts”– where it’s more of how much of a spectacle the artist can be to do outrageous things to put on a “show.” That’s why I always say that I was born in the wrong era. I would much rather have been an artist in the 70s and 80s when 90% of the entertainers were singer/songwriters and strong vocal performers; like the Eagles, Whitney Houston, Martina McBride, and Michael Bolton, etc.

When do you feel like you will have become successful?

When I can officially quit my day job and do music 100% of the time! (LOL) But seriously, connecting with people and seeing them singing along to my lyrics; that’s really what it’s all about. It was also amazing hearing my songs on the radio and watching the group known as the “Minis” on Dance Moms dance to my song on TV.  I guess things like that also sort of help validate the energy that I’ve put into my music and career.  …And the day I sing on an arena stage will most definitely be an “I’ve finally arrived” moment!

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

I’d remove all of the visible social media stats so industry people go back to using their ears to “hear” (not see) the potential in an artist or song. It’s the most ridiculous thing my manager and I have heard over and over (“what are her numbers like?”) before they’ve even listened to a note. Not to mention, the endless amount of shady services out there that allow artists to buy followers and streams to make the artist “appear” to have a large fan base.  Are we making music or playing a video game where the “numbers” win?

What about your music is unconventional, unusual, or a standout among other artists/recordings?

I tend to sing on the “and” as in the tempo. One…” and”… two…” and”… The other thing I do a lot is stick to the same three or four chords but change the combination up throughout the song. For example, I’ll invert the chords on the chorus from what they were in the verse. I’m not sure that it’s exactly unusual, but maybe uncommon. ?

Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it simply gradually evolve in whatever direction it found? 

My music career has definitely evolved over time. I never had a set direction, but started out more introspective…singing about empowerment and being strong, overcoming life’s challenges, etc. Once I got all of that out of my system, I wrote more of the usual relationship-themed songs. Not about mine in particular, just scenarios that popped into my head from observing others and life in general.

What do you enjoy most about being an artist/performer?

I enjoy the recording and production process.  I can spend hours on end in the studio and lose all track of time. I not only write and play keyboards and guitar, but for some projects, I create my own productions entirely using FL Studio (software) and ProTools (software). I have five pop-punk songs (kind of like Avril Lavigne meets Bowling for Soup) that I’ve been writing and producing myself with the contributions of a few local musicians on drums, bass and guitar.  I spend hours trying to perfect the mixes. My plan is to release the pop-punk tracks later this year.

What does your music say about you?

Authenticity. Take it or leave it. I don’t have the energy or interest in begging for anyone’s approval.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?

Probably the whole “promote me”/PR thing. No offense, but doing interviews, podcasts, photo shoots, etc.  Being in that spotlight, and talking about myself just makes me a little uncomfortable.

If you could pass on a nugget of wisdom to the next musical generation, what would it be?

Don’t do it for the attention or to try and gain anyone’s approval. Do it because you love making music, and it will show in the music itself. And keep your clothes on!

Would you have any advice for would-be artists or songwriters wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Step one: ask yourself “Why do I want to do this? What am I looking to get out of it?” If the answer is for attention or affirmation, then go get some therapy first. If you love making music, my advice is to listen to as much of a variety of music and artists as you can, and sit and play or sing along with them, over and over until it becomes second nature. Then, once you start creating music and becoming your own artist, you’ll naturally take all of the various bits and pieces from your influences, throw them into a blender to create your own unique sound.

What is the most useless talent you have?

I can juggle!

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

“A Girl, Her Bearded Dragon, Two Cats And A Trampoline”

You are a new addition to a crayon box.  What color would you be and why?

Some sort of bright and obnoxious light blue.

What would be a good theme song for your life?

The theme to Hannah Montana – “Best of Both Worlds”

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life and why?

I’d have to say Miley Cyrus because we have the same attitude, and voice (according to YouTube who took my cover of “The Climb” down three times for “unauthorized use” because they thought it was really her singing!)

If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be and why?

Sweet and sour at the same time. Because I’m sweet on the outside and always feisty on the inside.

What makes you nostalgic?

I love 80s music and pop culture, and I’m a “Batman” freak! I have a whole DVD collection of the original series with Adam West.

If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

Where did I put that?

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