Carli what is your story?
I am a new recording and performing artist. I released my first single last year “Clutch” and have been so excited that it has done really well. It went to number one on a top radio station, Algoa Fm, in a place where I know no one. I don’t even have a friend to phone there, to ask if they heard it on the radio. It was really really cool to have that experience and be so well received by people that I don’t know, who love my music. That was last year, when I stepped into the industry, in that capacity, but I have been in the music scene for many years now.
I grew up in a very musical family – my mom, dad and brothers are all involved in the arts in some way. My mom was a professional dancer. My dad, an attorney, who has been a songwriter for a long time. So for me a typical Sunday afternoon was band practice, where everyone was in the music room jamming. It kind of set a tone for my love of music – for my passions to grow. Everything in my life musical and art related began to feed me on a level that nothing else really could. That was the beginning, I then got more involved and started singing lessons. I have also been dancing since I was four. When I was in high school I was involved in lots of musical productions, I was fortunate to get a lot of lead roles combining my love of music, singing, dancing and acting.
I finished school after doing music as a matric subject and went to Damelin College, which is actually Allenby College to do a diploma in contemporary music. It was amazing, I got to learn from such well-respected people in the industry, who were my teachers, I was exposed to a lot and learned a lot. I started co-writing with my dad at that point, I was also recording and performing a lot. Back then at the same time, I was also studying at Wits University, I just finished my masters in industrial, Organizational Psychology. I have been pursuing both of those at the same time for the last 5 years. I will be graduating in December. Last year in my Masters year I got signed by Next Music and released “Clutch”.
What is your song “Clutch” about?
Let me first give you some background as to how it came about. When I signed with Next Music we were discussing what song to hit the market with, what people would like and what I wanted. We decided to go with a song that was written by an American composer – Shea Sega. When I heard the song I resonated with it very quickly, particularly the baseline where it has a very catchy hook. When I heard it in its raw format I wanted to put my stamp on it. We wanted to release the first single in the pop genre, I feel like pop is a very fresh and diverse sound. So we decided on that before going with one of my originals. ‘Clutch’ is about the chemistry between two people and the dynamic of romance.
“All The King’s Horses” is about love and heartbreak, yes I have done my homework, maybe a bit of a silly question but I’m diving right in. Have you drawn from personal experience, is this your process when writing? There are different ways to create – some creativity is fueled by other people and some aren’t. Your process? Sorry for the ten questions in one here, I am slipping on my own words today.
Definitely, I think whether it is something that has happened to me or something I have witnessed happens to someone close to me… It is important to me that whenever I put my vocals, my persona into something creative I must be able to resonate with it. I feel like when that happens the audience is able to pick that up immediately. When that lack of connection is there, it is very transparent. So yes I would put myself and my personal experience into my music no matter if I am writing or be performing a cover…that is also why it is so nice to work with other people as you have different backgrounds and ideas which come together, bringing so much emotion and diversity into one project.
What is your creative process?
It varies, so with ‘All The Kings Horses’ I co-wrote that with my dad. My dad is a very experienced songwriter he has been writing for decades. I love working with him because I get to learn a lot. He plays the guitar so when the creative process happens, he writes guitar then I come along and put my element into it. It’s a very fluid process; nothing is set in stone, when you put up barriers you lose the organic feel. That’s one aspect of the process working with him. The process changes depending on who I am working with.
Yes, because you put yourself and the way that works for you into a process but still leave room for another person to do the same?
Yes, you need to remain organic and true to yourself and what you want to get across, what you want to write about and how you want to express it. Whether the emotion is from your own experience or from something you have seen someone else go through.
I want people to get to know you. For the person who doesn’t know you from a bar of soap, tell them something that gives insight into who you are? Maybe tell me something that is important to you and the way you live your life?
That’s a nice question I like that a lot. It can be a very challenging question to a lot of people. Maybe challenging isn’t the right word but I think an important question. There are a few things that are important to me. If I could summarize, I wouldn’t say I strike this all the time but I strive to, and that’s balance. I believe in a balanced life and to try and take life as a whole, take the things that are important to you and balance them. The things which make up the whole are things like your hobbies and your passions, your health and living a healthy lifestyle, that’s very important to me.
I have been a vegetarian since I was born. I have grown up in a family that is very health orientated and tries to live a balanced lifestyle. I try to keep fit and look after my body and my mind. It is important to stimulate your mind by studying – I was telling you earlier I have just finished my Masters, that has been so important to me. Spirituality is very important, to realize that there is a bigger picture to life, that is a very big part of me. I try and always be true to myself, to keep that authenticity and value the things that are important to me and keep them high in my priority, that includes friends and family. There are a lot of tough times in life those people make a difference.
When it comes to what I am trying to do, in terms of my website. I am proudly South African, I am very much about pushing and doing my bit to showcase and help grown South African talent. What would you say to creatives in this country who are trying to find their footing and be a part of something positive? We all play our role when it comes to giving back to our country…
To add something positive one really has to be themselves, be authentic, don’t try and do what you think people will like. Add positivity to the things that you connect with. It’s beautiful to live in such a diverse country with so many different cultures and ways of living. With so much diversity there is always something to add, so much each person has the ability to contribute.
You were down in Cape Town to film your music video for “All The Kings Horses”? You’re still dressed the part.
No no this is normal for me.
Of course, that’s just your Sunday outfit.
Okay, so yes I am still dressed up from filming, I am super excited about this one for so many different reasons. This is the first music video that I have shot and that alone is very exciting for me. But even more than that we are looking at collaboration between music and fashion, which is so cool! Fashion has always been something that I love, it gives people a different medium through which to express themselves. To be able to collaborate with Mercury Productions and Bokeh (Fashion Film Festival), these are people who are at the top of their industry, who are so well respected, with such an incredible track record, talent and skill. This has been an overwhelmingly awesome experience, for a lack of a more dynamic phrase. That’s been incredible. So to work with the team, Adrian Lazarus whose work really speaks for itself, I can’t explain it any better. Just watch one of his films and you will get me. He is so talented and what a nice person. Adrian and I hadn’t met until I got to Cape Town, he is really just a wonderful person, so considerate and thoughtful. He has a vision… so it was so nice to work with him and his team. His entire team is as amazing in their own ways as him.
You have done some travelling; you have taken your music overseas? Any more travel on the cards?
Yes, I recorded “All The Kings Horses” with my producer in Los Angeles, I am heading back there to record some more or hopefully work on some new stuff. My single got playlisted on some international stations when it was released last year. It’s a feeling I can’t explain in words. When I wake up in the morning and see a tweet that was sent at 1 in the morning, because of the time difference from a station in Santiago that said that they are now playing Carli J Myers “Clutch”… that’s an incredible experience…So travelling yes, international… yes.