Sound Off: Carly Rose
Sep 21, 2020
Carly Rose first captured the attention of viewers on the second official season of The X-Factor USA, which was arguably the most competitive season of the show in the history of its existence. With other big names in the industry such as Fifth Harmony, Bea Miller, and Emblem 3, Carly Rose conquered the competition and secured second place at only 13 years old.
After taking some time to figure out her sound and direction as an artist, Carly Rose recently returned to the music industry with a brand new sound and of course, new music. In fact, her highly-anticipated EP, WILD, was just released at the beginning of this September. The project features seven tracks, including fan-favorite “twentyone,” and gives listeners a clear understanding and preview of Carly’s more mature and established sound.
This is the start of a whole new era for Carly Rose. The “birds & bees” singer has managed to maintain her original fanbase over the past several years while also gaining a whole new set of supporters. Her original songwriting and impressive vocals undeniably captivate new listeners following every new release. In an exclusive interview with PopularTV, Carly Rose opens up about her debut EP, future plans, and more.
1. Tell us about your EP “Wild”! Is there a message you want to send with it?
I hope people appreciate the layers in this EP. I feel like that’s such an obnoxious thing to say, but I truly do love how the meanings behind these songs really tackle some topics that are hard to talk about. I wanted to package them in a way that was fun to listen to so that thought-provoking experience would almost happen subconsciously. It is an EP about a series of relationships with self-destructive people, mainly dealing with substance abuse issues. I have taken on the role of care-giver so much in my life and I felt the need to share my perspective on that feeling of wanting nothing more than to help someone you love to see the light when they, unfortunately, keep getting caught in the darkness.
2. How long have you been working on the EP? Did you have any challenges?
It sounds corny, but I can wholeheartedly say that the last 8 years of my life have been put into this project. Not because the songs were written back then, but because the person who wrote these songs was growing up and learning about her place in this life and what it is she wanted to say. Many people who follow me on here know me as the 13-year-old girl from that reality singing show, and I could not be more grateful to those people and to the show for giving me that opportunity. With the WILD Ep, however, I look forward to finally stepping out as an artist shaped by that experience, but independent of it at the same time. This collection of songs makes up the heartbreaking, beautiful, frustrating, and eye-opening moments that have colored my life so far.
3. Ok, hard one: Do you have a favorite song from the EP?
Ooooof that is tough. “I don’t like you when you’re like this” has a special place in my heart because it is my first real step into the strictly alternative rock space. I definitely jam our hardest to this song. “wild” is my first real collaboration with another artist who I admire so that one is also extremely special for me and gets me emotional every time.
4. “Song of The Summer” is a single that you wrote during the quarantine. How social distancing influenced your career and creativity?
It has been an interesting ride that’s for sure. I bet we can all agree on that. In the beginning part of quarantine, I was really struggling to stay creative and motivated and inspired. I was at such a loss for words with everything going on in the world at the time and it still being so fresh. I literally felt like, “what could I possibly say right now? I am speechless.” That was frustrating for me. Eventually, as I began to settle into the new normal, I was able to find my voice again and naturally started writing again. I think I just needed some time to understand my own perspective on everything that was happening. Now I feel extremely rejuvenated and more motivated than ever. Having the time to step back and really figure out what I wanted from this year despite all the hardships so far was extremely valuable for me.
5. Ok, I have to say this: I’m your fan! I met you on X-Factor, and I was cheering for you like crazy. I notice how much you have grown since that moment of your life, and I have to ask your opinion about it! How does Carly Rose differ from before and now?
Wow, thank you for your support for all this time! I was around 14 years old when I got signed and I got thrown into the world of writing and recording sessions pretty quickly. It was my first time being in that environment and I was with top writers and producers who all had a clear idea of what kind of music I should be making. These writers and producers were all so talented, but I had no idea who I wanted to be or what I wanted to make at this point so I let them tell me what I should be making.
I did, however, learn so much about songwriting and pop structure from some of the best pop writers and producers in the game. When I realized that the music I was making was drastically different than the music I was listening to, I realized I needed to shift gears and incorporate more of my influences and what feels authentic to me into what I am creating. Having this pop sensibility ingrained in me while experimenting with this helped create the blend of pop and indie rock that I love to create.
6. What changed in your life since the X-Factor?
I made a big shift from doing Broadway and acting to focusing fully on my artist career. I was so inspired by the idea of writing my own music and having it sound exactly how I wanted it. Once I entered this world, I was hooked.
7. What is your biggest inspiration when writing a song?
Personal experiences or things that I observe in the world around me that I feel like I have a specific perspective on. A lot of my music is inspired by relationships I have been in and the effects they have had on all involved. A lot of my songs are about feeling nostalgic for more carefree/naive times in my life. Others that I haven’t released yet are more rooted in self-reflection. But I don’t limit myself to any of these themes. If I feel strongly about something, I’m gonna write about it.
8. You started your music career super young, and it brings a lot of good things but also challenges. Based on your experiences in the industry, what advice would you give to a young girl, starting at the age you started?
Know that it is okay to speak up for you and what you want, no matter how old you are. One thing that really held me back when I first started was being afraid to speak up in sessions and with managers about what my vision was. It is easy to assume that since the people you are surrounded by are older than you and have been in the business longer than you, that their opinion automatically is more valid than yours. This is not to say that I didn’t receive any valuable advice or tools from these sessions because i 1000% did and it has totally helped shape me as a songwriter. However, it wasn’t until I learned to speak up for myself and contribute my own ideas, and eventually write primarily on my own, that I felt what I was doing truly made sense to me.
9. Do you remember the exact moment you realized you wanted to pursue music full-time?
I can’t say I do, but I wish I could! how cool would that be? Generally speaking, it was when I started to make music that I wanted to listen to and I wanted to send my friends. That’s when I started to gain confidence in myself as an artist and feel purpose in what I was doing. Getting to that point is everything. Then you just keep building and exploring from there.
10. How has lived in and around where you have pushed you and your career/life?
Living in LA has had a huge impact on my career and life. I actually met my current managers through the relationships I made at USC. They have been critical to me feeling comfortable and confident pursuing this new phase of my career and finally putting out a project of my own!
11. With the vibe of your sound, what show or film do you think it’d be a great fit for?
Well, with the title song of the EP “wild” featuring Goody Grace, the music video was greatly inspired by the film ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’ It’s tragic and beautiful and heartbreaking and surprising and unstable. Those are qualities I feel like generally fit with what I write about.
12. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I have a really bad flight anxiety. REALLY bad. You do not want to fly with me.
13. What is a collaboration that you want to happen (whether it’s with you or not)?
The Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. In the first song on the Arctic Monkeys’ most recent album, Alex Turner says “I just wanted to be one of the Strokes,” and ever since hearing that I have dreamt about this collab (they are two of my top 5 favorite bands).
14. What would you be doing right now if you weren’t singing?
I would still be writing songs but for other people! I don’t see myself really doing anything other than music in my life so this would be the next best thing.
15. Tell us about your plans for the future and what is coming next!
My next goal is to continue dropping new music and finishing up some songs that didn’t make it on this project, as well as starting the process of writing for the next one. Besides that, starting to perform (virtually for now and hopefully in person soon). Now that the EP is out, it is the perfect time for me to dive into this aspect of my career that I have yet to really explore. I can’t wait!