Carolyn Marie, the dynamic new rock inspired singer-songwriter, just released her debut EP Backstage Pass. As an independent artist, Carolyn has quite literally opened doors for herself. Her unstoppable enthusiasm and exacting nature led her to seek out and work with top industry professionals such as multiplatinum and Grammy award winning producer, Earl Cohen, and EMI/Sony ATV producer, Synematik. When Carolyn wasn’t in the studio writing or recording she was attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University full time, juggling her full-fledged music career with the rigorous demands of the dance conservatory program where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University in May of 2014. She was nominated for “Outstanding New Band/Soloist of 2014” in the Lehigh Valley Music Awards (LMVAs), was a finalist in RAWards for “Musician of the Year” representing New York City and her song,” Surrender”, from her EP Backstage Pass was awarded finalist in the prestigious US Songwriting Competition. Another song from her EP, “Take Back The Power”, Carolyn’s collaboration with inspirational icon Eric LeGrand , attracted major media outlets across the New York metropolitan area like Fox 5 o’clock news, NBC10 Philadelphia, NJ.com, Magic 98.3, and many more creating major buzz and anticipation for this powerful and motivational anthem. Carolyn Marie is determined to turn her childhood dream into an empire, one record at a time.
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Carolyn Marie: I grew up in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. I always knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry, but the realization that I wanted to be a recording artist wasn’t immediate. While I was in college for dance my ballet teacher asked me to audition for a musical that would be performing at New Jersey Performing Arts Center over the summer. I got in, and did the same the following summer. I loved being able to sing, dance, act, and perform to an audience, but something was missing. I couldn’t write or create. I was given a character and told to play that role. I wanted to story tell and share my life experiences through my dancing and singing. That’s how I ended up in the music industry. I wanted to create my own show.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
Carolyn Marie: I always want to be true to myself so my artist name is my real first and middle name, Carolyn Marie. I knew that I wanted this to become my full time career so changing it an alternate identity just didn’t seem right for me.
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Carolyn Marie: I have mixed feelings about this. It’s great that people are sharing and exploring new music and have access to other artists besides the mainstream. Giving away music for free is also a nice introduction for a potential new fan. My opinion is that it depends on where you’re at in your music career, but you should never give it away for free. Perhaps, in exchange for a download of your song a fan would have to sign up for your email list, “like” or “follow” you on your social media accounts, etc. Sharing is fantastic, but at the same time people need to remember that creating music is our lively hood, and it has value. Record sales become part of our income, which ultimately turns into more money to create more music.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Carolyn Marie: Play, play, play! Show you’re in demand. You may need to take some free shows to fill your schedule. No one wants to book someone who isn’t playing out all the time. The more time you have interacting with new people and leaving positive impressions the more likely you are to get new fans that keep coming out to your shows. Get out there! Also, always respond to fans on your social media accounts. They are taking the time to give you love. Show them you genuinely care!
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Carolyn Marie: Of course, everyone makes mistakes. I just take a deep breath and move on. There’s no need to dwell on the mistake. Then you’ll kill your confidence and make even more. In an industry that surrounds itself with the idea of perfection, you have to remember that you are human too.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Carolyn Marie: I have not toured. It is super expensive so I’m waiting for the right moment. I’ve played some opening gigs, and headlined some shows. Touring is the next step for me.
Exposed Vocals: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Carolyn Marie: Everyone and Everything, from waking up at 6am hating life to being madly in love, or single as hell and devilish. It is all reflected in my writing. I also have an eye for the many that go unnoticed and underappreciated. People and their experiences are very interesting to me. As far as my process, I have a very wide variety of ways I write. Sometimes it’s almost God sent and I’m quickly running to the bathroom to record the melody and lyrics to this song that just popped into my head. Other times, I know what I want to write about and sit down and brainstorm. I’m very private about it though. I need to know that I love what I wrote before anyone hears it.
Exposed Vocals: Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
Carolyn Marie: Yes, my website is www.carolynmariemusic.com. Here are the links to my social media accounts:
Exposed Vocals: What are some really embarrassing songs that we might find on your mp3 player?
Carolyn Marie: Haha, this is a good question.
Exposed Vocals: If you were given half a million dollars and a year off, what would you do? How would you spend it?
Carolyn Marie: Isn’t that the dream? I’d write and record two albums as well as plan a radio promotion tour for the first album. I’d also plan the tour, get really awesome creative merch, and plan a few music videos. After the tours were over, I’d drop the second album and hope I could use the money from the first tour and record sales to promote the second!
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Carolyn Marie: Haha, I don’t have a studio. My iPhone and I do just fine to demo songs. I’m a simple girl.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Carolyn Marie: I promote my music in a number of ways. Social media of course is number one. It’s free and easy. You can’t be to overbearing though or you don’t seem genuine. Also, I promote at shows, and when someone asks what I do I tell them. Word of mouth goes far.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Carolyn Marie: Joan Jett at Madison Square Garden. She’s such a rebel child and I love to rock n’ roll!
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Carolyn Marie: My next project that will be releasing soon is the Take Back The Power music video feat. Eric LeGrand. It’s been long in the making, and I’m hoping to inspire others to believe in themselves. Also, I’m working on a full length album, but that’s all I can say!
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Carolyn Marie: Dancing. Dance is another passion of mine.
Exposed Vocals: Do you remember buying your first album? Who was it? What was going through your head?
Carolyn Marie: The first album that I asked my lovely parents to buy me was probably Baby One More Time by my girl Britney Spears. All that was going through my head was it’s time to dance!
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
Carolyn Marie: I’m one of those people who loves to be super busy. I get anxious about having nothing to do, but music is also my number one priority besides family. Everything else comes second to it. I make to do lists to stay on task so I don’t aimlessly waste time. I also learned to put my phone away and not sign into social media accounts until all my work is done for the day. You’d be so surprised how much extra time you actually have.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2016?
Carolyn Marie: New music and performances. A lot of new music and shows!