It’s always fantastic to feature a new artist on Belles and Gals and Candi Carpenter is a real rising star of the country music industry. Last week we were lucky enough to catch up with Candi for a chat!
Hi Candi, you recently appeared in the Song Suffragette’s ‘Times Up’ video. It was fantastic to see a group of female country singers coming together to send out such a strong message. That must have been some experience?
Thank you! Shooting and recording “Times Up” was an incredible experience. I got to hang out with 23 amazing female recording artists, and work on a project with some of my best friends. Kalie Shorr wrote this beautiful song with our friend Lacy Green, and Kalie & John Caldwell produced the finished track. We all recorded our vocals, and filmed the video in under a week. The team from Cassetty Entertainment and Song Suffragettes coordinated everything, and I honestly don’t know how they did it. 23 women piled into a sprinter bus, walked single file down a long, icy road in heels just days after a snowstorm, and somehow nobody got hurt! We all laughed a lot, and the sense of love and community was powerful. All of the proceeds from the sale of this song go directly to the Times Up Now Legal Defense Fund.
In December you released the fantastic ‘Nights and Weekends’ acoustic video? Can you give us an insight into how the recording came about?
“Nights and Weekends” came to life as a therapy session with one of my co-writers who’d just finished working a double shift at an East Nashville restaurant. It was also inspired by my dad, who rarely gets to see my mom during the day because of his third shift work schedule. I worked in food service for years, and carried this title in my back pocket for a long time. It’s a song for anyone who’s ever waited tables, tended bar, or worked the late shift, and come home exhausted when the rest of the world is just waking up. My hope is that this song will encourage people to keep going and to hang on to their dreams, even when work is tough and money is tight. As the chorus says, “this ain’t how the dream ends, and I know I’m gonna make it someday.”
You’ve been quoted as saying “I write my best songs when men piss me off.” This is clearly evident in your debut single ‘Burn the Bed’. How pissed off were you when you wrote the killer opening and ending line ‘Most people take out the trash, they don’t bring it home’?
Super pissed! “Burn The Bed” was inspired by an ex, and he knows who he is. Sometimes I wish I’d had a slightly less colorful life, but then again, I don’t know what I’d write about if I had!
You have an incredible voice, so it was no surprise to see it has been compared to the likes of Patsy Cline and Janis Joplin. Where did the voice come from!? And how does it feel when people make that comparison?
Thank you so much. The comparison to Patsy Cline and Janis Joplin doesn’t feel real. They are the superheroes of my childhood, and I’m just humbled to be mentioned in the same breath with them. My voice comes from a lifetime of pain, and the longing that I had for peace, and a happier life. I have that now, but I still have the scars from my past. Singing helps me heal.
You’ve been singing pretty much all of your life – has it always been your number one dream to be a singer?
As a very little girl, I wanted to be a professional basketball player. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that being tall for my age didn’t mean I had any real athletic talent. By the time I turned nine and started touring with my family’s gospel band, I knew that music was my future.
And which artists have influenced you in your career, or are still influencing you today?
Choosing a favorite singer is almost impossible for me. When I was five or six, I was influenced by southern gospel artists like Dottie Rambo, and Vestal Goodman because of my family’s gospel band. When LeAnn Rimes hit the airwaves in 1996 with “Blue,” I became obsessed with country music. I learned to yodel listening to Riders in the Sky. Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, and Patsy Cline were usually blaring from the karaoke machine in my bedroom. In my early teens, I began touring with Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene, and sharing the stage with icons like Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, and many others. Jack always used to joke that he’d played a million shows with Minnie Others, but never got to meet her. It’s a rich and diverse musical heritage that taught me so much. I’m very proud of my traditional country roots.
If you had to pick a particular highlight in your career, what would it be?
Signing my record deal with Sony has been the highlight of my career so far. After showcasing in New York, I was signed on the spot, and I was so shaken up that I went back to the hotel, drank three martinis and went straight to bed.
If you could play the perfect gig, where would it be and who would join you on the stage for a duet?
My dream is to host Saturday Night Live. I grew up on Steve Martin, Martin Short, Chevy Chase, and slapstick comedy (let’s just say, I do all of my own stunts). My ultimate show would be screaming “LIVE FROM NEW YORK IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT,” doing a Dolly Parton impression, and singing a duet with special musical guest, Chris Stapleton.
To finish, tell us what we can expect from Candi Carpenter in the coming weeks and months. And where can we find you on social media?
2018 is going to be a big year! There will be a ton of new music, and some surprise announcements coming soon. Follow me @CandiCarpenter on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Expect lots of pictures of my cat.