Carson Wants to Give Listeners the “World”
Written by Vocalo Radio on November 30, 2021
“I want people to feel like it’s okay to be themselves. I aim to be the voice of the voiceless.”– Carson
As a multitalented artist, singer, songwriter and graphic designer, Carson’s work glows with positive energy.
Carson’s Spotify bio is short but telling: “An artist from Chicago, making good vibes for the people.”
From his first release in December 2020, Carson has always strived to create work with an uplifting message and a unified vision of hope and love. Also a graphic artist, Carson designs all of his cover art and promotional materials, bringing the vibrance of his sound into the visuals.
“World,” Carson’s newest single, is a heartfelt track about wanting to give the whole world to someone you love and was featured on Vocalo’s “Poised to Break Through” playlist for November 2021. The song’s laid-back beat paired with layered synth and trumpet form a complementary backdrop for Carson’s lush harmonies. We heard from Carson about that new song, his songwriting process and how music, fashion and the visual arts intersect in his life.
How would you describe your musical style to someone who’s never listened to you before?
My musical style is a blend of soul, Neo-soul, classic R&B and hip-hop. I’m lucky to have been exposed to all genres of music as a child. Growing up listening to artists such as Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack and D’Angelo, their records have all inspired me in my pursuit to make timeless music that will transcend different generations.
“The ultimate goal is for the listener to know the importance of self-worth and to never settle for less.”– Carson
Walk us through the making of your single “World,” which was featured on our Nov. 2021 Poised to Break Through playlist.
“World” is a song that took many months to complete. I like to look at each of my songs as a piece of art, and, as a perfectionist, I would constantly find myself going back to make alterations until I found the ideal sound. The original version of the song was recorded in 10 minutes, and, as time went on, I looked for new ways to make it better. My engineer Fiinanse saw the vision and worked on numerous versions of the song until we crafted the one that was release-ready. The version of the song that was released featured background trumpet from my awesome trumpet player Kennedy Sabin. Even though adding the trumpet was a last-minute idea, I thought having live instrumentation would help bring the song to life and give it a new feel. I’m completely satisfied with how it turned out, and I am glad that I can share my art with the world.
What’s the meaning behind the song?
The meaning of the song “World” is truly open to the interpretation of the listener. The lyrics speak to proclaiming that you deserve “the world” and everything that life has to offer. I leave it for the listener to decide who the message should be delivered to — whether it’s your mother, sister or significant other. I wanted to shamelessly promote love and good vibes throughout the whole song. Despite the world magnifying “negativity,” I feel the universe was created by God with love, peace and good feelings in mind. Therefore, I wanted to do my part and create a “feel-good” record. The ultimate goal is for the listener to know the importance of self-worth and to never settle for less.
Do you tend to follow a similar writing and production process for the majority of your singles, or do you like to switch it up?
Typically, I follow the same pattern. However, I draw inspiration from new experiences and the world around me in my creative process. I like working with the beat in-hand, then crafting the song around the beat. Depending on the complexity I want to attain, it can take longer to craft lyrics. Lately, I’ve built songs from the ground up — from the beat concepts, melodies and lyrics to the backing vocals.
Describe your ideal working environment to maximize creative flow.
Normally, I like to work in an intimate environment. I like to write in solitude to really tap into the right vibe and think deeply about the words and messages I want to convey. An ideal studio environment is one that consists of only my engineer and one of my team members to bounce ideas. Having a listening ear and a person to provide a second opinion is very important to me, as it gives me multiple perspectives.
Do you make all of your own graphics for your cover art and promos?
Yes! Being able to craft my own cover art, visuals and promotion is something I take pride in. I am grateful that God has blessed me with the talents to do so. As I mentioned earlier, I like to look at each of my bodies of work as a piece of art. The way I present a song to the world is very important to me. I think it’s cool how cover art can shape how the song is perceived and evoke feelings and messages towards the piece. Being able to craft the cover art and promotion materials helps me present to the world a cohesive body of work.
How do you balance music and graphic design?
In my mind they go hand in hand. I’m grateful to have both of them as passions of mine, and because of this, I honestly don’t find it hard to balance them both. Having a dope cover art concept pushes me to make a dope song to match the hard work put into the art.
How did you get interested in graphic design?
My interest in graphic design started in 2012. While obtaining my high school diploma, I had the opportunity to pursue an associates degree in web graphic design and that experience birthed one of my many passions and talents. As the years went on, I continued to research and study new ways to get better at the craft. It makes me happy to still have the same passion for it as I did when I first got started.
Has art always played a large role in your life?
Yes. Since a young child I have always had a creative spirit, an eye for detail, and took a strong interest in art. At the age of 11 I won my first art competition, which later confirmed that art was more than a hobby, but an outlet to express myself.
How has living in Chicago influenced your identity as an artist, if at all?
Growing up in a city like Chicago, you get to experience so many things that will help shape your worldview. The city of Chicago has provided me with a space to experience different sounds and diverse cultures to draw inspiration from. In addition, knowing I come from a city that has produced so many legends has pushed me to reach my full potential in hopes of being ranked among greats such as Kanye West, Chaka Khan, Common, Chance The Rapper, Twista and Chief Keef, just to name a few.
What most motivates you to create?
The opportunity to share positive vibes with the world. Through my music, I want people to feel like it’s okay to be themselves. I aim to be the voice of the voiceless. God has blessed me with these talents, and I feel it is only right that I use my gift in a way that can help heal the world. Knowing I can have a positive impact on someone’s life through a song is a huge motivator for me.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of music and graphic design?
Top of the list is spending time with my family. I come from a tight-knit family, so they’ll always be a priority to me. Fashion is also another passion of mine. I spend a lot of my free time on YouTube watching fashion vlogs and a wide variety of other things. I know my YouTube algorithm is probably all over the place!
Tell us about your sneaker collection. How long have you collected sneakers and how did your interest begin?
My interest in collecting shoes started in 2010. I always took a liking to sneakers and fashion in general, but around that time is when I really started to learn more about the culture and my desire to collect certain sneakers began.
Do you have a favorite pair of sneakers? If so, what are they and why are they your favorite?
My favorite pair of sneakers that I own is the Don C Jordan 2’s. Mostly because [designer] Don C is a Chicago legend, but also because I went through so many hoops to get this particular pair. In the end, I was blessed enough to get them directly through Don’s family. Although, my all-time favorite pair of sneakers might be the Air Yeezy 2’s in the Solar Red color-way. It is a great shoe overall, and hopefully I can add this pair to my collection one day.
Is there anything you’re working on right now you want to promote?
The grind never stops, we’re working! Currently, anticipating the drop of a really dope visual for “World,” so definitely be on the lookout for that.
Interview edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
Introduction by Erik Anderson
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