Interview: Carmy Love on timeless soul, musical unity, & House Gospel Choir harmonies
Your new single ‘Thinkin’ About You’ is a funk-fuelled soul number which focuses on maintaining a positive mindset about the future, so how do you think music can be a tool for staying positive?
Music to me is a healer and has always been able to affect my mood. I think certain genres of music can make you feel good, peaceful and can help you to escape the darkness around you. 2020 was a dark time for a lot of people but at the same time a chance to reset for some.
I used music to keep myself going as I always had done; there is not a day I do not listen to some sort of music, whether I’m travelling to or from somewhere, cleaning up, or just relaxing but I do listen to certain things if I am stressed out!
I may not even listen to songs with words; I’ll sometimes just listen to sounds of nature and mediation music. I may listen to something a little more upbeat to make me want to move: some Soca, Afrobeats, guilty pleasures, reggae or some old pop tunes. Music is universal and can be used to unite people, our guilty pleasures unite us in a positive way.
You’ve frequently worked as a vocalist with House Gospel Choir, New Street Adventure, and Cool Million, how have these experiences helped you develop as an artist?
I sung on a Cool Million track called 'Just Dance' in 2010, at the time I had never recorded a track professionally and was so grateful for the opportunity to do so. I loved being able to listen back to it and tell people that it was me singing, even though I wasn't credited on the track officially.
Meeting and being part of NSA was fantastic; we would rehearse weekly and gig often, even playing abroad a few times. I loved performing for the crowd, I am genuinely quite shy at times but I come alive on stage. The experience allowed me to be more free on stage as I really wanted to give people a good show and make them feel part of it, and it taught me to be more disciplined!
Being part of HGC, well this is something incredible. When I joined I had not sung for years, I just needed a place to go and be a part of something musical. I wanted to learn how to harmonise as it was always a struggle for me, I could harmonise with myself but I would overthink with others and panic.
Having to sing in our groups e.g. Sopranos, Altos and Tenors, really trained my ear to what things should sound like and what I needed to look out for to help me. Our weekly sessions got me back into routine and our show at Somerset House, on New Years Eve 2019, gave me something to look forward to.
I sung a solo part of Martha Walsh's 'Carry On' and this reignited a fire within me I thought I had lost. HGC has given me confidence in my ability to sing and to touch people vocally. I can't wait to perform again!
With influences like Janet Kay, Louisa Marks and Chaka Khan, plus a mother and step-father as DJs who informed your musical tastes, what continues to draw you to these vocal and musical styles?
I believe these singers are timeless: I feel a beautiful sense of nostalgia listening back to certain songs. The feelings you get when singing their songs, it’s the pureness within their vocals that drew me to them. I would want to learn their riffs and dance around and perform like them.
It brings back a lot of childhood memories of watching people at home, especially on a Friday night to Saturday afternoon, singing along and repeating tracks from so many artists. It was just the vibes. I don't really get that feeling much now, only with certain artists like H.E.R., Alex Isley and most definitely Jazmine Sullivan.
I wanted to make real music, something with a meaning. I just love Soul Music - music that makes my soul move.
Having support from your new record label, Big AC Records, how has this transformed your writing process and artistic direction?
I would say the writing part has been genuinely relaxed. If I think of an idea, I will sing it into my phone and say what I can hear possibly going with it and then Nick tends to work things out before sending it back in demo form. I think it works well for us at the moment- we just bounce ideas to each other.
In regards to my artistic direction, I don't think I have changed too much from when I was in New Street Adventure. I want the listeners to feel something, whether that is happiness, or just a relatable emotion. I want to be able to tell my own stories through my music.
The current sound I am going for I would say is very similar to NSA, I am just looking for heavy basslines and to then infuse a few other elements in there too. I have been lucky to work with my old bandmates to create something that has elements of the old and the new. Freshness.
Can we expect any live shows in the future, or further projects to look forward to?
Most definitely! I personally can't wait for live shows to start up again, it is where I am happiest as a singer. I am currently working on new music to put out as an EP or Album in the near future. I am just so excited with the feedback I have received so far so I can't wait for people to hear what's next.
Finally, what does the word ‘groove’ mean to you?
Groove, to me, means something that is rhythmic, allows you to float away and creates feelings of emotion. A good groove could have you dancing like a lunatic or crying into your apple crumble.
Pre-order the 7" vinyl for 'Thinkin' About You' here.