by Candice Anne Marshall
IMM – Hello Carly Jo! We are pleased to have you back here on Indie Music Monday! (see previous interview in May 2017 here)We are very excited about your new song ‘Moving On’ that just came out. How long did it take you to complete this song from first conception to final release?
Carly – The song was written and recorded in one day with my friend Jonathan Clark in Nashville who also was a co-writer on one of my favorite songs to this day that I’ve recorded called “Wildflower”. Johnathan introduced me to his friends Zach Crider and Jonny Phillip that same day and we all vibed together on the beat until the words just flowed out. This one is different from my previous songs because it is a bit more pop/EDM oriented than my other acoustic jams. I am always down to try something new, though, and Jonathan is great about pushing my limits both artistically and in my writing style. We recorded it two years ago and we were waiting for the right time to release it. The right time is now!
IMM – What is the song about ‘thematically’?
Carly – The theme is basically the feeling of power you get when you finally get the strength to walk away from a bad situation. That feeling of independence was so satisfying to me when I got out of a bad relationship at the time, I really wanted to get that vibe in a song. I just hope the right girl hears it and is able to make it thru the times I have also been through and make the song a motivational mantra.
IMM – Is this single leading to a new album?
Carly – The song has been released by Jonathan Clark as part of a project he is doing called “Modern Longing Clique.” So, I asked Jonathan to describe his project… “Modern Longing is a clique, and the only requirement to hang with our crew is to be a weirdo. Like to fully acknowledge that things in life can suck sometimes and this is the thing that makes us whole, and hopefully the listener will find some hope in not running from those things, but towards the good life. So, if you are cool you already got your team and that’s fine, but we are the AV kids, the band kids, the kids who had to wear our siblings hand me downs, and we’re hungry, so we’ll see you on the field.” So, in all seriousness, he is doing a series of collaborations with other musicians like us who are just “band kids” trying to make music that makes us feel good hoping it makes you feel good too.
IMM – I know that IMM has shown continued support for your music. What were your thoughts on the interview we had last?
Carly – The love I receive from IMM is something I am forever grateful for, and the love is completely mutual! It is not ever easy in this crazy music industry, so having cool friends who write amazing articles and have your back is epic. The last interview was so nice I had to come back and do it twice! You ask the best questions, I love that.
IMM – How have you prepared for this single release?
Carly – This single was actually prepared for a bit differently than usual. We wanted to try something new. Rather than have a huge build up and a count down to the release and preparing fans over a long period of time on social media outlets, we decided to do the opposite. After reaching out to some media outlets like IMM and making content to promote the song we only gave hints about “Moving On” beginning a few days before the release. We wanted to just push the song hard with the link when it was available right then and there, no waiting involved! It’s been over a year since I’ve released a new song, so I was itching to get this one out!
IMM – I loved the photo of you for the single art. It looks fun and is reflective of your individual personality. If you had to describe yourself in five words, what would those words be?
Carly – Aw you are the sweetest thank you! I would say I’m a – “weirdo super power spunk queen” – if that makes any sense at all! But that feels right.
IMM – What are some of the other publications which have shown you tremendous support?
Carly – There are a few indie music bloggers and writers that have shown support throughout my career that I don’t know what I would do without. You guys that support indie music are so important in this business. One that stands out is music writer Kat Coffin out of Orlando who has included me in her coverage of the Orlando music scene from my first performances when I was just a high school kid hitting the café and open mic scene. Music blogger Rara’s Farm did a great interview after my Florida Music Festival performance this year, so I have mad love for them, too. Miami New Times and Soundbite magazine have also been there for me in South Florida to promote my local shows and releases, which I can’t thank them enough for.
IMM – Which social media platform are you most active on and why?
Carly – I actually try to stay pretty equally active on all platforms lately. Social media is your direct link to fans and each platform has a different audience and purpose, so I think each is important. I used to never want to use my phone like that all the time because it’s hard to keep up with, but then you realize how important it is to stay with your fans and stay relevant and that’s your key to doing it.
IMM – What are some of the kinds of things that go into the planning of your music and how or when you release it? In other words, what is your usual pattern of self-promotion?
Carly –My plan always starts on paper, I’m a pen and paper kinda chick. The plan is forever evolving but I’ll start by trying to plot out when and why I want to release the song. For example, is there any significant date or time of year I want to link the song to, like a romantic song around Valentine’s Day? What audience am I trying to reach out to? I also make a budget for all the elements around a release, from the cost of song production to cost of promotion like new photos, cover art, videos, travel. The whole plan is to try to get a nice response from my fans and the audience I wish to reach with that song.
IMM – What do you think the industry could improve upon in the way an indie artist is supported?
Carly – Well I’d say a big problem is that a lot of places undersell the value of music. The free/cheap streaming sites are a must to get recognized as an artist, but they do not put food on the table and we have to eat!
IMM – Is there a time in your career where you ever felt like giving up? If so, what got you back on track?
Carly – Definitely, I think it goes with the territory. Having done this since I was a girl, there have been so many ups and downs that I can’t even keep track any more. The thought has crossed my mind when things don’t go as I planned, but sometimes that just means there’s something else waiting for you, you just have to keep going. Thoughts of my family who have supported me in this from day one keeps me focused on the goal. Some of the bigger accomplishments, like making to the judges cut week on America’s Got Talent, being selected by department store Belk as one of their Southern Musician Showcase winners, performing at the San Francisco 49ers pre-game, only happened by keeping on. The best advice I heard about pursuing your dreams actually came from Miley Cyrus. She said something like, “the only thing that will keep you from your success is if you give up.”
IMM – What are the kinds of things that are important to you when building a team around you for support?
Carly – The most important thing to me is having people around you who really believe in you. Their passion and energy helps fuel you so it’s gotta be a real connection. Their fire keeps my fire burning even when things don’t always go the way I plan.
IMM – How have you evolved from the music you have written in the last year?
Carly – I feel like I have grown some guts. I did ” Color Show” to feed my sweet side with a pretty and upbeat poppy acoustic feel, and this new music is more of a side I don’t commonly show where deeper emotions come out with a more vibey feel. I’ve evolved to writing with more truth than ever.
IMM – What do you find genuine about the music industry today?
Carly – The most genuine thing is the pure magic of fan love. Like how cool is it that some person out there just hears this mess of a song you put together and actually LIKES it! And they tell their friends and it’s like you’re all friends now lol. It’s a pure feeling knowing how much music brings people together.
IMM – Is there an artist you would like to collaborate with?
Carly – Shooting for the stars… I would love to do a hook for Kendrick Lamar or jam live with 21 Pilots! But also, there are a lot of local south Florida and Orlando indie artists that are pursuing the same dream, and I hope we can do some collaborations in the coming year!
IMM- What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
Carly – I hope to make this something I can do for the rest of my life. I hope I can help someone one day going thru something I’ve been thru or maybe just vibe with them on something we both like thru music. I want to accomplish a friendship with as many people as possible thru the music bond.
IMM – What do you hope to accomplish in the way of inspiration for your fans in terms of your music?
Carly – I hope to trigger a feeling of power within them. Those songs are rooting for you, so I hope to inspire fans to stay focused on their goals!
IMM – Which artist has really impressed you in terms of their process for creating their own music and why?
Carly – I am going to go indie on you for this one and give a shout out to my musical friend and Orlando home-girl, Ashley Dudukovich who produces and performs under the name “Chasing Jonah.” She is an amazing singer-songwriter and has grown from the struggling artist living out of her car to a powerhouse in music licensing in just a few short years. Her songs are now all over top TV shows. She has the process down of creating meaningful, heartfelt yet marketable music that with her haunting vocals, just reaches into your soul and doesn’t let go. I want to move people like that.
IMM – Do you have any concerts or shows coming up?
Carly – My big announcement that I am now officially allowed to say aloud, is that I have been invited to Anaheim, CA to perform at the huge NAMM 2018 show! Only 100 artists are selected out of thousands and thousands of submittals, so I am extremely honored and excited to make the trip! I am performing on the Sheraton NAMM stage on January 25. I also plan to make the most of the trip west and hang out with my sponsors at Luna and Samson on the NAMM floor. After NAMM I am heading to Austin in March during the SXSW music week to perform at the Texas Indie Music Fest. In between, I am a full-time performer so when I am not on the road, I can be found doing my thing closer to home in south and central Florida – find out where I’ll be next on my website www.carlyjojackson.com.
IMM – How do you connect with the media? Do they reach out to you or do you have teams who reach out to them?
Carly – It is a little of both. I do have a wonderful team that helps me reach out also, but I love the personal connections, like I have with you at IMM.
IMM – What is the kind of radio play you have planned for the release of this single? Are there targeted areas or demographics that you have planned?
Carly – As an indie artist, I target the indie radio market. There a several that regularly play my music and I love that support.
IMM – Have you ever been asked an intrusive question by the media or a fan? If so, how did you handle it?
Carly – “Are you single?” I try to keep my personal relationships private unless it’s really serious. It’s funny because it doesn’t bother some people at all, but I usually explain what’s going on in that part of my life in my songs, so it’s all there!
IMM – How did you attain the endorsements with the companies who support you currently?
Carly – I’m currently so blessed by my endorsements with Luna Guitar and Samson Technologies. They reached out to me after making connections to them thru friends and fans. I actually have a new promotional video with Luna coming out during the upcoming holiday season that will give you a sneak listen to the next song I will be releasing hopefully in January, so definitely stay tuned in!
IMM – I know you are an amazing writer – can you tell us what kind of writing you enjoy aside from songwriting?
Carly – Wow thank you so much! That means a lot coming from such excellent writers at IMM! I write all kinds of things, just whatever I’m feeling. I love poetry and I have written several notebooks full. I also love writing little short stories if I have the time. My Dad is a writer and I feel like his passion for it helped show me how awesome writing is while I was growing up. I also love writing blogs for Luna about anything music, targeted towards Luna fans!
IMM – How does the instinct to be an entertainer suddenly come to someone like you? Is it something you just have a knowing about or is it something where life shapes the person you become?
Carly – I feel like it was just known. Even as a baby I was the youngest, so I was always trying to do outrageous things to impress my two cool big sisters – I’d sing, tell a joke in a funny voice, do a play, dance or do a trick whenever I could to stand out in our busy home. Even further back, my first words were a song because I memorized the sounds on car rides with my dad. I just feel like I have always had the dream to be someone that entertained people it’s something I’ve always loved and was in my blood from the beginning.
IMM – I had noticed on your Facebook page you had a song called ‘Current’ which you had said is a new original song…is it going to also be a release in the near future?
Carly – Aw thanks for checking in with my new ones, you’re the bomb! That song is something that I hope to record soon. I’m currently still wrapping up new songs that I recorded over the last year with my friend and producer Michael Walker at Dreamwalker Music Productions (he produced my last EP “Color Show”) that are scheduled to be released on a regular basis over the next few months, but I’ll make sure to get that one out asap!
IMM – What can you say is the one thing in your career that you are most proud of?
Carly – I would have to say I’m proud that I’ve been able to make a living doing something I really love. Even with the struggles it brings it’s always worth it when I count my blessings.
IMM – Okay, final question: what are the top (list three) things you look for when aligning yourself with anyone in the music industry?
Carly – I definitely look for passion, good chemistry and of course lightheartedness because life is short, and you have to have fun with it.
Carly Jo Jacksons Social Media Links (click to view)