Originally from Pennsylvania, Nashville-based musician, Carla Cappa, has been playing and writing music since the age of 7. She’s been perfecting her craft since that tender age and doing it pretty well. She recently won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, and as a result landed a coveted performance at the highly renowned Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. She currently travels between Nashville and Philadelphia, tours and is gearing up for another album that she is in the studio recording, and working with producer Steven Wilson. We had a really fun chat with Carla about her experiences in music, our mutual love of M.A.C. Cosmetics (who also sponsors her), and more. It’s important to Carla that she “definitely wants to be a role model in everything that I do.” Read on to find out more about Carla, her engaging music, her recent session with fan and critically acclaimed band, Passion Pit, and her exceptional personality.
How was your experience placing first in the USA Songwriting Competition, and then progressing to performing at Bluebird Cafe?
Carla: That’s a great question! You know, it was awesome. When I originally entered for it, I didn’t think it was one of those things I’d actually win. It was just kind of like ehh, you know, I’ll submit and see what happens. There’s tons of competition for it. So, it was really funny because I didn’t even know I won. That’s how much I didn’t think I was going to win; I wasn’t even checking e-mails about it. I got the e-mail and I don’t think I read all the way through it (thinking “yeah, whatever”). Somebody, was actually the runner-up in the rock-alternative division, messaged me on MySpace and said “Hey, can’t believe a girl beat me, but Congratulations.” I was like, “What? What did I win?!” So, it was really funny and a little bit silly. I was really excited about it because there was a lot of competition out there, and they were great. They sent me a bunch of prizes; I got a nice little acoustic guitar from them, and I’m just a big fan of that competition.
Then they asked me to perform at the Bluebird as part of a showcase for the winners. I actually went and performed and the runner-up who messaged me (on MySpace) ended up accompanying me for it, and wanted to play because he was so excited about it. I thought, “Why not? We’ll just have more people from the competition that can come play.” That was actually my first time playing at the Bluebird. It was really awesome, because it’s so historic and so well-known. Before I came to Nashville, I had heard about it and they were like ‘if you can get a showcase at the Bluebird, that would be really cool.’ Then, they offered me one. It was pretty exciting and a lot of fun.
Was performing at the Bluebird a bucket list item for you?
Carla: Before I came to Nashville, I was coming from Philly, so I wasn’t really sure about a lot of the music scene here and what to expect, and where I wanted to play. Once I researched into Nashville and wanted to move down here, it was like immediately a bucket list item. There’s so much well-known stuff there. I mean, one of the biggest things people talk about is that Taylor Swift was discovered there. It’s just one of those things that really has a lot of buzz about it. So yeah, definitely a bucket list item for me.
Speaking of Nashville, and noting that it is the music hub, what drew you there specifically from Philadelphia?
Carla: That’s a good question, because they’re both very different. I originally came down here to Belmont University, and attended for a year as a Songwriting major. Then I just ended up getting some opportunities in music that I decided that I wanted to work hands on, rather than be in school [laughs]. So, that’s where my vision was; to put more of the time in going and doing it hands-on, playing out and forming a band, and pursuing some of my connections there, rather than finishing up at school. I think it was a good idea for me; I’m really happy about it, but I’ve had a lot of friends that have graduated from Belmont that really loved it as well. They got some great connections for it too. In the end, it brought me down here too, which I’m really happy about.
This also coincides with your music, but I’m also an avid make-up junkie, so I love that you’re sponsored by M.A.C. Cosmetics, so I wanted to know how that sponsorship came about with your music?
Carla: Definitely, that’s a good question! Well, I’m a make-up junkie as well, and visit M.A.C. as much as possible. I’ve actually been doing freelance make-up artist stuff now. I’m a big make-up person. I was a tomboy when I was younger, so I don’t know what happened, but it just switched on me. I got the woman’s contact(s) who sponsors independent acts through a mutual friend of some sort that was involved with M.A.C. I just e-mailed her my information and some write-ups about me, and some of the stuff I was doing. She loved it and mentioned they’d be glad to sponsor me. So, I just basically put their little icon on my site, which sounds good for me, as well as for them, and they give me some free make-up.
If you ever get too much make-up, send it my way! [laughs]
Carla: Now I know where you live, so I can send it there and it won’t melt.
How is the recording process going with your upcoming album?
Carla: It is awesome! I’m having, probably the best time I’ve ever recording. I’m a big fan of who I’m working with and I’m finally doing the style of music I’ve been wanting to do for so long. I just wasn’t quite sure how to do it and it wasn’t the right time. I’m writing some new songs; I actually just finished one in the new studio that’s going to be on the EP. I’m planning to have it come out early 2014. We’re working on finishing up some songs now and working on some new ones. It’s been a really good process so far.
I’m interested to hear about how the live session with Passion Pit came about.
Carla: Oohh yeah, so much fun! I actually had a good friend that does some background vocals and we perform a lot together. So, he had contacted her through a mutual friend, and it just so happened that they needed a few other people, and she responded that she’d be glad to pitch me for it, and I was honestly thinking it wouldn’t happen, but they told me to go for it, and they were like yeah, totally. It was really cool, and my friend sang with for me it and there was another singer-songwriter in Nashville, by the name of Erin McCarley. She’s fantastic, and was a big fan of her before moving to Nashville, and we have some mutual friends; things like that, but she showed up and it was even cooler to sing with someone I listen to all the time, and then to be singing with Passion Pit. It was great; it was a really cool experience, and they’re a really cool band. Very interesting guys. It was something to remember.
Who was your first concert and who has been your favorite?
Carla: My first concert was From First to Last; I think I went when I was 13 and in the 8th grade. Really interesting fact; the singer from that band went on to become a huge dubstep DJ by the name of Skrillex. He was my biggest fan-girl crush growing up and went on to be this crazy producer; he’s had a great music career, but I’ve always been a fan of his songwriting and singing. It was a really fun experience. My favorite concert…this one hurts my feelings, because I feel like I’m denying someone great that I saw. I would have to say my favorite concert was probably Hall and Oates. I grew up on them and my parent’s used to play them every time we drove down to the shore in Jersey, and I got the opportunity to see them with my parent’s a couple years back in Philadelphia. It was a surreal experience because it brought me back to my childhood. I’d have to say that was probably one of my favorite concerts. I’m sure there were others, but that one definitely pops in my mind as one of the best.
What is your guilty music or entertainment pleasure?
Carla: That’s really interesting! You know what? The word guilty; I guess I don’t think anything’s a guilty pleasure because I’m not guilty of it, you know what I mean? Maybe it’s a little more embarrassing, and it doesn’t give me cool points, I guess that would be fair to say. You know, I love Avril Lavigne. Her first and second album; her first album she worked with a group of songwriters and producers called The Matrix and they’ve just written some of the best stuff. Her stuff back then was “Complicated,” “With You,” and some of those songs. She was so cool when she first came out, like the ties, and she was kind of a rocker, and that was bad-a, awesome. I still am a big fan, specifically her first and second albums. I guess that I would be my guilty pleasure.
Carla asked me who my guilty pleasures were and we chatted about that, and then chatted about this and that for a few minutes before closing the interview.
Carla: Awesome! Thank you so much again, Lindsey.
Absolutely! It was so nice talking to you Ms. Carla, and you take care!
Carla: You Too! Talk to you soon.
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