Today, we check in with full time artist and actress Carolena. Tune in as she talks about her journey, as well as what motivates her. Full interview below:
Walk us through your background- Tell us more about you and what you do
My name is Carolena and I’m an independent artist based in Miami, FL! I’m Ecuadorean and Italian and am originally from New York. Music started to make it’s way into my life from a young age, but I decided that it was going to be my forever right before I went into Middle School. I am primarily trained in Musical Theater, having done many shows growing up before completely switching over solely to the music industry. I’ve been studying, writing, and performing music for about 13 years now and recently received my Bachelor of Science in Popular & Commercial Music from Loyola University New Orleans. Alongside being a vocalist, I play piano, drums, guitar, and ukulele to accompany myself when composing, performing, and producing. I currently do music and acting full time, while teaching lessons on the side.
What inspires you?
What inspires me the most is being able to Inspire others through my art. My motivation primarily stems from the desire to impact and uplift people and to be as successful as possible in this industry. In terms of my songwriting, I am heavily inspired by my life experiences, relationships, and having taken the time to understand people’s hearts and minds. My faith fuels me.
What are some of the obstacles you've faced and how has it made you better?
The main obstacles that I face usually revolve around the concept of self-doubt. As artists, we naturally evolve with our work— but we also tend to overthink much of what we do. I had to learn that it is less about validation of what we think people want to hear, and more-so about exhibiting the sounds that our soul makes and having that be enough. This has allowed me to be more grateful for the gifts that I have been given to create and connect with people. I have also been challenged and underestimated as a woman in the music industry, covering many roles as an Independent artist. I have made sure to get to know the business just as much as the creative side in order to be able to have confidence when moving forward in any situation. Going through this has helped me to have thick skin as well as how to navigate people's intentions and stand up for myself.
What do you think makes your music different from other artist?
I appreciate the fact that my music is multi-dimensional. I’m not afraid to take risks in my sound, while also remaining consistent. I believe what mainly makes my music different is my vocal tone and style of writing. I have influences from almost every genre. “Mainstream” has become the umbrella in which I have also included R&B/Soul, Jazz, Orchestral, and acoustic “singer-songwriter” vibes. I like to fuse together multiple genres as well as experimenting with my delivery to maintain a sound that is fresh and full of integrity.
It's important to give yourself credit; What do you feel is/are your biggest accomplishment(s) to date?
I would say that a few of my biggest accomplishments thus far have been getting booked for SXSW this passed year, interning for The Recording Academy through Grammy U, signing an independent publishing deal (and having received two sync placements through them), signing with representation for my acting career, and being featured on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” blog for one of my original songs. I have also been fortunate enough to have played some of my favorite shows at The Seminole Hard Rock, House of Blues New Orleans, and Art Basel Miami, to name a few.
What are some things that you still want to accomplish?
I am still striving to be able to write for more mainstream artists as well as continuing to pursue my solo career. I definitely want to incorporate more of my acting into my music videos as well, to make it a full experience. There have been many new possibilities explored since the industry has completely shifted due to COVID.
What new music do you have coming up?
Starting July, I will be releasing a single a month for the rest of 2020. I have been collaborating with many artists and producers, which has allowed me to exhibit and experiment with a range of genres while still remaining consistent in my writing style. Once 2021 hits, I will be prioritizing and putting out my fully self-produced music, as well as a few more collaborations here and there, which I am really excited about!
What do you want people to takeaway from your music?
I want people to experience my music as though it is a mirror. If my music can evoke certain moods and enhance the energy and shift someone's perspective, I am happy. If my lyrics can make sense of feelings that haven’t been able to put into words up until that point of listening, then I did my job. I want people to sense authenticity, rawness, and passion when they encounter my music, whether it be live or recorded. “Music to fuel the party and your soul."
Finally, If you had a message to give to any artist coming behind you, what would it be?
Spend less time comparing yourself to others and focus more on making the art that feels closest to you. When you feel like giving up the most, that is when you will have the biggest breakthrough of motivation, growth, and healing. Lastly, don't be afraid to outwork everyone while also finding people that believe in your vision. Build your team!