PAM LETO // Publicist
TAYLOR HAUGHTON // Publicist
Carol C’s songwriting is a beguiling mix of paradoxes: conflicted then empowered, haunted then optimistic. The New York City native named her first solo album Seven— co-written with producer Justin Filmer (Liquid Agents) after the number of years it took to translate her recent life journey into a transcendent narrative. “All My Love,” the first single off Seven, is both spacious and ethereal. After hearing one of Filmer’s instrumentals, she penned the melody and lyrics for “All My Love” in just 15 minutes, after a couple of glasses of wine.
In a nod to her Latin-American roots, Carol C serenades a guitar in the Spanish track “Melodías.” The exquisitely weightless chorus translates as, “Play me a song, and I’ll sing with you. Sing me a song, and I’ll cry with you.” The melodious alchemist anoints the guitar her kindred spirit: Both their mysterious powers are at times darkly meditative, yet brightly assertive.
The album is a culmination of Carol C’s artistic impact over the years. As member of the electronic-soul group Si*Sé, Carol C was signed to David Byrne’s record
label Luaka Bop and opened for him on tour. The band also opened for Kraftwerk, Arcade Fire, Gotan Project, Norah Jones, The Roots, and James Brown. Their music was featured on Six Feet Under and CSI, while her solo collaboration with Nickodemus, the slinky “Cleopatra in New York,” landed on Sex and the City, and the movie HER. Carol C’s work as a DJ has earned her major fashion events for Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, and countless others. Recently, Björk selected her to contribute to the Biophilia Educational Project, her music and science educational initiative.
“After working together for years, we have a good sense of what will spark ideas in each other, many times, just the mention of a song will provide a good framework for the direction we are trying to go creatively,” says Justin. Typically, he writes instrumentals, she pens melodies off his ideas, and he tweaks the song after that. “I have a lot to do with the arrangement,” she says, “because when I am writing lyrics, I hear the form in a very particular way. “Carol and I have a similar appreciation for dark textures and dissonance in music. The Cure and Depeche Mode are some definite influences,” Justin says of Seven’s cinematic undercurrent. “We used a lot more electronic sounds on this album and went for more gritty instrumental sounds to contrast Carol’s lush vocals.” (David Bowie favorite Mario McNulty subsequently engineered the album, while Bob Power, who’s worked with D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, mastered it. There is a great beauty that runs through Seven: its lovely soulfulness. Carol’s lyrics practically manifest themselves through her subconscious musing. The album marks a rebirth and a sense of hope for this new chapter.