Colette Carr Biography
“I’m singing about things I wouldn’t even talk about,” says the reticent Carr, who otherwise connects with her fans on all the requisite social media. “I vowed to grow a pair this time... take chances, reveal my soul, tell stories about my shitty relationships by tapping into areas that might cause pain.”
Ask Colette to describe herself and she’ll respond with a series of descriptive words: Expressive. Optimistic. Artful. Accepting. Free. Surprising. Hones. Bold. Quirky.
A childhood tennis star whose back problems led to an interest in music, drawing and painting, Colette started listening to The Cure and The Smiths before discovering classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, with favorites like Gwen Stefani, Talking Heads, Suzanne Vega and Deborah Harry before gravitating to rappers like Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg. A budding rapper herself, a teenage Carr was urged by her sister during a concert featuring The Game at UCLA to jump on-stage and freestyle herself.
A self-produced video, “Back It Up,” went to #1 at mtvU, which attracted the attention of Nick Cannon, who helped Colette release her debut mixtape, “Sex Sells Stay Tooned,” through his NCredible Entertainment label. What started as a joke piqued the interest of Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine, who signed Colette to the label and sent her to the recording studio, where she worked with the likes of Grammy-winning producer RedOne, CherryCherryBoomBoom (Martin Kierszenbaum), MNEK, Fernando Garibay and FrankMusik, alongside guest rappers like E-40, New Boyz’ Ben J, Far East Movement’s Kev Nish and YG.
In an innovative release strategy, a series of singles and bundled EPs preceded the finished album, The Skitszo Collection, on CherryTree/Interscope, aptly named for its stylistic diversity. Unfortunately, the label didn’t know whether to promote Colette as a teen-pop diva like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift or an edgy, button-pushing hardcore rapper like Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea or Azealia Banks.
The album’s first single, “(We Do It) Primo,” written by Carr and featuring a sample of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” placed her at the top of Billboard’s Uncharted tally of online sales, while “Never Gonna Happen,” cracked the Top 11 of the Billboard Dance chart, with a well-viewed video based on the movie Clueless. By the end, though, a burnt-out Carr, tiring of all the pressure and static, choose to leave the label and make it on her own.
“I had a great five years there,” she insists. “No complaints. Met a lot of terrific people, who taught me a great deal. No one wants to graduate college, but after four years, it’s time. It was a major crash course for me. I learned so much.”
Colette is now putting those lessons to good use. Recording with FrankMusik in his small studio, Carr confronted all those insecurities and vulnerabilities in her music.
“I just decided to light a fire under my butt, and not have that safety net of dozens of smart, talented people who’ve done this a million times doing it for you,” she said. “It’s hard to trust your own instinct when the person who helped break Lady Gaga is giving you advice. I needed to grow up and do things on my own.”
Working with FrankMusik was also revelatory, as Colette decided to go for the personal, as she did on a song like “Killswitch” from the last album.
“We have something very special together,” she says. “Frank has this militant approach that squeezes the best out of you. This direction seemed the most difficult for me, but it also represents the most possibilities of growth.”
Still honing her craft, Colette has already road-tested some of the new material while playing on iHeartRadio’s recent “On the Rise” tour with Jake Miller, Becky G., T. Mills and Mike Stud. She’s currently rehearsing the songs with a full band, ready to bring the new music to her fans. In the past, she’s performed for over 100,000 people at the San Francisco Pride festival and headlined the second stage at Bamboozle.
Like Miley Cyrus, Alanis Morissette and Lana Del Rey, Colette Carr is evolving rapidly as an artist, but she’s always mindful of her loyal fans, making sure they know the motivation behind her every creative move and even offers live counsel to anyone who seeks it.
“Doing this all myself, I realized how much I took for granted,” concludes Colette. “I appreciate the struggle. I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I had succeeded too quickly, it wouldn’t have the same value. I’m hungrier and happier than ever because I’m making stuff I’m proud to hang on the wall.”
In the end, though, Colette Carr’s music and art, in fact her whole life, is dedicated to another ideal.
“I want to help and inspire people to be themselves, to be comfortable with who they are, to be confident,” she admits, hoping her own openness on Static. Start. will enable that process. “I’m not afraid to let everyone see my flaws. Hopefully, people won’t be so hard on themselves, and can forget what others say about them. I’d love to see this music inspire people.”