May 4, 2019 The Depot
By: Kevin Rolfe
Carlie Hanson is a singer-songwriter from La Crosse Wisconson. She is getting ready to release her first EP Junk on June 7th. Her current single “Back in my Arms” was just released in April and is getting a ton of play. I had the opportunity to speak with Carlie the day before her show at The Depot. I really enjoyed chatting with her. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Hi Carlie how are you? Where are you currently?
Carlie Hanson: Hii, Kevin! I’m good, very good. I’m in Denver right now where we’re doing a show tonight.
UCR: Well, we’re excited to have you here in Utah.
CH: We played Salt Lake City one other time and it was one of my most memorable/ favorite concerts ever. Like the crowd was just unreal. Everyone was so hype. We played in like this little garage. I think it was called Kilby Court.
UCR: So before I interview or review an artist for the first time I try really hard do not see any clips of them performing live because I want my first time to be in person. However, I have seen a couple of short clips on your Instagram and you seem like an amazing performer. It looks like we’re in for a really good time.
CH: Yeah, it’s going to be fun. You’re going to be bouncing and screaming. It’s going to be very energetic. It always is.
UCR: From what I understand the way this all started is you entered a contest to win concert tickets. Is that correct?
CH: I was trying to win tickets to see Zayn Malik in concert. So I did a cover of one of his songs. I don’t even know how they chose the winner, but if you posted a cover of one of his songs you could win tickets to see him. I’m one of the biggest One Direction fans I was hanging out with my friend so we just went and filmed me singing in her car and I posted it. Then iHeartRadio reposted it on their Instagram a few days later. It got way more buzz than I ever could have imagined. That’s how I met the producers that produced “Only One” and “Why Did You Lie?” my first two singles. That’s how they found me. That’s how I found my whole team. And then I met this writer Dale Anthoni who’s now my best friend. I make all my music with him. That video was the start of everything.
UCR: Did that get you interested in doing music? Or had this been an ambition before that?
CH: There is nothing else I could see in my mind’s eye that I would be doing. Even when I went to school and we’re all trying to figure out what college we wanted to go to or want jobs we wanted to apply for, I just couldn’t see myself doing anything that wasn’t music related. I’ve been obsessed with Justin Bieber since I was young and I saw his documentary Never Say Never. It makes you realize that anybody can do this. So I thought it was possible and here I am. It’s been really great.
UCR: The fact of the matter is I’m never going to be a rockstar. So I have to live through you, Carlie! (Carlie laughs) You’re being contacted by these people to make music and you’re going to the recording studio or those writing sessions or whatever, at what point do you make this transition from this surreal experience and just being amazed that it’s all happening to “okay we got to get down to business so we can make this happen and make it last.”?
CH: I really think that hit me when I signed the deal. When I was in the office and we were talking about the future. Yeah, it really is surreal and a dream but it is also reality so we got right to talking about making an EP together. I have well over a hundred songs now all together. So right now I’m definitely in the mode of “Okay I’m just ready to take over the world. this is what I’m here for.”
UCR: How do you narrow down a hundred songs to fit on an EP?
CH: It was definitely a long process. And it was super hard because I am in love with so many of my songs but we definitely chose the perfect ones for this upcoming EP.
UCR: So right now is a great time for women’s empowerment. I feel like most of the big time scum bags were called out when the Me Too Movement got going. I’m sure there still plenty of not awesome men in powerful positions out there. Especially in the music industry. So I worry sometimes for young female artists, that it can still be a challenge to be who they want to be and how they want to be. I feel like sometimes they’re forced into an image that’s not really them. How have you been able to find the balance of staying true yourself and keeping those involved in your career happy?
CH: Even when I first went and worked with the producers who saw my cover I knew exactly what I wanted, I knew what I wanted to talk about, I knew what I wanted to sound like and I’m just very self-aware that it was so easy for me going to labels and talking to everybody. I’ve always known who I am and what I wanted to say and what I want to represent so it’s been pretty easy. Before I signed with Warner it was just me, my manager and my two executive producers just doing everything. So when I signed with Warner they were just like” well you’ve been kicking ass without a label so let’s just keep doing what you’re doing you’ll have a team behind you now.”. So I think being self-aware has really helped with my artistry.
UCR: That’s great! That is awesome that they recognize that you being who you are is what will make you appealing and a great draw.
CH: Before all this, before I met with any label I was worried. I’m thinking in the back of my mind are they going to want to change me? Are they going to hate my sound? Are they going to make me dress in girly ass dresses and put a bunch of makeup on me? But that’s so not the case and I’m so grateful for that.
UCR: Do you remember the first time you performed live?
CH: The first time I ever performed live was that some dumb ass talent show in Wisconsin a couple of towns away from my home town. I was so nervous. I’m pretty sure I sang ”Baby” by Justin Bieber. I just remember feeling super fidgety and there was this whole auditorium of people looking at me. That was just pure nerves and it did not turn out well at all. Some ballet dancer ended up winning. But when I really realized this is what I wanted to do it was a couple of talent shows later. I was maybe 15 years old. I was way more confident for this one. I saying “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. I’m pretty sure that video is still online somewhere. I ended up taking third place I think. I remember some guy came up to me and said “ Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re going to make it someday.” I always think of that to this day. But that was when I really realized I wanted to do this.
UCR: Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?
CH: I slightly remember it. I was in fourth grade. So I was like what ten? I went to a Disturbed concert. My mom is the biggest fan of rock music so I went with her and my older sister. I think I ended up falling asleep by the end of the show. I was just so tired and I wasn’t having it and I didn’t truly enjoy rock music yet.
UCR: Well that’s pretty late for a ten-year-old!
CH: It was late! And I’m pretty sure it was a school night too! But I was pumped because my mom was going to let me go in late.
So yeah that was my first concert. I just remember people were really drunk and there is a lot of screaming and I just wanted to go to bed. (laughing) I’m so glad that that was my first concert though.
UCR: What was the first concert you chose to go to?
CH: I went to a Five Seconds of Summer concert with my friends my freshman or sophomore year. That’s when I was like “Holy Shit!”. I remember I wanted to start a band after I saw that. It was just so inspiring. I remember going home that night and wanting to write. That was the first one I wasn’t falling asleep at.
UCR: What would you say is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
CH: Harry Styles. Or, honestly though, so I went on tour with Yungblood and I was a fan of him before I went on tour with him. He puts on a great show too. Every night I tried to watch his whole set. I even went into a mosh pit for the first time during one of his sets. He’s one of the greatest performers. He puts on a show like no other. So, him or Harry Styles. I saw Harry Styles last tour and that was just amazing. You should really see them whenever you can.
UCR: It has to be such a cool experience while being on the rise in your own career you’re getting these opportunities to see these artists that you’ve probably listened to before and now you’re getting to know and touring with them and seeing their show from a different perspective. I’d imagine it’s a little weird!
CH: It is! When I lived in Wisconsin I never really went to a lot of concerts. Nobody came to La Crosse Wisconsin except for Disturbed or Five Finger Death Punch. So we would have to drive to Milwaukee or Minneapolis but my mom never really wanted to do that, especially in the winter. I never really had the opportunities to see concerts until I went to Los Angeles.
UCR: What would you say has been your best or favorite live performance you’ve given to date?
CH: I think it was just the other night when we played in Milwaukee Wisconsin opening up for Bad Suns. I think that was my favorite. I don’t know if it was because we were in my home state and I just felt really good and my family was there, but my band and I we just felt really good about that show. It was just really good energy and so much fun. Milwaukee Wisconsin, you know how to party baby.
The day after this interview, I had my own opportunity to see Carlie live at The Depot opening for Bad Suns. She was right. People were bouncing and singing along. Carlie is one of a kind. She’s her own person and that is on full display during her performance. She jumps and moves around the stage with so much energy. And even with all that moving around she still sounds great.
Following Carlie’s set, I went into the pit to prepare to take photos of Bad Suns. While I was waiting for them to go on I figured I’d get some reaction on what the front row thought of Carlie. I asked several concertgoers what they thought of her. They mentioned that they hadn’t heard of her before this but loved the performance. Some asked how old she was and were blown away when I told them she was just 18. They said something to the effect of “Wow! She seems so self assure for an 18 year old!” Another asked me if she would be coming out to the merch table later. I had no idea, but Carlie, in fact, came to the merch table following the show and there was a line of people eager to meet her. It was exciting for me to see the reaction of people who were not there to see Carlie. They absolutely loved her and I can see why. She’s as genuine as any artist I’ve ever covered and as feisty and as full of personality as I’d hoped she’d be live. With her grit and drive, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from Carlie Hanson in the future.
For more info on Carlie Hanson go to www.carliehanson.co