In between gigging at London’s hippest bars, the colourful singer spares fives minutes to tell me all about her music. The bubbly redhead has come a long way since she left our shores to pursue her dream in London. With THAT voice, that vibrant personality and the sheer love for life and music that she somehow portrays while on stage, it was obvious the girl would go places and would do so fast. Add a very quirky – and in my humble opinion adorable – style that is as far removed from the usual, mass-produced MTV look that most musicians nowadays sport, and you have a total winner. Yes, I’m star-struck. Go on, listen to the woman’s voice and you’ll be as star-struck as me. In the meantime, you can get the gossip straight from the horse’s mouth. If only horses’ mouths were so pretty, of course. And don’t forget to check out the Video of The Day on my homepage – Carrie is asking your help to reach the 10K views and you’re guaranteed 3/4 minutes of her lovely voice while doing so.
How do you describe your music?
In lots of ways. Dramatic, light-hearted, comic, deep, cynical, emotional, metaphorical, theatrical, dark, truthful, comforting, quirky, shocking, demanding, urgent, challenging and a heck of a lot of fun! My music is a rollercoaster ride of life experiences and thoughts that no one would care to own up to. Even though they are thinking those thoughts right now.
Which bands/musicians influence you?
Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, Damian Rice, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds, Goldfrapp, Radiohead, Nosnow/Noalps, System of a Down, Ingrid Michaelson, Franz Ferdinand, Queens of the Stone Age, The Dresden Dolls, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Laura Marling, Arctic Monkeys, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Bon Iver, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Hans Zimmer, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles and many more.
What was the first CD/cassette tape you ever bought?
The Corrs – Talk On Corners
Your top three albums ever and why?
Goldfrapp’s “Felt Mountain” – because it’s got a life of its own. It’s like the most beautiful painting I’ve ever “heard”. Tori Amos’ “To Venus and Back” – it contains a compilation of some of her best songs as well as a live CD . and if I lose the live CD I would feel as if a part of myself went missing. The third favourite is Blur’s “Midlife: A Beginners Guide to Blur” – it’s my moving-house album!
A song you hate and why?
Hate is a strong word. Hmm, I’d have to go with ‘The Ketchup Song’ by Las Ketchup. *Shivers*.
Butterflies before performing?
Rarely, I love performing! I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I told you that I live for the stage. I also live to write songs and both are very important to me.
I think it would be very interesting to work with Mumford & Sons . Besides being incredible musicians they look like they’re having such a great time on stage!
Can you play an instrument?
Mainly the piano, but I’ve recently taken up the guitar and the ukulele. I’ve got a few more I want to learn.
Your go-to music when you’re happy?
Blur, Queens of the Stoneage, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand … that sort of thing.
I usually end up writing songs myself when I’m sad.
Do you listen to the radio?
I use Spotify these days… that way I choose what I want to listen to and my favourite artists get their royalties.
Which particular band would you like to see live and why?
Imogen Heap. She’s incredibly talented, funny, quirky and a bit mad… and she’s not afraid to show it! Damian Rice is a close second (he’s incredible live) And I would never turn down the opportunity to watch Tori live.
What inspires you?
Living life one moment at a time. It allows me to take things in, observe my journey and breathe rather than rushing past life and taking everything, especially the small things for granted. I find that those small things combined can make a person a lot happier.
What do we find on your MP3 player?
Aha … and what makes you think I have one?
The music industry destroyed real music. True or false and why?
Both! It’s true that 99% of the music industry’s goal is to make as much money out of musicians as possible. It is mainly a moneymaking business; we’d be fooling ourselves if we thought otherwise. It is true that the industry today hasn’t figured out how to adapt to the change in music consumption and as a result it is trying to make up for its losses by taking as much as possible out of the artists’ cut. But that’s always been the attitude of the industry. Sometimes in the past the artist didn’t make any money at all. It would all go directly to the manager and labels (Elvis for example). These days at least we are more informed about this and we can protect ourselves from such corrupt deals. That’s what music lawyers are for. It’s thanks to artists like Prince and George Michael that the corrupt dealings of the industry were made public.
To go back to whether or not the industry has affected the quality of music it is partly true, as more often than not labels will only sign “commercial” artists, more so for their looks than their talent. They tend to target teenagers who haven’t quite developed yet as artists and are thrown into a career where they are told how they should look, sound etc. True creativity is a risk and the music industry today can’t financially afford that risk. This is why we have such market-tested artists as the ones coming out of the X-Factor, or manufactured artists such as the Spice Girls.
However, there are so many new avenues for artists these days. What with online social networks such as Facebook and Youtube, where a single artist can potentially reach millions if they put enough work into it! I mean Jessy J was discovered through Youtube! So was Justin Bieber. Hats off to them. People just have to know where to look. And you can start with www.youtube.com/carriehaberlive where I perform an original song or a cover every week live from my room (yes, it would be nice if you would subscribe).
Did you ever get the “music is not a real career” talk when younger?
You bet I did!! Needless to say, it came from people who were bitter about their own decisions to ignore their calling. But for any of you out there who have the drive, talent and determination. That talk is just a load of bull!
Which of your own compositions is your favourite and why?
“Fisherman”. I wrote it when I was still living in Malta and I’ve come to appreciate it more and more over the years. The lyrics paint the picture of my emotions at the time so beautifully and the melody and song-structure takes you on such a realistic sonic journey. The journey I went through to make a very important decision in my life. It is one of the songs that I carry with me everywhere as it is a part of who I am.
This interview was published on The TV Guide (The Times of Malta).