Thursday, October 25, 2012

Carly Jo Jackson
Interview by Chris Koppers/images courtesy of Carly Jo Jackson

Dedicated to music? The full program? Songs with the whole range of emotions? Your choice should be Carly Jo with her passionate music. 

Carly Jo tells us about her thoughts behind the songs she composes, she reveals what she likes most when entering the stage, and what destination she opts for time traveling - no worries, there is more to tell. This interview covers it all.

Can you tell us somewhat about your songs "wildflower" and "just another game"?
What are stories behind them (composing lyrics, the making of process, etc.)?

The whole creation process of my two songs Just Another Game and Wildflower were so different and as a result they have a completely different feel.

Just Another Game is about the “beginning of the end” of a long relationship. The boy and I had gone from being so sweet to each other in the beginning to constant fighting. I couldn’t express my feelings to him because it would start another fight so I turned to my “therapy” of putting my thoughts into music. I intentionally used a happier upbeat sound for the guitar to contrast the solemn lyrics in order to reflect the roller coaster feelings I was experiencing at the time. I think it makes the song more bitter-sweet. I wrote the song while in class in high school because I wasn’t able to focus on anything but the troubles with my relationship. It was one of those writing sessions where I had the lyrics completed in one sitting, by the end of the class (apologies to my teacher). Letting it all out at once was key, because the best time to speak your mind in music is at the height of emotion. 

Later that day, I quickly put together the guitar accompaniment and by that night, I was singing my new tragic love song. I found that the process of creating, writing, and singing the song helped me gather my thoughts about the situation and gradually get through it. I was in the middle of recording my first CD when I wrote this, and we decided to make room for it on the CD. The recording team added the thunderstorm effects to further capture the feeling of the tumultuous relationship.

Wildflower developed much differently and was not as quick of a process. I initially wrote the song on my ukulele during my first semester of college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. I vividly remember lying on the couch in the study room of my dorm strumming my uke until I hit chords that struck me emotionally…it sounds corny, but the music was what started the process of writing the song. It was a minor chord that really spoke for the way I was feeling at the time. I had been going through a lot of emotional stress being away from home at college for the first time, dealing with a long distance relationship, working on developing new friendships, feeling like I didn’t fit in and all the while time flying by so quickly that it made me doubt and question who I really am and where I was going. It’s challenging being misunderstood, so I came up with the thought of being a wildflower to represent being different from everyone else. A wildflower isn’t a perfect rose, but it is still a unique and beautiful representation of life. With this, I began to sing the first line or two of the song off the top of my head, then took the songwriting to my dorm room to complete. 

It took more than a day, but by my next live performance I was belting out my new song about my new look on life. Towards the end of that first year in college, I had the great fortune to get the opportunity to provide vocals on a demo project being developed by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional. Since I helped him with the female vocal parts for 2 of his songs, he returned the favor by helping me rework Wildflower and record it on guitar instead of the ukulele. We went through several of my new songs but he chose Wildflower because he was drawn to the lyrics. I worked with him and his recording team of Jonathan Clark and Benjamin Homola over the course of three full days to get the song right. The song was changed from my original ukulele tune but for the better, and it still holds true to my feelings of coping with my feelings of being an outcast and different from everyone else. I intended this song to not only speak for me, but to speak for all people who struggle in accepting their own uniqueness and the power it holds. I hope I am speaking for all of the wildflowers out there.

Speaking of your songs. What is your favorite? 

It is such a hard decision to say what song is my favorite! It is hard to choose because I wrote each at such a different time in my life and with different emotions. They all evoke different memories. However, if I have to choose, I would pick my newest jam The Blues. I like it because it is more upbeat and it is something I can’t possibly sing sitting still. It is about dealing with bad news in a positive way. It’s also my favorite because I have been striving to find my unique voice and sound and I believe this song is more reflective of the direction I am going with my music. I do a lot of inflections in my voice which makes it a lot of fun to perform. I’m always writing new songs so I am sure that my favorite will always be changing but for now I can’t wait to be able to record The Blues soon and share it with my fans!

What do you like most when you enter the stage?

Greeting the audience is my favorite part upon entering the stage. You can really gauge an audience in that first moment and seeing the magic of music drawing their attention to me and my songs is just the greatest feeling. It’s almost indescribable. Entertaining an audience is what I live for – the live performance -- so being able to see and greet them, make them smile, and earn their attention is a satisfying accomplishment. No matter where or when, seeing the audience makes it all worth it.
How do you see your future? More gigs, tours, etc.?

I try to keep a positive outlook on my future and keep my focus on always improving, always taking things another step towards achieving my goal of making it to the top. In the near future I would like to start working with a band to back me up and to complete my first tour, hopefully a college tour; I feel my biggest fan base is my group of peers so I would like to start there. In the more distant future, I hope to see my name in lights. Making it as a performer has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I feel like I also owe it to my family who has loved and supported me along the way. They have done so much for me, more than anyone could understand, so I need to achieve my dreams because it is also their dream for me.

One of my "picture this" questions.
Time traveling is available for you. What is your destination? Who do we meet?

If time travel were available, I would go back in time to two different places. One to meet the Beatles at their height and do a songwriting session and a gig with them and the other would be to myself when I was 10 years old. When I was 10, I would literally cry about my desire to be a singer. I wanted to be a successful artist so badly, that it would stress me out worrying about whether I would achieve my dreams or not. I would love to go back in time to myself at this age to calm myself down and tell myself that I will get so much done. I will write so many songs, learn to play many instruments, and make my family and audiences very happy. I still have so much farther to go, but at least I could assure my younger self that the dreams are within reach.

Please complete:

My lyrics are ...
My upcoming songs will be ...
My fans are ...

My lyrics are… figuratively a look into my diary, except I don’t keep a diary anymore, I just write songs on any loose piece of paper I can find. They are all an emotional outpouring, capturing moments in time and lessons learned in my life. They are real, personal, and they are me.

My upcoming songs will be… still very personal but with a more defined sound as I continue to grow and find myself as an artist. I am now focusing on what makes my music unique in order to catch the hearts of the world. If I achieve this goal, I believe I can make a name for myself.

My fans are... my world. The only way an artist can accomplish anything in the music business is to capture the hearts of their fans. My fans give me confidence as an artist by cheering me on and believing in me and my music, and they can are also the reason for continuous improvements. Without someone to listen, there is no reason for music. They are like an artist’s best friend, the friend who I am sharing my most personal secrets and emotions. I value them so very much for being there for me and believing in me.

Where do you get your daily inspiration from?

I get my daily inspiration from life and its quirkiness. Life is full of emotions and experiences, giving me so many reasons to write my thoughts. Whether its love, hate, indifference, or curiosity, every feeling has the potential to be embodied in a new song. Look around you, there is so much to sing about.

Where can we find/purchase your music?

My music is distributed by CD Baby and is available through all the sites that work with them including I-tunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, Spotify and dozens more. Just go to those sites and search for me by name or you can find my first CD World At My Feet and my single Wildflower at Links to all my websites can be found at

Thank you for taking your time, Carly Jo.


David Engelhardt from FL said...

She is awesome.

I noted her cover songs months ago.
Her own songs are great.

Thanks crankbox for the detailed interview.

Best music blog in town.

All the best for you both,

Dee said...

Great interview, Chris.

I checked her songs and they are awesome.

Thank you for publishing this.

You're my favorite herald of music news.

Love it.

Whitney R. said...

WOW. That is what I'm looking for.
I love her music and I love carnkbox-music!

Thanks, Chris.

Sweet kisses,
Whitney (sent you a message)

Tarya said...

Great music blog.

Gotta check her music out, right now!


Sheyla said...



Judy said...

Sweet interview.


Christina K. said...

Hey Mr. K.

Awesome article. Love it so much.

Carly Jo got a stunning voice (I'm jealous).

Keep on publishing your style sexy dude.


Marla said...

Great blog. I'm a new fan.

Carly should be on TOP.


Aaron said...

Great music!


Bruce D. said...

Cool lady.

Like your blog.


Grady said...

Great songs. Even her covers are awesome.

Great interview.


Mary said...

Sweet coverage.

She is awesome.

Chris, I sent you a message, cuz I'm a musician as well.
Would be honored to see my story at crankbox-music!


Nelly said...

Great coverage.