“Laura” by Cari Q & Rebecca Laird
As someone who appreciates writing in its various forms, I’ve always enjoyed music for the songwriting. So much creativity happens in order to make the the diverse music we all enjoy. I path crossed with Cari Q at Craft Pride in Austin, where cards were exchanged. She’s taken time between shows to graciously answer some questions of mine about songwriting!
Travis Blair: Which came first – the singing or the writing?
Cari Q: Singing came with speaking, and I was already making complete sentences by my first birthday. It’s hard to say which came first. My earliest memories are singing and performing tunes I made up for my family. I started playing guitar at age 10, so I guess that’s when writing became a conscious effort. Before that it was all just solos in school plays. I was always singing as a little kid, loudly and unashamed… I still sing everywhere I go, but I’m not usually aware of it.
Travis: What has been the driving force behind you pursuing your interest in creating music?
Cari: To really pursue music, you have to want it more than anything else. It’s a really tough industry to make a living in. It takes working over time, and crummy side jobs, sleep deprivation, and so many sacrifices. A lot of being an artist is just overcoming that voice that tells you to give up, or that you’re not good enough. After I graduated from UT, I knew I’d always have this nagging “what if” if I didn’t give music a fighting chance. I wanted to do it the hard way. I had already had a bit of a reputation for my music growing up in Houston. I had a lot of silly press due to American Idol, and my work as a singer for the Texans, but to choose music, I had to know I was more than a gimmic. So, 6 months later I bought a one way ticket to Ireland, and for a month, with just a backpack and a guitar, I traveled around the country performing my music wherever I could, pubs, alleyways, hostels…A few times in Ireland it came down to-make enough money to afford a hotel…or sleep on the streets. Thankfully I was very well received, and it never came down to that. After Ireland I continued traveling for 5 months, and by the time I made it to Israel it was so clear to me that the best experiences I’d had were because of my music, and my ability to share it with the people I met along the way. Music was always what I did, but it wasn’t until that year that I could really call it my profession.
Travis: How do you get over a creative block?
Cari: I usually just ride it out. I only wrote two songs during the 6 months I was overseas, and it wasn’t until two months after returning home did all of the stories start pouring out into melodies. I now have several albums worth of material, and it’s only been a year.
Travis: How do you save that flash of what could be something in your head, in order to turn it into a song?
Cari: IPhones are handy devices. However, I usually bring my guitar with me everywhere…I’m that girl…
Travis: Where in life do you find inspiration for your music?
Cari: A lot of my music is autobiographical- based on my childhood, or traveling experiences, but I do occasionally get on my soapbox and stage some social satire. As far as genres go, I’m very inspired by 1960s folk and psychadelic. There’s nothing better than winding down with a classic record on Vinyl.