Carly Jo Jackson is a typical nineteen-year-old who is taking college classes to achieve a degree. What makes her anything but typical is her music career. While some classify her as a college student, others classify her as a singer, song writer, and guitar player of multiple music genres such as Pop, Pop Rock, Indie Pop/ Acoustic Pop. I had a chance to ask Carly Jo about her music style along with many other questions. Here is what she had to say:
Q: Carly Jo, there are so many different genres that I see associate with your music. What genre would you say you best fit into?
Carly Jo: That’s really hard to say because as an artist, you never want to single yourself into one genre you want to reach as many listeners as you can. Pop doesn’t mean “Brittney Spears,” or “Hannah Montana,” it means “popular.” It crosses genres to meet all audiences. I am also planning to work on some hip hop and rockin’ roll in the near future.
Q: Let’s talk more specifically about your music. You write your own stuff?
Carly Jo: Yes.
Q: Wildflower is a beautiful song with lyrics such as “Wash away the pain and give me strength.” What is this song about?
Carly Jo: People tend to have a hard time coming to grips with other people and understanding them. I got this from my mom but I always try to “put myself in other people’s shoes” and I think everyone should do this. Wildflower is about accepting everyone for who they are, reaching out to them and giving them a chance to say they are a wildflower too. They don’t have to be scared and conform. We need to get used to differences.
Q: Reverb Nation says you “were coming to grips with your uniqueness and individuality. Talk more about that. How are you unique and how do you strive to be an individual?
Carly Jo: I’m a klutz, I’m loud, I’m goofy, and always joking, but I do have a serious side.
Q: There seems to be a theme running through many of your songs in the same way Adele has a theme of “break up” songs. Can you talk about Heartless, Just Another Game, and This is Good-Bye?”
Carly Jo: There was a pattern in that all songs are written as the result of something I was going through when I was fifteen and sixteen-years-old. I was in a relationship similar to ones my older sisters were going through; it was very mature for my age. I remember feeling this emotional height and sitting down to write. Writing is like squeezing toothpaste out of a bottle with the cap on, then the cap goes flying off and the toothpaste goes everywhere. There was this huge release. I just poured myself into the lyrics. I was able to realize, even at a young age, some issues in the relationship and what to look for in the future.
Q: You mention your sisters. Tell me about your family.
Carly Jo: I have two older sisters, I’m the youngest. There’s Tessa, who is the oldest and a “mom” figure. She just graduated college with a perfect GPA. Lexis was always sort of a rebel but now she’s finished college. I had ADHD and have always been the goof of the family.
Q: I notice college seems to be very important to your family and you are currently attending college as well. How are you balancing college and your music career?
Carly Jo: Well, let me tell you, that has been a challenge. I have disappointed my mom before by skipping a class or two to go to a gig. I recently pulled out of Florida Atlantic University and am attending a state college closer to home and am doing online classes. My mom wasn’t too happy. Education, in my family, is very important and solid. For me, it’s Plan B where music is Plan A. I want music to surround my education. I’m not going to lie, it has been in the back of my mind to quit college and go career.
Q: How supportive of your music is your family?
Carly Jo: Very! In fact, we have been called the “lovey, dovey family.” We are always hugging and showing support. My mom is my “mom-ager.” If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am with my guitar and website… My family has never doubted me. It has become very emotional. They actually cry after my shows.
Q: You mention your guitar, which you got at sixteen-years-old and you are currently taking lessons. How have you progressed?
Carly Jo:It’s a process and a challenge but I have grown to be a supported musician. Guitar can be intimidating. Lessons are helping me become stronger. When I was first playing, I was just plain strumming and I’ve grown to picking styles. It’s hard to get a rhythm of singing and playing. But once you get the guitar, it’s easier to get other instruments. I also play the Eukalali.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
Carly Jo: Telling my family that I wanted to sing. When I was younger, they thought my singing was cute but to make it a reality was tough. They said, “Carly Jo, do you even know how to sing?” To sing in front of them was terrifying but my family was supportive. I even tried out for a vocal audition the next day and got it. I had lost the original song I was supposed to sing so I just sang something from my heart.
Q: What advice would you give upcoming artists trying to break in to the biz?
Carly Jo: Just try. If you love singing, get vocal lessons. Never think you’re “done” or you have “arrived.” Keep trying. Set goals and be better.
I had so much fun talking to you, Carly Jo. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk in a candid way about your music. You truly showed us how “It’s the music that brings us together.”
My first assignment as the Lead Correspondent for MaxMoon Entertainment was to interview Country Western singer and star, Payton Taylor. This was a particular honor for me as I am a fan of Payton’s music. Each song is an original variation from the last. My personal favorite If I Can’t Have Tomorrow with its catchy lyrics and cool beat, is a great fit for Payton’s incredible voice. This can be contrasted with her song Can’t Trust the Weatherman where a fiddle brings in the intro of the song and plays throughout the chorus. I got the opportunity to ask Payton which song is her favorite.
I was thrilled to hear it was Love, Don’t Give Up because she wrote the song. I also learned that this was an accomplishment that Payton plans to pursue as a future goal. In an effort to become a better songwriter, Payton plans to write her next entire soundtrack in conjunction with co-writers. Judging from Love, Don’t Give Up, I’d say Payton is well on her way to accomplishing this goal. Payton is also working to master the guitar in order to become a well-rounded musician.
Payton was discovered when she was eleven-years-old by her manager, Joe Caliva, who was working sound for a local show. Payton was singing What I Did for Love, a Broadway show tune, with as much passion and emotion as an adult. Joe was awestruck. “She had a stage presence,” said Joe. But it wasn’t until a trip to Nashville, TN in 2009 that Payton fell in love with the culture and history of Country music. When she sang her first Country song on stage via karaoke, she found a perfect fit.
At fifteen-years-old, Payton Taylor has had to overcome some obstacles to her career, mainly her age. In a market where Justin Bieber, Miley Cirus, and a handful of Disney stars are wildly popular, Payton worries about becoming “gimmicky.” She is serious about her career and does not plan to be short term. Another obstacle that works against her is time. It’s not easy to balance family, school, and her career. In fact, Payton and I discussed her decision to finish her education by homeschooling. She does not consider school in itself a struggle because she loves learning and this new track will enable her to take college classes now, rather than having to wait. Her family has always been a strong support network for her, not only in her career, but in anything that Payton has ever decided to pursue. Payton went as far as to use the word “backbone.” When I asked Payton for advice for future musicians looking to break into the business, she brought up this “backbone” once again. Her advice is this: “Don’t give up. Be prepared to work hard. Make sure you have strong support.”
You can find Payton’s music at www.reverbnation.com/paytontaylor.
Thank you to Payton and her manager, Joe, for taking the time to talk to me, Angela Heather Hammond, Lead Correspondent for MaxMoon Entertainment Encore where “It’s the music that brings us together.”