Here at Keepin’ it Country we love to introduce our readers to fantastic, undiscovered talent in country music. In Candi Carpenter‘s case, however, she’s been getting attention from all the right people for all the right reasons. The singer-songwriter has received praise from Little Jimmy Dickens, Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, and even Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. Candi left her Michigan school at a young age to follow her passion in Music City, opening for legends like Loretta Lynn, Vince Gill, Porter Wagner, Bill Anderson and Little Jimmy Dickens. She’s learned to play guitar, harmonica, and even yodel!
Candi might be recognized from her appearances in Alan Jackson‘s “Too Much Of A Good Thing,” Kid Rock‘s “All Summer Long,” or as the guitar player in Brooks & Dunn‘s “Put A Girl In It” music videos. She’s a rising star and country fans are about to hear a lot about her pretty soon. Get to know Candi here with us at Keepin’ it Country before she hits it big.
“Candi happens to be one of my favorite people in country music. She has it all.” – Little Jimmy Dickens
Read our exclusive interview with Candi below:
Can you just say a little bit on your sound and your influences for fans who might not know you yet?
Well, my influences range from Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin; from Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn to Sting and The Police. My music is a blend of country music, soul, rock and raw emotion, but country is truly the music of my soul. It’s kind of a crazy mix, but it works.
So, has it always been country music for you then?
I’ve been singing right from the time I learned how to talk, which seems to be common with a lot of artists. I started off singing gospel and country, and my influences expanded as I got older.
Is there a song out on the radio right now that you wish you wrote?
Anything Bobby Braddock was a writer or co-writer on. I’m a huge Bobby Braddock fan. I love everything in his catalog, but “Time Marches On” is one of my favorite Bobby Braddock songs.
If you could record a duet with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be?
Has to be Johnny Cash. He’s my hero.
You just released your brand new music video, can you talk a little bit about it?
Absolutely! One of my best friends, Justine Feldt, who is a brilliant director, came up with the idea to put together a music video for an acoustic track that I had recorded for a song called “My Fault Too.” I wrote that song with Bobby Tomberlin, and it sounded like fun. We went out in search of a great location, and we stumbled across 1950’s style diner just west of Nashville that burned down just over a year ago. It seemed like the perfect place, so we talked to the owner and he agreed to let us come out and shoot a music video there. Because of the weather we only had about 8 hours to do it, but everything came together. We were afraid the wind would actually hinder the shoot but it really helped! None of the wind or any effects in the video were staged – it kind of just happened! We did have a smoke machine, but luckily the wind carried the smoke towards me and not away (laughs).
It’s not the first time you’ve worked with Justine, right?
No, I’ve actually been working with Justine for a c0uple of years now. We’ve started work on a webseries called “Candi Land.” There’s a few episodes up on my YouTube page.
If you could tour with any artist who would it be?
I’d love to go on tour with Bob Dylan. He’s just such an incredible poet, such a legend, and an iconic person and I feel I could learn so much from him.
Where do you find you get your inspiration from when you’re writing?
I draw a lot of inspiration in my songwriting from my own personal life experiences, and the experiences the people around me share with me. I like to write about real life and real pain. I just think songs about real life resonate with an audience in a very strong way.
What usually comes first for you, do you find its the words or the melody?
Sometimes the words comes first, sometimes the melody does. There’s really not a formula to writing a song – it’s mostly how you wake up that morning, I guess. It’s how inspiration hits you. It can come from a billboard you see on the side of the road, it can come from something a friend says to you on the phone, it can come from something you read in a magazine or see on television; you can get an idea as simply as that. Sometimes a song can be finished in a few minutes, sometimes it takes a couple of months or twelve hours.
How would you describe your live shows for those who haven’t seen it yet?
Powerful, energetic and exciting.
Can you share a little bit on “My Fault Too” being released as a single?
Actually, “My Fault Too” wasn’t supposed to be released as a single. It’s an acoustic track that we thought we’d just put out there and see what happens. The response has been overwhelming and humbling, I can’t believe how people are getting on board and supporting this video, and it’s really been touching to read their responses and see them re-posting the video and sharing it. We’re asking all of our friends and fans to please get on and re-post the video to help share it around and get out the word. Actually, I’m holding off on releasing a record while we’re shopping around and talking to labels so hopefully exciting things are coming by the first of next year.
Have you ever played up here in Canada?
I’ve never had the pleasure of playing in Canada, but I do have a lot of fond memories of visiting Canada when I was a child. I grew up in Michigan.
I guess you know what our snow is like then.
I remember driving to school with wet hair and from the time I got out of the car and into the building my hair had ice in it. I’m sure you know how that feels (laughs).
So how long have you lived in Nashville, then?
I’ve lived in Nashville for a little over ten years. I was taken out of school when I was 15 and moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. I lived in a run-down hotel room not far from downtown Nashville, and the stages and bars and honky tonk dives became my classrooms – I stayed out until 2:30 in the morning performing instead of getting sleep for school like I should have been. It wasn’t easy, the people who had control of my career then didn’t have my best interests at heart. It was a really scary experience at times, but I think it helped me become the performer I am today.
Is there any plans for a tour or anything in the next few months?
Yes! I’ll actually be doing a Summer Tour all over the country, the dates will be posted on my website as soon as they’re all finalized. There’s a lot of dates up in the Mid West. There will be a lot of dates in Michigan and Minnesota, and also Alabama – it’ll be scattered a little bit.
What would you consider to be the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you about the industry?
Keep a level head. You know, I guess there’s really not too much else that needs to be said about that one (laughs), just keep a level head.
What is the one thing you hope people learn from your music?
That no matter how much pain you may feel at a certain point in your life that there’s always hope. Hope is what we all need to survive, and hope gives us the strength to carry on.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you?
I’m just so grateful and thankful for my fans for their support, their encouragement, and their kindness. They mean the world to me and I want them to know that.
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