Her electronic pop is so delicious, you almost don’t notice that Carley Bearden is becoming your new idol for living.
Your music has so much self-confidence, but the story of your first song is kind of…
Not that? Yeah. I used to have stage fright beyond belief. I was 16, and I had written “Yet Again”on my guitar. I never in my life thought I would sing it for anyone else. But I have a really great friend, Averi, she’s been a huge influence in my life. One day, I sat her down and I said, “I’ve got to tell you something. I wrote a song. I’m going to sound shaky and terrible, but I want you to hear it.” At first, I tried to sing it face-to-face, but I kept messing up the words, so I made her turn around and I turned around as well. I was just like, “Bear with me,” and when I finished, she was like, “Dude, why are you not doing something with music? Why are you not letting people know about this?”
What happened next?
Her reaction gave me a huge burst of encouragement and joy, and so ten minutes later, she sat down at the piano, and I got my guitar, and we recorded it on my phone. Averi pushed me to post it, so after listening to it a million times, I posted it to Facebook.
The crazy thing is that right after, I got a DM from a man who runs a studio in Dallas, and he
said, “Hey, I would like to record your song for free. I think it’s a great song. I think you have a great personality, and I’d like you to come in.”
This story is kind of unreal.
Totally. There was so much I didn’t know. I didn’t realize how time stops in a studio. It was an
“Yet Again” got a lot of love pretty quickly. Did that inspire you to just keep going?
It did, but when I got to school, I was kind of adjusting so there was a break. Then I met Jasmine, and everything started flowing again. “Sweet Disgrace” is about her. Before meeting me, she had never really been with a girl before. She was shy and insecure about what other people would think. And the song is like, “Don’t run away from me, because we both know we want to be with each other.”
You write a lot about…
Love, yeah. I’m a super emotional person, and when feelings happen, I jump straight into
writing. It’s so much easier for me to write it than to speak it aloud. My mom says, “When are
you going to stop writing about love?” She’s right, but it’s the easiest, most natural thing for me, and a lot of people like hearing songs about love. Everyone has a playlist for their crush.
Tell us about “Let You Down,” which was a breakthrough for you, in terms of reaching a
Before I met Jasmine, I was in another relationship, and the song is about me – about my
behavior, which was not great, and I was sorry. Then it blew up on social media, and I started to get great feedback from strangers. I love feedback from people now because they will tell you the harsh truth, and I like hearing that. But strangers were messaging me with comments like, “This is really good, I want to hear more from you.”
But there’s this thought that sticks with me every day. I always used to post on Insta, asking,
“Hey, what do you guys want to hear from me next?” And someone told me, “Yo, Dude, you got to do it for you. The people who like it, they’re going to like it. You can’t base your life story and music off of what other people want to hear.”
Who inspires you?
Stevie Nicks. The way she carries herself. Her whole aesthetic. She fuels me to do my own thing. I want to get to the point where I’m doing a cover with her. That’s my ultimate goal of
everything. It would have to be “Landslide.” I cry every time. Dude, I can’t even fathom it.
Jimi Hendrix. King Princess. Mac Miller singing “The Question” live. That song makes me feel like I could jump off a freaking mountain top and land on my feet.
Also, there’s a singer, Lauren Sanderson. She’s not famous but she’s getting there. She’s Billie
Eilish mixed with Pink. Tatted head to toe. She’s also gay, and an LGBT advocate for music. She doesn’t care about how people view her and her music. As long as she loves it, she’s going to do it. She doesn’t portray herself as anyone but who she is. That’s really inspiring to me.
Crystal ball – where are you in ten years?
I just hope I’m happy and changing lives, and my music does more than makes people bop their heads. I want people to feel OK when they hear my music, like they’re not alone. I’ve had people message me, saying that they haven’t been able to come out or they’re stuck with their music, and they say, “I just so admire that you fully do you.” In ten years, I just want people to think, “She’s just a normal girl, doing what she loves. Why can’t I?”
Check out Carley Bearden on Quadio!