Indy artist Carla Williams is a Bayou-based singer born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. She began singing in church when she was three years old and grew up in a Southern Baptist household. She got into contemporary Christian music when she attended Faith Academy. We recently spoke with Carla, who gave us more 411 about her music and so much more.
What kind of music do you sing?
When it comes to my music, I only sing songs that I can relate to. If I write it or I sing it, then I've lived it. I put out my first project eleven years ago. And my life has changed just as much as this business. I'm now married and have four children. I also own my own business called Innovative Medicine Partners. I'm so fortunate that I'm in a chapter of my life when I can follow two passions concurrently.
What are some of your favorite artists and music that you listen to and why?
My biggest musical influences are the award winning group, 4HIM (of course), Karen Carpenter, Amy Grant and Harry Connick, Jr. Every song and every word on 4HIM's self-titled album and The Basics of Life album are some of my most influential music. In regards to Amy Grant, I can't think of Christmas without thinking of her. I look forward to playing her Christmas record during my favorite time of the year. Then, there's Karen Carpenter. I love her entire catalog. Her vocal tones intrigue me.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of great writers and producers over the years and now you’re recording with Kirk Sullivan of 4HIM. What is it like working with so much experience and history in Christian music?
I've been beyond blessed to work with some of the greatest names in music. Kirk Sullivan was an influence to me years before I knew him. He was in a vocal group called Truth that I loved and saw perform several times. And the industry and fans probably recognize his name from 4HIM. We sparked up a conversation in an airport terminal and we mentioned that we should sing together. It was then that I recognized that my song "Love to Gain," a tune I had written a decade ago, was finally going to come to life. Tom Hemby is one of the kindest souls I know; I'm so blessed to work under his direction. Growing up on Amy Grant records, it's quite overwhelming to walk into his studio and see his walls full of awards and honors for his work with her. Steve Dorff is simply an icon. Steve and I have worked together since my first album back in 2008. He is one of my biggest influences and truly taught me studio etiquette.
Who is your ideal audience? Where do you most want your music to land?
Funny enough, I love the energy of a large crowd over the small intimate environments. Most importantly, it's contingent upon getting in front of a crowd that is willing to open their hearts, enjoy the music and receive the message they are meant to receive. I hope my music lands in the hands of those who need to hear it. As a fan of music, I know how impactful the right song can be when it aligns with your life at that moment. Consequently, I hope my music lands in the hands or ears of those who need to hear it. "Love to Gain" is a tune I wrote when I was flying back from Los Angeles and I was teeming with admiration for the blessings that God had put in my life. Sometimes, it's hard to see the light in the world--especially in this current news cycle. Hopefully, this song will do that for a listener that needs to hear it.
Why Christian music? What pulls you to this genre?
I grew up singing in church in our Southern Baptist household. Christian music has always been the soundtrack of my life from Truth, 4HIM and Amy Grant to contemporary Christian music. I have been a part of many churches in the Mobile and Nashville area, as we have a residence in Nashville as well. You'll find me leading praise teams or singing in the choir. I really look forward to the praise and worship of church even more than I do the sermon, because that is where God truly meets me. It's not about a religion to me. It's about my salvation and my relationship with Jesus Christ.
What are you working on right now? What’s next?
I have my next single ready to be released. I'm excited to continue working with Tom. He produced the next single and it was a family affair as the song was written by his award-winning daughter Natalie. I can't wait to share it. We're also discussing what could be a very special album in the next few months. When I have the final go ahead, I will be so excited to share this news with the New Release Today readers. Beyond that, we’re continuing to work on TV and radio stations that we can visit to promote the Christian release. I'm honored by the initial reaction and look forward to continuing this journey.
How can we be praying for you?
I pray for peace in this world and, most of all, for those to know the loving grace of our Savior. There are so many struggling that could use His guidance and love. Our family has certainly traversed some hard times as well. When my cousin Taylor was five, he was diagnosed with leukemia and we had our faith to lean on through what was one of the darkest periods for our family. Luckily for us, The Ronald McDonald House stepped in to help us facility his treatments and counsel our family. Fortunately, Taylor is now 15 years old. This experience led me to feel called to ensure that we continue to support organizations like The Ronald McDonald House and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation that give families the support that they need. I’ve been blessed enough to giveback via charity concerts and fundraisers and I look forward to sharing his love with others.
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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