Interview with CARRELLEE
Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter Carrellee, otherwise known as Sarah Pray, combines the best parts of Americana, folk and occasional jazz undertones in her music. This is music that at once sounds familiar, but something totally fresh at the same time.
The Gold Ship Records artist is vocally reminiscent of the likes of Emmylou Harris and Portishead front-woman, Beth Gibbons and this comes through strongly on Carrallee’s Kingdom EP, released earlier this year.
The lady who weaves tales of love, life and loss; drawn from years on the Twin Cities music scene and thousands of miles on the road in both the US and Europe, recently spoke with AMNplify about her music, her hopes and dreams. So, read on to discover more about the divine Carrallee below.
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I was and still am a very shy and private person. Most people from my high school didn’t know I talked let alone sing. So, when I discovered song-writing at 20 years old, I felt a great release to finally say and feel things I had kept hidden for years. At that time, I was inspired by songwriters like Fiona Apple and Jewel because their songs made me feel something.
What is the significance of the Carrellee moniker?
It comes from my grandmother Carrell and my mother Lee. Beyond these two people being really important to me, I wanted to separate my music from my work as an art therapist.
Who are your main musical influences?
I would say Angel Olsen, Townes Van Zdant, Sheryl Crow and Patsy Cline.
What is the inspiration behind Kingdom?
I wrote them while based in Minneapolis, as life happened around me. A dear friend of mine passed away, which I tried to process through Promise Me and Maybe in the Morning. This friend gave me a place to stay which allowed me to actually quit my day job and tour for the first time. I toured the country and Europe on and off for months at a time, by myself. It was a great experience, but at times lonely. I wrote When I Come Home while couch-surfing in Paris. When I got back, I had the opportunity to work with producer Jacob Detering and many talented musicians on the record.
What are the themes explored on the Kingdom EP?
Kingdom is very much an inward reflection. It was fuelled by lonely nights with the guitar or sitting at the piano thinking on memories, dreams, and desires. The songs are in a sort of chronological order from reflections on childhood to death. That was not planned, but I like that it creates a bigger picture.
What inspires your song writing?
What makes you different to similar sounding artists?
I will say when I first started writing songs they were all about relationships, mostly breakups. I still love break up songs but I hope that my lyrics and diversity of themes stand out.
What has been your most memorable career highlight to date?
Playing at First Avenue in Minneapolis and touring in Germany with my duo partner Thomas Kivi. He is that guy singing on all the tracks.
What is something you want to achieve career-wise that you haven’t done yet?
I just want to keep recording albums that feel artistic and interesting to me. I also want to get huge on Spotify, so follow me there.
If you could play any venue in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to tour in Australia. I am curious about life in Australia, as I never learned much about it except that there are kangaroos. I would want to talk to people and check out the music scene.
AMNPLIFY – DB
Connect with CARRELLEE:
- Maggie Sapet