RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST KIMMERLY
Introduce to us yourself and your musical history.
My name is Carson Ruby Kimmerly, but when I perform I simply go by KIMMERLY. I am a songwriter, a musician, a poet, an artist, and a lover of all things relating to artistic expression. I have a very classical background, and I like to think that those influences can still be seen in my music to this day. My first (and still my primary) instrument was the violin. That orchestral training for the violin gave me the basis in music theory I needed to begin composing my own music. I spent years playing in orchestras, chamber groups, and doing solos, and did a lot of really neat things in my community. As an adult, I was even a violin instructor for a while as my main occupation. I have since taught myself the acoustic guitar, piano, and music production. You can hear all of my instruments in almost every song I release!
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’ve enjoyed music from a young age. My father was hardly a professional, but listening to him come up with little melodies on his acoustic guitar was a big part of my childhood. I grew up always listening to music and surrounding myself with friends who cared about it, too. Picking up the violin and devoting a lot of my life to the orchestra was a huge factor in my continued career in music. While my focus has shifted off the classical to my own contemporary songs, music has always been the light at the end of the tunnel. I am very proud to have just released my debut album as KIMMERLY: ‘Of Muses and Music’.
I hear you have a new album; what can you tell us about it?
‘Of Muses and Music’ is a big project that I have been working on for years. Some of the tracks have been finalized since 2020, but I am so glad I waited until I was truly ready to unveil it to the world. The album is focused around the visual arts, explicitly mentioning some of my favorites (the ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Water Lilies’ by Monet, Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, and more). I worked very hard to create a variety of auditory and visual works of art to be explored by listeners. The lead single off of the album is ‘Waterlily’, the song I debuted with as KIMMERLY back in June of this year.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tunes.
All of the tracks were inspired by works of art that are important to me. My muses for this record (in the order of the tracks they inspired) were: The Rosette Windows of Notre Dame, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Sunflowers series by Van Gogh, Monet’s Water Lilies, Starry Night, Manet’s Olympia, The Son of Man by Rene Magritte, the screen printed works of Warhol, Vermeer’s controversial Girl with a Pearl Earring, amd Edgar Degas’ Paris Opera ballerinas. I tried to capture the feelings and history of the works through my own musical lens. Waterlily has been my most popular track so far, seconded by my Pop Art tribute Puppet. In addition to all of the original music I composed for the record, I also put together unique visuals to go with each track. Many of the visuals include samples of the artworks they emulate.
What was the recording process like?
I recorded this album at home, so the recording was very… sporadic. Recording is my least favorite part of the whole production process, so I only do it when I’m really in the mood. When I decided to work on recording a track, I did it all in one day. Vocals, instrumentals, backgrounds, you name it. Once I’m on a roll, it is unwise for me to stop myself.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Of course, there are a lot of little things that only I would hear, but going about a big project like this and being a perfectionist isn’t a good blend. I constantly have to remind myself that when it comes to music, the message and the art are more important than the tiny crackle in the background of the chorus, or the one word that my voice sounded a little shaky. My music is not at all manufactured, so I try to make peace as much as I can with any little imperfection.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
I’ve been writing ‘songs’ since I was in grade school, so obviously, there has been a lot of maturing in that area. Besides just lyrically, I gained composing/instrumental skills through my classical music training. I took the self-taught approach to write and producing music, so I developed my skills through trial and error for sure. I’m still improving every day, but I’m grateful to be in a place now where I feel confident about the work that I’m putting out for the world.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
For the first time, I think I can actually say that I’m doing well. This is far from the first time I’ve tried to share my music with the world, and every time I try I learn a lot of new things that help me to keep moving forward. In this chapter of my music career, I have people who actually listen to my music and use it as inspiration. That, to me, is success in itself! I am working hard to increase the reach of my new record, and I am excited to announce some exciting upcoming projects.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I like to think there are quite a few things that make me stand out from the crowd… the main thing I am proud of is my music’s connection to the visual/classical arts. My album ‘Of Muses and Music’ is a collection of the inspirations I drew from all of my favorite works of art. Another thing being my very independent approach to my music. I write, perform the vocals and instrumentals for, and produce all of my own tracks. That being said, I would love to find a home at a great label someday if it’s meant to be 🙂
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Well, personally I really like Spotify… so I don’t have too much of an issue with it. I feel that the attention garnered by Spotify is no coincidence – they really do make a personal experience for both users and artists. I really enjoy all of the extra things that I can share with fans on Spotify, like artist’s picks and Canvas videos to go with each track. Spotify is my first choice for music streaming, too!
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I think my tastes in music would come as a surprise to some of my listeners. While I do listen to a little bit of everything, some of my favorite songs are a lot different than my own works. Rough sounds like Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana are guilty pleasures of mine. Some of my other favorite artists include Fiona Apple, Lindsey Stirling, and famed composer Danny Elfman. Like I said, I listen to a little bit of everything.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I would just like to say, as cliche as it sounds, that I have poured my heart and soul into creating my latest album and making it something bigger than itself. I hope that my music can reach and inspire people, as well as connecting them to artists that have left a legacy greater than time. Also, there are more exciting things coming from me soon – so stay tuned!