Interview with an Artist: Carina Lewis

carinaCarina Lewis is a local Seattle musician who creates and performs indie soul and r&b music. I remember the first time I heard her sing, in a small worship gathering I had the privilege to be a part of for a couple years. Her voice instantly mesmerized and amazed me—you could hear the beauty of her heart just flow out from her lungs. If you’ve never heard of Carina, you’ll definitely want to check her work out here and on facebook.

Here is what Carina has to say about the creative life:


What is a current project you’re working on?

I am working on a few singles right now with the aim of an EP by year’s end.


When did you first know you wanted to be a musician?

Most of my earliest memories involve me singing coupled with an awareness that I continually would do so. I’ve always loved music, performing, writing, and singing.


What are your near and future goals for your music?

I’d like to get a full length album out in the next 12 months. Long term… of course, I’d love to be fully financially supported via my music!


What other types of art or artists inspire you? Any specific examples?

I really love textured oil paintings. I may even create an abstract painting from a song from time to time.

A good book that sucks you in and makes you forget you’re reading… yeah. Those are happy moments.

I’ve been known to shed a most joyous tear as I eat. A good chef has my deepest regard and respect (talking to you Alex Westad). True artistry at work!


How do you usually get past creativity blocks?

I take a break and enjoy something else. That usually helps me remember why I love this in the first place. Then I get alone and just jam on whatever originally inspired the current project. I’m all for looking at it more as fostering a comfortable creative environment and then catching the flow when it comes, rather than trying to force it.


How do you fight insecurity or doubts in your art?

Um, insistently. Ha! I look back at things I’ve created that I’m proud of and say, “Yeah, this is good. I love what I did here!” Aaaaand sometimes I go to trusted individuals who are wonderful and supportive. Who doesn’t need a friend to say, “You got this! Keep going!” every once in a while?


What does your creative process look like?

My songs are most often born of deep emotion. I feel. I need to express. I find a tool. I let it flow. Sometimes I use an instrument (Bass, piano, guitar). Other times I find a loop or just go a capella. From there, its work-it-out time. Whether that be with my band or producer, it’s a matter of relaying to them my vision, listening to theirs and finding what this song is really all about.


What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

Anything is possible. Art, by its nature, knows no bounds.


What do you find most beautiful in the world?

Love. And all that’s wrapped up in it. You know – companionship, kindness, hope, humor, forgiveness… all that.


What inspires your specific music style?

The first person in music I found truly inspiring was Nina Simone. She was so unique and expressive. And she had so much soul! You never know what you’re gonna get when you listen to a Nina album you haven’t discovered before. She was not at all afraid to take risks. I adore much of her music – and can’t stand some of it as well! But I so respect that she was true to what was in her to create. I hope that I can do the same.

Beyond that, anything with soul really. If it’s got a groove, it likely inspires.


If a young, aspiring musician came up to you to ask you for advice, what would be the first thing you’d tell them?

Hmm. I’d say to soak up really good music and don’t judge yourself harshly. Yeah, that’s one thing if I say it in the same breath right? 😉


What is one of the most important things you’ve learned in your pursuit of music?

Plain potato chips before singing can be quite helpful! Heh. True as that is, there may be more important things. I’ve learned to stop waiting for someone to provide a box that fits.


What kind of change do you hope to bring about through your music?

Music can get down to the nitty gritty. Into the depths of us when we’re not even looking. I hope my music takes people into those deep places and helps them feel. Deep joy, pain, anger, grief, hope. These can all be uncomfortable, but are of paramount importance to walk through. If my music can assist on the journey, I call it a success.


What would your superpower be and why?

Other than being able to get the song in my head out, fully intact, with no rabbit trails? Flight. I fly in my dreams… and it’s a beautiful thing!

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