Carey’s ascendency to the top of independent country music, and
arguably to the top of the adult contemporary/Top 40 radio markets as
well, is characterized by her amazing fortitude, which she generously
shares with all. Time and again her songs suggest alternative options to
what holds people up in their lives. They do so with her magical
ability to make a chorus melody and hook sink deep into the better part
of the listener’s consciousness.
the onetime actress has done so while raising two daughters and
navigating a successful marriage as well. In pop culture today, that in
itself is notable.
have been a fan of her music for some years now, having ran into her on
Twitter, and was literally floored by her strong voice and positive
message. This is a recent interview I have conducted with Eileen. She
always has something to say.
in 2013 we had our last long interview. You told me about your acting
career which was pretty impressive. I guess you’re co actors are pretty
proud of what you achieved?
to tell Isabel. The U.S. is a big place and I have only kept up with a
small few since those days; but of course some of my old friends have
expressed their pride. Been a long time now since I worked as an actress
outside of my music videos though. I think that many of the people in
Southern California and Nashville that I have worked with as a singer
and songwriter in the past, root for me now.
know Isabel, it was never my intention to be an actress. I wanted to be
a filmmaker so I got involved with the movie industry when I came to
Los Angeles to learn the business. I felt that you needed to learn the
movie business from the bottom up.
like any business, the restaurant business for example, if you can’t
cook yourself it is hard to communicate what needs to be done to others.
As for the actress, I just kept getting picked out of the crowd for
roles. Acting was a conduit to my wanting to direct, but music was
How many are dazzled by this big career move?
was my first love so really not many folks were surprised anyway. My
film friends, music friends, friends and family are not so much dazzled
as happy for me. I have been making music for a long time, and my music
fans have long expected my success.
2014 the real challenge began. Nominations all over and awards besides
Tammy Wynette not 1 country singer achieved that. Not even Dolly Parton
or Patsy Cline. How does it feel?
am not ready to put myself in that lofty group. It does feels great
though! Awesome to be doing what I love with my life. The nominations
and the awards are great, but not nearly as great as watching people
jumping and dancing and loving my music when I am on stage. I cherish my
friends like yourself Isabel who continue to support me and let their
fans know of me and my music. That is what matters to me most.
2015 you were on the New Music Weekly radio charts all year. “Bottle
Your Crazy Up’ and “Faith” were number one for several weeks, on both
country and AC/Top 40. Can you tell us how it feels to walk into the
studio again to record your next CD? Let It Go was so successful, are
you concerned by the high bar you have set for yourself?
am a perfectionist, so yes of course I am concerned. I am also excited
and confident that my next CD will be even better, and lead me to new
opportunities to sharing my music with folks worldwide. As for the
writing over these past couple years, I have been jotting down notes and
ideas so I am going into the next album with a good idea of what I want
journalists hardly ask about you’re charity. I know you do a lot.
Somehow it’s a sideline that few know. I know you want to tell so much
more about it.
am glad to have the opportunity to reach people through my notoriety
about causes I believe in. One of the blessings of having an artist
footprint in the world is that people tend to pay attention to you.
have a thing about homelessness, whether people or animals; and that
young people should not hinge their self-worth on romance and
dysfunctional relationships. I have a thing about people creating the
life they want to create. My songs are all about self-determination and
courage; male or female. Country music is so full of broken-hearts, but
my subject matter is what separates me from many of the other country
artists. My positive message.
What inspired you to take music as a career over acting?
was always into music. Played drums at 13 years of age. Sort of fell
into acting out here in Los Angeles. As for taking up music as a
profession I was working for a hotel chain booking the entertainment,
and I kept thinking I could write and sing as good as any of them. I was
fortunate that I had the support of my family from day one! My husband
and children are still my biggest fans.
seem to have a lot of good people around you. Obviously I know Joey
Alkes, and I am impressed at the quality of your art work, shows you
play and continuous online footprint. Who are some of the people that
have helped you emerge into a star?
again, “star” is a big word. I have had the good fortune to have some
great people in my corner. My producer Travis Allen Childress and my
music director and lead guitarist John “groover” McDuffie have been
essential in my career. John is the legendary Rita Coolidge’s music
director and lead guitarist as well, and on occasion I lose him to her
for a show (lol).
songwriting partners especially my good friend Kathryn Grimm. My
Nashville publicist Susan Collier and my radio team; Alan Young and Paul
Loggins have been amazing. Jennifer Blair, and as you know Joey has
been with me for the past few years. You mention the art and design and
that is the great work of Christine Caracciolo.
You know I could take up your whole page commenting on all of the really cool people around me. (NB go ahead)
Al Bonhomme my rhythm guitarist in Los Angeles, and Dan Hagen the same in Nashville.
a marketing person whom has had an impact on my career, a young women
from Canada just passed away from lung cancer. Her name is Nadine
Gelineau. Her company Musebox led to the CBS LA Weekend Morning Show,
and the last two music videos (“Faith” and “Party at the Beach”) came
out of her company and a filmmaker named Taner Tumkaya. The photos I am
going to be using for the next CD was shot by another member of the
Musebox team, Kharen Hill of Public Pictures. I am currently retaining
an off-shoot of the MuseBox for marketing, Erik Koral of the Koral Young
husband, Joe Federico, did quite well in business in the past and we
use to go to certain business seminars. One of the things that impressed
us was the idea that you have to have good people around you and
working for you, or with you, if you want to succeed.
When can we expect a new a new album?
am not sure. As I said earlier, I am a perfectionist so “when” is hard
question to answer. Thankfully I run my own music business and don’t
have a label pressuring me for a half-baked release to fit their
timetable. I will release a new single that will be on the next album
release, in time for, or just after the CMAs.
What message do you have for all for 2016?
your dreams! I cannot emphasis that enough! If you want things in life
you have to work for them, yes. But, if you follow your dreams the work
will not deter you.
Thank you Eileen!
Isabel Blanco for Country Music News International