The San Andreas Fault isn’t the only thing shaking up the west coast right now. Malibu’s Colette Carr is doing her part to hit the west coast hip-hop scene with something they weren’t expecting and quite frankly won’t forget.
The 22-year old “spinger”, as she calls herself (that’s a combination of spitting and singing), recently broke ground on an extremely brave, multi-installment project called, Skitszo Collection. The album – which will be released in five parts leading up to (and including) the full-length album release in Summer of 2013 – is all being recorded in real time. That’s right, even, Colette Carr hasn’t heard the final cut, because it hasn’t been written. I was beyond fortunate enough to get a chance to talk to this young maverick of the hip-hop scene recently. Here’s what she had to say.
Colette Carr: Yeah, I mean I am making music as fast as I am releasing it, so it’s been really crazy. I don’t think I realized what I was getting myself into when we came up with the idea, but it has been really amazing.
BE: It’s safe to say that you aren’t typically what people would expect a hip-hop artist to be. When did you decide that this would be the path you were taking?
CC: This has always been the route to begin with. Hip-hop has always been a part of me growing up in California. It was what we bumped in the vehicle and I think it was just really natural. I would freestyle battle at parties and so it was just blatant that I wanted to rap, I never even thought about singing.
It kind of freaks me out still to this day that I also sing. Singing is a very competitive art. Kids are trained classically from the time they are six years old in some cases and, I dunno, with rap, personally for me, it is more of a poetic artistry that you can’t really put into a competitive category, where with singing there are notes, ranges and tones. It just goes on and on. It’s overwhelming to the point of where it bores me, if that makes sense? So many girls in unitards doing it.
BE: I was just saying the other night, girls in music don’t know what pants are anymore.
CC: You can let everyone know Colette Carr wears pants.
BE: *laughs* Good to know. That might be the title of this article actually.
BE: Your rhymes are so intricate, does it ever shock people? I mean you mention freestyle battles, it must come really natural to you.
CC: Yeah, it does. I think if it wasn’t natural it would look really funny as a white girl from Malibu. It’s the most natural thing I have ever done besides tennis. I actually don’t like freestyling so much though, because of the shock. It’s like “Come at me!” kind of stuff and then they don’t really expect me to do what I would do. I play to win and end up cutting down these dudes pretty hard. I would hurt feelings and it wasn’t really about that.
CC: I’ll tell you, it was very frustrating. The formula that a lot of artists abide by feels very contrived to me and I was fighting it a lot instead of just doing what I was supposed to do. Martin Kierszenbaum believed in me so much and thought I was so unique that he didn’t feel the need to try and fit me into a box, so we decided to think of a new way to release music.
I just wasn’t feeling the whole make five singles or album fillers thing. I felt it was kind of a “been there done that” sort of thing. Martin asked me what I wanted to do and I said I just want to put music out there. I don’t like singles, because there is so much focus around one song. I like to tell stories with my songs and it’s like tearing a page of a diary out and I can’t get that feeling out by just releasing a single. Martin ended up coming to me with the idea of an EP series and I am just really happy that he did. I think we are really onto something here.
BE: I have to say, I have been interviewing artists for years and I don’t think I have come across an idea that is in anyway similar to this. Big kudos to your team.
CC: I am extremely fortunate to be with Cherry Tree Records. I don’t think any other label would let me do this.
BE: Do you have material written for the next installments?
CC: No, I write everything on the spot.
BE: Wow! This gets even more insane by the minute!
CC: Yeah and we will be releasing the parts in two-month increments until July of 2013. *laughs* It’s really a lot of pressure!
BE: *laughs* I was going to say, “Are you going to be okay, Colette!?”
CC: *laughs again* I am going to be fine! I have such a great support system and I feel like they’re my dudes. I am working with Cherry Cherry Boom Boom, Frankmusic and RedOne and I feel like my career just keeps getting better and better. Why not push myself and give myself the same adrenaline rush I would get from a tennis match? We’re here now and I really don’t have time to fuck around. It is a lot of pressure, but I couldn’t imagine playing it safe. It would bore me. I’d rather go down in flames trying something new and exciting than stick with the sugar-coated, manufactured ways.
CC: Yeah, I was home-schooled, because I was a competitive tennis player. I was going to be a professional and was training for that in Carson at the Olympics Training Center with all the top athletes. Right around the time I was going to play my first pro tournament, I literally couldn’t bend down to tie my shoes, so I went to the doctor and I got a CAT scan, MRI, x-rays, everything and he very casually told me that I couldn’t play.
I was like, “Okay, for how long?” and he said, “No, never.” I had been really wearing down the cartilage in my spine and I basically ran the risk of becoming paralyzed if I kept doing the same thing to my body. That was the most heartbreaking thing ever. It was like the world ended. I didn’t know what to do, but I found music and I found love again.
BE: If you don’t mind me asking. I know the name of the album is a nod to your uncle who suffered from schizophrenia. Can you tell me a little more about that?
CC: It’s so funny. I look at the album cover now and I am dumbfounded, because I remember the day when I decided my first album would be called Skitszo and it was before I had ever written or recorded a song in my entire life. It was the day after I left The Game’s concert and I decided that I was going to be a rapper. My friend asked me, “So what’s your album going to be called?”
I knew right away, I was like, “Skitszo.” It is sort of controversial, but my uncle had just died around that time and he just…he really admired my creative side. It’s a tribute to creative freedom and everything I loved about him. He keeps me far away from what people think.
You can now pick up the entire Skitszo Collection by Colette Carr on iTunes now. Also check out her brand new video for her song “F16” below.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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