Kim Carnes : «  Writing music, recording and performing live will always be the soul of who I am »

Dimanche 20 Janvier 2013

Interview with Kim Carnes. Kim Carnes will sing in Paris for the 300th edition of the Bal de l'Elysées Montmartre, saturday 26 January 2013. She has been kind enough to answer to my questions about her career and to talk about her song "Bette Davis Eyes" and the recording cession of "We Are the World".


Kim Carnes : «  Writing music, recording and performing live will always be the soul of who I am »
What were your earliest musical memories and which musicians inspired you?

Early on my musical heroes were the Stones, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Smokey Robinson and most everything coming out of Motown.

How was life in Los Angeles in the 60s and early 70s?

I was in school part of the sixties, writing songs and playing in a band on the week-ends. For me the “Seventies” was a vibrant time to be making music in Los Angeles. There was a strong music community then. We worked hard and partied hard. I wrote songs for a small publishing company that included future members of the Eagles, (J.D. Souther, Don Henley and Glenn Frey). We all shared studio time to demo our new songs.

Is Nashville the best place to be for musicians? Is life there very different from the L.A. life of the 70s and the 80s?

I don’t know that Nashville is the best place to be, but for a musician today, it is definitely one of the best, most vibrant and diverse music scenes. It is so much broader than just “Country Music”. I am fortunate to write with amazing songwriters here who constantly inspire me. Nashville is now a magnet for artists from all over the world and there is a strong sense of music community much like the LA of the 70’s & 80’s.

You wrote a great deal of songs with your husband Dave Ellingson. How did you work together?

My husband Dave & I wrote together early on in my career. We wrote and entire album for Kenny Rogers titled Gideon. The first hit single from that album was “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer”. I sang it as a duet with Kenny.

Your cover of Jackie DeShannon’s “Bette Davis Eyes” is radically different from the original. Could you evoke the transformation process of the song?

Yes, my version of “Bette Davis Eyes” is very different than the original demo version. My band and I rehearsed for three days trying to find a unique way to record the song. On day three Bill Cuomo my keyboard player came up with the signature lick and the rest all fell into place. The next day we recorded it live with no overdubs and the second take ended up being the final record.

What are your best souvenirs of the “We Are the World” recording sessions?

I was very honored to be part of “We Are The World”. All the artists involved were so gracious and excited to be there. It was a magical evening and everyone left their egos at the door. For me to be in the same room with many of my heroes was amazing. We recorded all night and finished as the sun was coming up. The memory for me is most precious.


Your music is often at the borderline between pop and country. Do you work differently whether you are writing a country song or a pop song?

When I write, I just write what comes out that day. R & B has always been a strong influence. I don’t set out to write a specific style. I write mostly on the piano. As a writer, I have been fortunate to have several country hits and songs covered by country artists, but the songs themselves are not necessarily “country”. I just write what I feel.

You recorded few albums since the end of the 80s. Is it a choice to put your singer career on hold or is it a consequence of the evolution of the music industry?

My singing career is definitely not on hold. I have had the same band for eighteen years and we play live shows often. My favorite album is my latest, Chasin’ Wild Trains. At the heart of it all . . . . I am a singer/songwriter. This album conveys that better than any of my previous work. I am currently writing songs for a new CD. At present, I have co-written two #1 songs for an Australian duo called O’Shea, I also co-wrote the title track of their soon to be released CD.

I am also in the process of recording a duet with the great British artist/songwriter Frankie Miller to be included on a tribute album.

Writing music, recording and performing live will always be the soul of who I am.

I am very excited to be coming back to Paris.


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Kim Carnes : «  Writing music, recording and performing live will always be the soul of who I am »

Boris Plantier


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