Powerhouse vocalist Carolina East swings for the fences with her debut EP.
There’s no substitution for hard work, but every now and then a little serendipity goes a long way.
Such is the story for rising local talent Carolina East, who by chance found herself performing in-front of multi-platinum award-winning producer Rob Wells and his writing partner Shobha Lee, who have worked alongside the likes of Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Backstreet Boys and our very own Alan Doyle.
East found herself working alongside MusicNL as a stages coordinator for their annual conference in the fall of 2016. Happening upon an industry social at the last minute, East participated in the open mic and rocked the house, earning the praise, and attention, of event keynote speakers Wells and Lee, who shared their enthusiasm and desire to collaborate.
“You hear things like that often. People say things like that in every day life that never come to light, but this did,” East shares in a sitdown with The Herald. “That was October. By June of 2017 I was up in Toronto and stayed with them for about a month. The whole album was written and recorded in their studio. It was amazing.”
East’s time with Wells and Lee resulted in her debut EP, a pop/country hybrid that came as organically as the collaboration itself. Factor in the backing of executive producer Brian Ramjattan and manager Nathan Visser, and East has assembled a dedicated team determined to capture success.
“I lived with them (Wells and Lee) for a month and shared my deepest darkest secrets,” East shares. “I then had to be super vulnerable and sing these thoughts and words into a microphone.”
Music that Excites You
“The way that I feel about music is that I want to be excited by it and I want to feel all the feelings,” she adds. “It was really important that this was the case (for the album). It ended up being heavily influenced by pop and country and maybe adult contemporary. Every song is about something in my life. Whether it be a relationship that has soured or my feelings on how it is to be a musician, right down to songs about my family. Everything is very honest and real.”
East released her debut EP this fall alongside friends and fellow artists The Secrets, in an evening she described as magic.
“It was bananas, so good,” she laughs. It was really well received.”
East raved of the artistic merits of her frequent collaborators The Secrets, who in an industry that can be largely male-dominated, are carving out a distinctively impressive path all of their own.
“In this industry, all over the world it’s very male dominated, and in Newfoundland specifically it’s super male dominated,” East says. “It’s nice to be able to look over and see three of these super talented women who are so supportive. They’ve been so supportive of all of my musical endeavours.”
Naturally, East and The Secrets were destined to unite over the holidays. They’ll do so in East’s hometown of Brigus, no less, for a special holiday showcase on December 17th, which East describes as a mix of Christmas favourites and original material.
For an artist like East, who finds herself suiting up for hundreds of performances yearly, the holiday season offers a rare reprieve to catch her breath.
“I find that being a musician, and a busy one, like many of us are, I miss a lot of events that go on throughout the year,” she says. “I miss the anniversaries and the birthday parties and the weddings. Christmastime for me, I just think about taking a few days, slowing down and really being present with my family – my niece, nephews, brother, whatever – just be really present and keep all the traditions that we’ve always done. Christmas to me is gingerbread houses with the kids, making cookies, music obviously is a huge part. Just being home, I love it.”
Swinging for the Ball
2018 will see East attempting to cultivate a stronger following here at home, aiming to hop on some major local festivals and have her particular brand of powerhouse vocals reach as many ears as possible.
“For this project we want to go as big as we can go and as far as we can go,” East says. “A lot of this is swinging where the ball lands once you do hit it. “Nothing happens when you’re in a comfortable place. When you feel comfortable and you’re just doing things you’re okay with nothing special happens. It’s always been, for me, go as far as you can and talk to as many people as you can, even if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing it. That’s usually when things happen.”
For show dates and more on Carolina East visit carolinaeast.ca