Singer/Rapper Colette Carr Talks Boys, Scrapbooking, and more Boys
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Colette Carr’s career took off. Many attribute it to the time she freestyled at a Game concert, garnering attention from producers like The Cataracs and Nick Cannon. Others think of the time her music video “Back it Up” went viral, receiving over 465,000 views and going #1 on MTVU. And then there are those that remember the release of her mixtape Sex Sells Stay Tuned, which had over 100,000 downloads in only a few months. But regardless of when it happened, Carr has become a force to be reckoned with, delivering consistently solid tracks with her unique brand of rapping mixed with singing. Her most recent single “Play House” was anything but disappointing for old an new fans, building up more anticipation for her forthcoming sophomore album, Believe In Us. We talked to the Malibu-born starlet about the creeps she’s met in the studio, turning devastation into art, and creating her imaginative music videos.
Nick Cannon discovered you. How did that happen?
I went to a Game concert and that’s where I decided that I wanted to make music, and I really started taking it seriously from that day forward. I worked with the Cataracs and made songs with them, and then as a tribute to my uncle I shot a music video called “Back It Up” and it went to #1 on MTV, and that’s when Nick Cannon saw me and discovered me and asked to meet with me. And that’s how I met him. It was a really incredible experience because I really felt like I connected with Nick a lot. He reminded me of myself and I reminded him of himself, and we had a lot in common. The creative energy was really in sync, so that was really awesome. That was my beginning, my start.
What was it that Cannon was doing for you?
He was asking me personal questions about my life and how I lived and how I work and my past and how I got into the music industry and I told him about how I liked to freestyle at parties and how at the time I had no experience at all, but I was writing all my own songs. We just got in a studio and connected creatively.
What happened at the Game concert?
My sister was in San Diego and she was going to the Game concert. They were having this secret show in LA, and we had to go. So she drove down to San Diego and we snuck into a UCLA…it was like a private concert for students who got an A+? I have no idea. I really knew nothing about it other than that we weren’t allowed to be there. We somehow found our way. I was eighteen at the time.
So did they just offer to have someone come up and freestyle on stage?
Well he was running late, so they asked if anyone could freestyle. My sister was like, “You have to do it,” but I thought, “No, I don’t want to get us kicked out. We don’t even have wristbands.” And then someone went up and they were just so bad, that I was like, “Okay let me just give this a try.” Then it was an epic concert, and successful night. I really didn’t know that I wanted to pursue music really seriously until I was on that stage.
It’s exciting for me to get up there. It reminded me of being on the tennis court, which is what I did previously. I didn’t realize this, but when I was playing tennis, being on the court was kind of like my stage. When I got on the real stage and did the real thing, and did something I was probably suppressing, it was very addictive. I just knew I needed it again.
How is the process different for a rapper as opposed to a singer?
As a person that raps, I always have way too many lyrics and when I add the melody, I realize I only have room for like ten of those words. It’s hard to pick. If you listen to “Play House,” it’s literally two sentences. It’s so bizarre to me because I used to write a 300-word per verse type song, and this is seven words per verse. So it’s a huge difference. For me, it’s more challenging. With each song you have to be careful and really say what you mean and make sure the listener knows exactly what you mean in those certain words. The writing process is so hard to explain because every time I do it, I’m learning. But to answer your question, it’s whatever’s on my mind. Which is usually a boy.
But it’s not limited to boys, right?
I’ve written other things. I have a song “Delusional” about this really bad studio experience I had where this guy pulled his penis out and told me to suck it. So that really sucked because I was super young and I didn’t know if that was normal or not because I was relatively new to the industry and I heard growing up, “the music industry is so gross and full of gross people,” so I thought maybe this was normal, and I politely declined. But it made me so angry and I was telling people about it, and they told me that it’s not normal and it’s disgusting. I was like, “I need to just get my anger out.” So I wrote “Delusional” and I really do use those sessions as therapy. That song really helped me get over it. I’m completely over it now. And I’m completely over some of the guys that I wrote about, who at the time seemed like such a big deal.
Why is it easier to tackle certain subjects in music rather than a conversation with a friend?
I guess it’s the challenge of making something that’s not fun to talk about interesting to hear about. So something that would really put a damper on a conversation, I can put a cool melody to it and all of a sudden it’s not so bad. I’m not going to walk into a room and be like, “Oh, me and this guy could have really had something but I’ve been hurt so many times so, I’m just going to put a pin in it.” I’m not going to do that. Even with my closest friends. Because when I’m with my closest friends I just want to make memories. So I don’t want to put a damper on someone’s night because I can do that in the studio. I can write about these really depressing subjects and put a happy melody to them. Like “3 Percent” was about me feeling super alone, super hungover and really lost, and there’s nothing happy about those lyrics but it’s a really cool song to listen to. When I listen to it, it doesn’t sound annoying, but if I walked into any room…I guess it’s just a great way to complain.
Do you have outlets outside of music for complaining?
I really like to paint. I paint a lot. I also like to give people advice. I feel like through helping people I always sort my own things out. I mean I make my own clothes, I make my own outfits, I plan my photo shoots and do a lot of stuff with paint, silly string and glitter…I’m very hands on when it comes to arts and crafts. I have scrapbooked before. I have a little bit of a scrapbook collection. I don’t usually tell people, so you have the exclusive on that.