Carly Jo Jackson is a new indie artist from Florida with a dream to achieve and a message to share.  Just a young woman, Carly is wise beyond her years.  The self-proclaimed acoustic pop songstress just released her first CD, The World at My Feet, which is full of songs based on her real experiences with life, loss, and love. Often, people compare her to Colbie Caillat or Taylor Swift, but she has her own style with a more bluesy sound to add to the mix.  When she’s not singing, writing great music, or jamming on her guitar, she is a student at Florida Atlantic University. Carly is above the pressure of trying to sound, look, or be a certain way in the music industry; she is making her own lane creating music that she loves and really connect with. Carly is pure talent.

I got the chance to speak with Carly Jo about her CD, The World at My Feet, her experience on The Voice, and what’s next for her.

Lawanda Johnson: Congratulations on releasing your first CD. It is quite impressive.  Let’s talk about the preparation for World at My Feet and some of your inspiration behind the project.

Carly Jo: I feel like I have been preparing for this CD all my life!  I have been composing lyrics since I was able to write – my childhood journals are full of lyrics and dreams of being a singer.  But the songs in World at My Feet were all written right after getting my first guitar for my 16th birthday in 2009, which was a very emotional time in my life.  The guitar was therapy for me, allowing me to pour my heart out in song.

I had the great fortune of being discovered by start-up record label, Arch Productions, just a year after getting my guitar when I was singing at a friend of my parents’ birthday party.  They were looking for a young artist that they could record and mentor and I was the lucky person in the right place at the right time!  I was very fortunate that they found me and were willing to invest in me; not many artists get this opportunity so quickly and at such a young age. The lesson learned – get yourself out there and perform, no matter how small or unimportant the event, you never know who is listening!
LJ: My favorite song is This is Goodbye. Describe your thoughts when writing this song.

CJ: Thank you, I am so glad you like it!  I wrote this song in the middle of recording when we already had 5 songs picked for the CD, but Arch Productions thought it was powerful so we did the last minute switch.  Writing this song was the ultimate therapy session.  I found out the night before writing it that my boyfriend of almost two years cheated on me.  I got up early the next morning and just let all my anger pour out in the song.  I know the lyrics are a little vicious, but writing them helped me come to grips with my feelings and emotions and made me strong so that I could move on with my life.  As angry as the song is, in the bridge, it speaks to one of the toughest things when ending a relationship.  Over the course of the years, I had also become close to the boyfriend’s family and it was heartbreaking that the relationship with the family was going to have to end also.  I think any “girl done wrong” can relate to the lyrics of this song.

LJ: You were an Orlando finalist for The Voice. Talk more about your experience.

CJ: Actually I had to sign an agreement to not discuss the details, but the overall experience was amazing and it was a great honor to make it as far as I did – the step just before the Blind Auditions – and to be recognized for my singing.  I got to skip to the front of the line, so to speak, because they found me on the internet and invited me in for an audition. So I didn’t have to wait in the long lines and go through some of the grueling first stages of the audition.  This really speaks to the power of the internet and the importance it is to create a presence on the web.

LJ: What was the last concert that you’ve been to in the past month?

CJ: I haven’t been to a concert in the last month, but my last concert was one of my old favorites — Blink 182.   I really enjoy and am influenced by a wide range of music genres. One of the most influential concerts I have been to lately, about 4 or 5 months ago, was Bonnie Raitt.  I love her bluesy style and the way she commands the stage and interacts with the audience.  I hope to have a career like hers that stands the test of time.

Even though not a concert, earlier this month I took a trip to Nashville and was able to enjoy some incredible indie music.  I also got to sing at Writer’s Nights at the Bluebird Café and the Commodore Grill. That trip made me realize that there a lot of incredibly talented people out there trying to do the same thing I want to do and that to make it, I am going to really have to stand out and be myself.

LJ: If you could make a playlist of your favorite 5 songs, what would they be?

This list definitely changes every day (maybe even every hour) depending on my mood!  But at this moment that list would be:

Tracy Chapman- Fast Car
Andy Grammar- Head Up
Caitlyn Smith- Come Alive
Sublime- Sweet Honey
Slightly Stoopid- Closer to the Sun

LJ: What’s next for you?

CJ: I am in college and plan to continue, but my heart is really in my music, performing, and making a name for myself in the business.  The sensible side of me says to finish college but my heart wants me to focus 100 percent on my music.  I plan to spend this summer working on my music, and hopefully get a band to back me up when performing live, then make a decision about the fall.  I am taking it all one day at a time and will see where things go from there.  From my lyrics in my song Oh Yeah: “I am young and I got the world at my feet!”

Check out Carly Jo Jackson’s music, updates, and shows here:

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