Singer-Songwriter, Carmel is gearing up for the holiday season, promoting her cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside," featuring rocker Eddie Money. It's been added to retail's "Nice List" and will get lots of in-store play during the busiest shopping time of the year! In this Artist Spotlight, Carmel talks about the tragedy that changed her life and how her music is made to inspire others.
How did you get your start in the music business and how did you connect with Grammy award-winning producer Val Garay?
I began singing at a very young age. I’d listen to my favorite artists such as Carol King, Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon and try to imitate them. I had no formal training other than that.
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey with not a lot to do so I would often pretend that I was "on stage“ while in my bedroom performing in front of thousands of people. I would sing for hours.
My parents firmly believed that a traditional college education was best for me and my two siblings, so pursuing a singing career was simply out of the question. I finished college then moved to New York.
My brother Lou lived there and he and I had always been very close but living in the Big Apple together was a dream and we were inseparable.
Then the worse day of my life happened.
I received a phone call from my mother that Lou had died. This was in May 2008.
At this point in my life, I had already moved to California and started a family and the news of his death literally threw me to the ground. It was almost a year later that I returned to my love of singing and I began by rearranging 10 of my favorite songs.
I was then introduced to Val Garay who questioned why I wasn’t writing original songs and that’s when it began!
He then introduced me to Wendy Parr, who is my vocal coach and part of our writing trio.
Who are your musical influences?
My musical influences are Amy Winehouse, Carol King, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Lopez. These ladies are so talented and so strong. They sing about real life and the emotion that exudes through their artistry blows me away every time I hear them.
What was it like recording “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eddie Money? How did the collaboration come to be?
Eddie Money is one of the most likable people I’ve ever met in my life. Because of his Rock 'n' Roll status you would think he’d be unapproachable, but in fact he’s quite the opposite -- a true sweetheart of a guy. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid so when the opportunity presented itself to sing a Christmas duet with him, I was thrilled. We had a lot of fun together appearing on The Home and Family Show, The Marilu Henner Radio Show, and various other radio & TV interviews. Our rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” hit #25 on Sirius XM Holly Channel.
What holiday traditions do you look forward to each year?
I Love every aspect of all holidays! But if I had to really get specific it would be the thrill that comes along with the “magic “associated with holidays. People seem to be friendlier, streets and houses are brightly decorated, the aromas that fill the air just make me smile. The possibilities of “anything” are heightened during this time of year for me and I just love it.
What’s next for you? More recording? Touring?
I have a new EP coming out this spring and I’m very excited to share it with my fans. I’m also planning on doing multiple music videos as well.
Finally, a shameless plug: What would you like our readers to know about you?
I would like your readers to know that when I write my songs the lyrics come from a place of truth intended to inspire and influence people in a positive way. My music is very powerful in the sense that it’s usually written from real life experiences that people can connect with on a universal level.
If my songs can make the difference in someone’s day, mood, or even life then I would consider this musical journey a huge success!