Artist: Kara Ann Marie
Album: Keeping On
Tell us about the inspiration behind your debut EP, Keeping On.
This inspiration is really just my life’s ups and downs. The continuous flow of falling and getting back up, all the while holding onto hope. Each song was from a different season of my life, you see this EP took me 10 years. A little embarrassing if I am honest but I don't regret one step forward or backward. It was all towards this piece of work that I am extremely proud of. I am so pleased with the result musically and personally that I have received.
Which track is your favorite?
Oh that is a tough question- they all speak to a different season in my life and each other helps me still get through the tough moments day to day. If I had to choose then I think I would say "Walk Slow" -- this song is continuously in my head making me smile.
What sparked your aural addiction?
My 13 year old self who only knew 2 1/2 chords on both guitar and piano. I felt that I knew I wasn't the best at any of it but I felt conviction that if I couldn't say what I needed to I could definitely sing it out which felt like my oasis in many desert seasons of my life. I like that I could feel that music was like a super power, it changed things for me even if it didn't actually change anything practically.
You're from Ontario (Canada) and now live in England. How have your surroundings influenced your music?
I am Canadian through and through! I don't feel that there has been much of a change. Living in Canada I had so many friends and family champion me and cheer me on in my music. It has been the same here.
Are there any genres of music you'd like to try or avoid?
Music has so many languages doesn't it. I don't think I would turn down any genre. I have a phrase that I say to myself when I get too safe in any area of life: "Break out the box, Kara." This tells me to try the very thing I think I can't do and see what happens. That is exactly what happened with "Keeping On", the first track on the EP, I never ever thought I would use spoken word in a song and there it is. I tried it out and thought 'I like it' so allowing myself to just go with it was fun. I am not too keen on punk or rock.
If/when you're lacking inspiration, how do you kickstart your creativity?
I love nature so usually runs along the beautiful Bath countryside will clear my mind enough to hear what my spirit and soul is singing about. I also go back to my roots and listen to the endlessly glorious Lauryn Hill. She inspires me to no end. I love any creativity so I will paint or write a poem or bake to get the creative juices active again. I think everything in my life could inspire a song so I just give myself time and space to let myself hear it.
How has being a certified counsellor shaped your songwriting?
My counseling training has truly allowed me to let the process happen. Not as I may want it but it will find its way to be all that I need it to be. My training has allowed me to not just write songs for others but write first for myself so I can hear the message and live the message first. I am an intense, deep personality and I find that is where I call myself up from. Counseling has enhanced my creative process, I do not shut down an idea or line or melody anymore, I give it room to grow while I walk slowly.
What's currently on your playlist?
Chance The Rapper and Oddisee (my husband's recommendations which I love) Andrea Marie, Will Reagan, Miles Davis (at the end of most working days). I am a big nerdy wife who listens to my husband Joshua Luke Smith's music on repeat.
How did you come up with the idea and name for your indie label with your husband, Orphan No More?
Well, we are believers in family and that every single person in this world no matter how different can live and act as a family towards each other. That would make a lot of the pain and hurts in this life non-existent. We want to invite everyone and anyone who has a message and a story to share and to speak it into the chaos of this world to make a difference for the sake of Hope. We want every person on this earth to know that they can have the full joy of being seen and known in family with friends who will cheer each other on.
Anything you'd like to add?
I feel honoured you would take the time to ask me these questions. I am still pinching myself that Keeping On is out for all the world to hear. I hope it encourages us all to keep going even if it takes you 10 years, it's possible.