Meet Nashville’s Rising Stars: Karly C
An Interview With Edward Sylvan
Don’t worry about what everyone else around you is doing. Just stay focused on your own thing. For example, as soon as I stopped focusing on the local music scene in my area, and started thinking on a more global level, things started to happen for me.
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Karly C.
Karly C, born Karly Coleman from Hamilton Square, NJ, launched her music career in 2016. The self-taught guitarist, bass and piano player co-wrote and performed five songs for the hit television show.
Dance Moms (Lifetime). Just two years later, Karly signed a production music publishing deal with Warner Chappell/BMG; she made her debut with a 10-song collection titled TAKE ME AS I AM. Her first taste of Pop radio success spawned in 2019, when the title track, “Take Me As I Am,” hit heavy rotation on SiriusXM (Venus Channel).
Karly followed with “You And Your Whatever” and “Another Drink Or Three;” both singles crossed over into the country radio format to enjoy momentum on the MusicRow chart.
Introducing Adele, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Sia, as her influences, stylistically, Karly also leans toward 1980s hair bands and female rockers such as Joan Jett and Heart.
Karly worked with Japanese EDM producer, Westie Seb, to record the 2021 single “Taste Of You” which can be heard on radio stations throughout the U.S. She also makes a special vocal appearance on the pop dance track, “Another Taste Of You” [produced by Jason Nevins (“Cruise”/ Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly)] scheduled to be released later this year.
Taking a turn in creative direction, Karly is currently in the studio recording her next EP; the project is stocked with pop/punk originals in a vein similar to Avril Lavigne.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
KC: I grew up and still reside in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, situated directly in between Philadelphia and New York City (roughly an hour south and north of us). This part of the state is ideal for being close enough to the larger cities, yet a short drive of 10 minutes to a lot of farmlands and horse country; and 45 minutes from the Jersey Shore. So, believe it or not, Country music is very much a favorite in our area. I also grew up listening to it all the time. My mom would always play music from all of the great 90s country stars, so I think that style of vocal performance and production was just naturally burned into my brain.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
KC: I would always sing around the house as a kid. My parents bought me a karaoke machine when I was around seven years old and my first keyboard when I was around 10 or 11 years old. From there, I would always sing in front of the mirror and I taught myself how to play piano watching YouTube videos. I began singing lessons when I was 13, but not long after I started, my teacher said that there wasn’t much more that she could do with me. When I was 17 I auditioned for American Idol and The Voice, and that’s also when I met my fiancé who was a local musician. He invited me to join his band at a bar gig in 2011; I performed three songs. From there, I was hooked on singing live, and even more hooked on recording after we recorded my first demo at his home studio. We recorded “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus and “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele. I’ll never forget the first time that I heard my voice when he played “The Climb” back during the mixing process; I couldn’t believe it was me! From that point on, it’s been non-stop recording in our home studio. I started cranking out covers on my YouTube channel. Mike (my fiancé) and I wrote and recorded my first original song together. In 2015, we met producer Edgard Jaude’ who has thousands of songs in TV and film. Edgard and I began working together; our first project was a track recorded for Dance Moms (Lifetime TV- Season 2016). We recorded four more songs for the final season in 2017. It was such an awesome experience hearing my voice on TV and watching the little girls dance to it! Edgard and I co-wrote a 10-song cinematic pop album that was signed to a production music publishing deal with Warner Chappell and BMG. The title track, “Take Me As I Am,” entered heavy rotation on the SiriusXM pop channel “Venus” in the summer of 2019. That was THE BEST feeling in the world driving home from work hearing my voice on the radio!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
KC: This story isn’t exactly “interesting,” but more ironic. I was passed up at tryouts for my high school play, and twice by American Idol after many rounds just before the final round (where you go in front of the three judges). Same case with The Voice. I heard every reason, like: “you don’t have the sound or look that we’re looking for,” or that the song that I chose to cover was overdone by other contestants. Yet, I was successful to get my original music played many times over on television and radio. Go figure!
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
KC: I record my vocals from our home studio here in New Jersey, but have an AMAZING team in Nashville who handles all of the music and production. In 2019, Mike met Billy Decker who referred us to Dylan Maloney (Colt Ford’s guitar player). We sent Dylan a song concept that I had come up with called “You And Your Whatever.” Dylan created an amazing production that I could sing over. Once that was done, he sent my vocals and the music tracks over to Billy to do the final mixing and mastering. That’s the same production process that we did for my single “Another Drink or Three,” and my new/current single, “I Was Gonna Love You.” Dylan handled most of the instrumentation on all three tracks, with the help from Mike Johnson and Tim Galloway on pedal steel and dobro, and Tania Hancheroff for background vocals on “I Was Gonna Love You.” Haley Ganis is the co-writer on “I Was Gonna Love You.” I’m very fortunate to be able to work remotely with such a world-class team of legendary talent from Nashville.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
KC: Five years ago I had the pleasure to perform three songs on Music Row at a songwriter’s round held at Bobby’s Idle Hour. (Which, sadly, is no longer there.) We shared the bill with our friends Kelly and Troy (of the duo Carvin Walls), who hosted the round, along with Elvie Shane. I’ll never forget when Elvie play his original song “My Boy” before it became a hit. The whole place was amazed and buzzing about how that would be a hit someday! It sure was!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
KC: A big mistake for me was dressing up like a princess and following other people’s advice on how to look and act. Everyone wanted me to be the next Carrie Underwood. My style is more like Pink and Joan Jett. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I’m just me. Take it or leave it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
KC: Well, of course, my parents have always been super supportive. But, when it comes to really digging in and learning the industry, making things happen, etc….I’ve been very fortunate to have my fiance’ in my corner. He’s relentless and loves helping me so that I can focus on making music. From a mentoring standpoint, Edgard has also been a big influence in the production of my music, and is still super supportive in general and all around great friend.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
KC: I LOVED pop-punk music growing up in the 90s and 2000s. So I started the process of recording a five-song project of my own pop-punk originals that I hope to release later this year. It’s been a blast! There’s no pressure…all just for fun!
I’m also featured on a pop-dance song coming out this year that is a collaboration of two producers — Westie Seb from Japan and Jason Nevins who produced “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
KC: Don’t worry about what everyone else around you is doing. Just stay focused on your own thing. For example, as soon as I stopped focusing on the local music scene in my area, and started thinking on a more global level, things started to happen for me.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
KC: Be YOU and don’t chase trends.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
KC: That’s a tough one. I’m honestly just a musician at heart and don’t like to bring social issues into it. But I guess I would say that I’m definitely for the philosophy to be a strong, do-it-yourself kind of woman — not a princess who needs to be taken care of.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
KC: “Not my monkeys, not my circus!” (I keep to myself.)
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
KC: Betty White, she had a wonderful sense of humor and great perspective on life and loving what she did.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!