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She listens to music opposite to the music she makes
Despite making happy and upbeat music herself, she doesn’t listen to a lot of radio music and tends to be drawn to sadder songs. “There’s nothing better than a beautifully sad song,” she said. “It almost brings beauty to your suffering. When that happens, it almost makes it easier, ’cause it’s almost a shared experience.”
If she weren’t a pop star, she might be a teacher
She had to convince her parents to allow her to attend performing arts school and told them that becoming a teacher was her Plan B. She told her dad, “I don’t want to bank on my Plan B, I want to invest everything in my Plan A and almost erase Plan B so it’s nonexistent, like this is the only option. By the end of it he was like, I think you’re brave.”
She was afraid of being a child star
When she was young she played Annie in a school production. At the end of its run, she cried to her parents because she was worried that she would only ever be a child star. “But I remember that feeling, what if that’s the best thing that happens to me?” she said. “That’s a very real and scary pressure.”
Her stint on Broadway allowed her to write for her album better
Moving to New York to be in the Broadway production of Cinderella relieved some of the stress of album writing. “It was a nice break from my world, too, even for my album, to check out for a second,” she told Rookie, “I was still writing and working on it but with a healthier perspective.”
Boy Problems was inspired by how she couldn’t stop talking about her chaotic relationships
She couldn’t shut up about her own boy problems and wrote the song from her friends’ perspectives. “This song was a little bit of a punch in my own face,” she said. “Not that anybody ever freaked out at me, but I was imagining, ‘Just leave or stay.'”
And she was nervous to ask Sia to record the intro for the song
Carly asked Sia the same day she met her for the first time. She recalls telling Sia “I have this almost ’90s-style phone call idea for the beginning of it and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, but if you did, we could like…if you don’t like it, we’ll just delete it”. Sia agreed, recorded one take of it and it ended up being perfect.
She doesn’t mind being people’s “guilty pleasure”
While she doesn’t believe in guilty pleasures, (because anything that brings her pleasure doesn’t make her feel guilty) she gets it: “I understand that there are sometimes negative connotations around pop music as being a little more trite and a little more radio-friendly, which can be thought of as simplified. But that’s the exact thing that I love about pop music. It’s like a 1940s jazz song—condensing all these emotions into really potent words.”
She drew inspiration from a lot of different artists from different eras for Emotion
“I really loved Solange. Losing You was the video that led me to Dev [Hynes], that song was pretty big,” she said. “Sky [Ferreira], I was really into, which led me to Ariel [Rechtshaid]. I was into a lot of old school Prince”
When things are good in her love life, she draws from past experiences and her imagination for inspiration
Currently, Carly finds herself in a happy, functional relationship (with the director who made her Run Away With Me video). But when she’s writing, she draws from all her past relationships and heartbreak and from her own imaginations and exaggerations. “I also do have a really wild imagination and I let that fantasy play out in music, whether it’s a big stream of sad or happy or whatever,” she said. “There’s music inspiration everywhere. It doesn’t have to come from, like, Adele-type heartbreaks every single day.”
An ex texted her to ask if Black Heart was about him
She explains: “I did have a Canadian ex of mine ask him if Black Heart was for him, and I was like, ‘Yeaaaaah, it was.’ He knew. ‘Cutting through the cracks of the concrete.’ It was a guy who was like, it was really hard for him to let loose and allow himself to be in love. I worked at him, finally got him.
To read the full interview, click here.