There’s a new wave of pop artists emerging on the scene. Apart from their image and multi-color hairstyles, this group of pop songstresses are putting their own stamp on the genre. Moving away from the repetitive and formulaic soundscapes, artists like Phoebe Ryan, Chelsea Lankes, and many others are incorporating indie-, synth-, and dream-pop sounds into their music.
Among this group is Carla Cappa, who goes simply by CAPPA. The young Nashville resident has been involved in music for more than 15 years and has tackled everything from country to folk to Americana to electronic. Throughout this time, she has written her own music, covered tracks by popular artists like Taylor Swift, and performed with other rising indie musicians, such as Lauren Strange. But over the past two years, she has been focused on pop music, which you could say is her true love or her calling if you will.
Last week, she released “Hush”, the lead single from her forthcoming, self-titled, debut EP, which is due out later this spring. CAPPA took time to speak with me, sharing a little bit of her past, her present, and what the future hopefully holds. In addition, we played a bit of “Feedback” to get to know Carla a little better.
TEN QUESTIONS WITH CARLA CAPPA
Hi Carla. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat.
Let’s get to know you a bit. If my research has paid off, you started playing music at 7 years old and mostly country songs. Is that correct? And do you remember the first song you sang in front of an audience and the first song you learned how to play on the guitar?
I actually grew up playing pop/rock music! I was never a big country/folk fan. But now living in Nashville, the country genre itself has grown a ton on me. My mom was a singer-songwriter when she was younger, so she taught me how to play the guitar. I think the first song I learned and played in public was the Titanic theme song in the 2nd grade. I have no idea why! Maybe I should cover it? No? Okay!
Well, so much for my investigative journalist career. In that early phase of your music career, who did you look up to and how have they influenced you in terms of your approach to music then and now?
My mom named me after Carly Simon, so I grew up listening to a lot of her as well as a ton of Hall & Oats. To me, that is some genius pop music. I’ve also always loved the late 90s/early 2000s pop…Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Avril Lavigne, and basically anything written by Max Martin. Songwriting wise, I’ve always loved the way he’s crafted his songs. It influenced & inspired me growing up and definitely still does today.
I understand that you and Lauren are good friends. You both have followed similar paths but have branched out to different genres – Lauren more towards indie and alt-rock while you first went electro-pop and now indie, synth-pop. Why move towards the pop genre?
I love Lauren! Some mornings, I just play her track “Johnny” on repeat. Genre wise, I’ve always been such fan of pop music that as I kept creating music, it went more and more in that direction pretty naturally. Most times that I write a song, I can hear what I want the track to sound like. Being able to have input with different producers about what I’m envisioning track-wise has really helped me define the sound I want.
During this “pop” phase, you’ve rocked a handful of different hairstyles and colors. What’s your favorite style and color so far?
Oh my.. my poor hair! I think I’m most at home with the short, white blonde locks I have now. It was a lilac-purple color a few months back, and I would be okay with going back to that at some point in the future.
What color can we expect to see you donning next? Maybe green like Phoebe Ryan?
Don’t give me any ideas!
Speaking of Phoebe Ryan, Music Ninja identified you and her, and I would also add Chelsea Lankes, as a new wave of artists set to transform pop music – more towards lush, synth sounds than the mainstream arrangements. Is this a goal of yours?
YES! I was so stoked when I read that write-up because that is pretty much my dream. To know that someone else could hear that in what I’m creating (as well as Pheobe and Chelsea) is amazing. Pop music can be a lot of different things – music is art and you can still have “pop” music without having it just be one formula over and over.
So is your goal to make the perfect pop song? And right now, what do you think is the perfect pop song?
I don’t know if there is that one perfect pop song. My goal isn’t so much as to write the perfect pop song as to eventually write a song that is really iconic one day – a song that literally never gets old or ages. “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, “Thriller”… those songs never seem to age no matter what. It would be amazing to create a song like that one day. I’m not sure if those songs can be lived up to, but I would like to take a swing at it eventually.
You have a new EP coming out soon. Do you have a date and title for it?
I haven’t! I have some procrastination problems. I should probably start on that…
Will the album be more like “Hush” or be more electronic driven like “My Heart is Beating Again”?
It’s going to be more along the lines of “Hush”, for sure. I still like a lot of electronic-pop music, but I found myself a lot more at home with the new sound I’ve been working with. When people ask me the sound of the EP, I usually explain it as “vibey pop”.
Final question, if you were to perform at a charity benefit, with which five artists/musicians/bands would you like to share the stage and why?
This is hard! Here goes nothing..
- Hall & Oats – they’ve written some of my favorite songs ever
- Broods – they’re a current obsession
- Taylor Swift – cause how could you not!
- Paramore – I’ve been a fan since 14 and their stage presence rules.
- Jack White – I saw him play live at Bonaroo, and it was the best show I’ve seen maybe, like, ever.
“Don’t Stop Believing”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, “Thriller”… those songs never seem to age no matter what. It would be amazing to create a song like that one day. I’m not sure if those songs can be lived up to, but I would like to take a swing at it eventually.
This is something I like to do with musicians. It’s basically word association – I will say a word or maybe a person’s name or a place and you reply. However, you can reply in whatever manner you wish. You could say a word, a phrase, tell an elaborate story, whatever. Let’s get started
I love it.
Growing on me.
I went to Harry Potter World this year for Christmas if that says anything.
“My Heart is Beating Again”
Even though I’ve changed genre slightly, I am still super proud of this song! It was on Sirius XM 20 on 20 for a while and was my first song on the radio, so it’s still like my little baby.
I passed her hiking a few months back. I said, “Hey Taylor Swift!”, and she said “Hey!” Then we both just kept walking, and it was great.
Her text to me a few days ago reads: ”Hi, will you bleach my hair this week?” This question basically goes back and forth between the two of us bi-monthly.
Philly cheesesteaks. Seriously though, have you had one? They’re great.
Yes, I have had one, as I have a friend in Philly. I kind of want one now. Anyway, next word, Family.
We’re all super close. My mom is my best friend 90% of the time. The other 10% she’s being a mom.
Nice! Passion Pit
SO GOOD! I sang backgrounds for them once… not to toot my own horn. (toot toot)
Hi, that’s me!
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