Carly Shea is a musician based in New York City, who is currently focusing on making pop music that sometimes sounds soulful and other times like vapid pop. Carly has been writing music for years between New York City, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, and she has recently started to put out her own songs. By day, Carly works as a fashion talent agent, and by night she spends her time exploring the city and writing about her own experiences in the studio.
Carly is an artist who is relatively new to Eat This Music, so it was the perfect time to have a chat with the New York native to get to know who she is as an artist and what she is all about. “Honestly, not great,” Carly earnestly expresses to Eat This Music, “I mean, I’m very happy to release this track and to be speaking with you, but on a personal level, it’s been a hard time.”
At the start of this COVID-19 pandemic, like for a lot of people, it was a scary time for Carly to not have a set family place to go. “Not to be TMI [too much information], but my mom passed recently, so times were already weird for me.” It is a kind of strange time for Carly at the moment, “at the start of the quarantine I figured it would be a time to constantly write and create,” Carly adds, “but I found myself feeling stuck.”
“I’ve been able to get myself more focused on both activism and refocusing on pushing my new music to the next level.” — Carly Shea on how she is doing at the moment.
Following on from the release of her singles “Lemonade” and “Forever” earlier in 2020, Carly tells Eat This Music that her new single, “Waste My Time”, is in itself, a carefree pop track, “what I like to call “Vapid Pop,” Carly expresses. “Not to knock my own work, but if you look at the lyrical content, it’s no Nietzsche. [laughs]”
A lot of Carly’s upcoming tracks have deep meaning, but the purpose of this new single is to listen and realise no one should be wasting their time because they are actually great. “I kinda wrote it from this confident, party girl character perspective— the goal is to make you want to go out and dance,” Carly adds.
This track was a long time coming for Carly. “It was honestly the first real track I wrote in NYC and both the video and track itself remind me of how much progress I have made as an artist,” Carly explains to Eat This Music. Music was an after work hobby for Carly, in fact, she recalls the time to Eat This Music listening to her crappy demos of “Waste My Time” on the L train heading home, not caring that she would be super tired for work the next day because the song improved with each session.
At that time for Carly, “music was a fun side project” she admits, but somehow life events led her to music becoming an actual viable pursuit. Carly continues, “I think back to those nights on the train, and I think that version of me would be pretty proud of this release.”
Going into detail on the creative process of “Waste My Time”, Carly explains to Eat This Music that the single “came about when I met producer Thankyoufatmatt of Cool Company.” The two of them made the track in a small basement studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “Probably took close to two months” to make the single Carly reveals, which was largely due to scheduling production/recording sessions.
The actual creative process started with Carly’s idea for the hook, and then Matt got to work with the intro. “I was there for the production aspect,” Carly says, as she was “able to throw in some unusual ideas,” including the starting and ending “la la la las”, which “are actually audio of British schoolchildren singing a scale manipulated to fit the melody we had in mind.”
“Matt was so patient with my ideas and blended them well with his own awesome ones. There also might be a famous computer startup noise hidden in there, ha. I’m a big fan of making tracks a little weird with foley.” — Carly on the creative process of her single.
On the relevance to her own life, Carly explains, “each song I write is a reflection of a little piece of whatever I’m going through.” Carly admits it was the excitement of just moving to New York City, “feeling like I was living in one of the many Deee-Lite or Party Monster videos I’d pour over as a teen.” Although, Carly wanted to bring that to life in a wild “(maybe a liiiittle gaudy)” escapist New York City party anthem.
“I made the single because I told myself that even if this were a hobby,” Carly continues in our chat, “I’d come out the other end with a solid track.” This single became Carly’s main passion and with each session she felt a little closer to that goal. “The track itself was the key to music becoming more serious for me,” she adds, “I had a finished version of “Waste My Time” round the same time the Grammys came to NYC.” At that time Carly met a major label A&R by chance who checked out the track and then encouraged her to more seriously pursue making music. From there, “with a bit of luck / a lot of cold emailing, I was able to get into some amazing writing sessions and build my catalogue of music with stronger productions and great videos.”
At the time Carly lost some opportunities because she let all her content sit for years, fearful it could conflict with her regular job and fearful it might not click with listeners, so she took a leap, “with my first two singles, I was thrilled to find good reception and traction.” On the timing of this new release, Carly feels that now is “a more important time than ever to release “Waste My Time” as it’s such a NYC-centric track.”
“I love this city so much and it’s been an extremely difficult time here. As we work to get back to some sort of new normal, I hope the song remind listeners of what makes New York and its people so special.” — Carly on the release of her latest single.
Carly is currently wrapping up edits on two upcoming video releases. “These tracks are definitely more soulful than my previous releases,” Carly explains to Eat This Music, “so I’m curious to see how listeners react.” Carly also has more mainstream pop tracks coming out that are a little closer to her previous release “Lemonade”. And then, for Carly, “there’s all these toplines I’ve scribbled down these past few months at home.” All-in-all, Carly is really looking forward to improving her sound and building on the listenership that she is still so surprised and grateful to have.
Connect with Carly Shea: Instagram