Once a month, Pop Crave puts on its A&R hat and shines a spotlight on a new up and coming artist. Following the release of his first 2019 single “Confident” which garnered over 400,000 streams on Spotify, Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Carlos Vara, is back. His new single “Impossible” dropped on June 14th and serves both emotional lyrics and a catchy melody.
Pop Crave sat down with Vara to discuss his struggle with Tourette syndrome which led him to music, his dream collaboration, and the process behind writing his latest single.
Where did you grow up? And what inspired you to get into music?
I grew up in Lexington, South Carolina, and I’ve always been surrounded by music my entire life. And when I was a kid, my parents were nightclub owners, so I was fascinated by music and had a deep connection to it. And then elementary school, I got really into writing. I wanted to be an author. That was my dream. But then as I got older, around 15, I have Tourette’s and it got really bad, so I had to leave school for about a year because I couldn’t go to school anymore. When I was in my bedroom is when I taught myself how to play basic chords on the piano, started writing songs and singing karaoke on YouTube, and I think that’s when I fell in love with music and knew I wanted to do it forever.
Tell us about your first concert experience.
My first concert experience. Oh, my god, I don’t even know. I think my first legitimate concert experience was when my parents took me and my friends to a Christian worship concert when I was around 8 years old.
Who were three of your music inspirations?
I would say Freddie Mercury. Definitely, I love Queen. I don’t know, I feel like I’ve absorbed so many types of music from different places of life, so it’s hard to just pick three. Freddie Mercury for sure. I really love an artist named Mac Corvi. That really inspired me a lot when I was a teenager. Lastly, the Beach Boys. I love their cool melodies. It’s hard for me to choose, because I’ve never been like my parents, and no one ever raised me on one singular artist growing up. There wasn’t a specific artist my mom was into or my dad listened to all the time. My mom would listen to Mariah and Whitney, my older sister would listen to My Chemical Romance. I would listen to whatever was on the radio. Then, later on, I discovered Queen and Freddie Mercury later on in life.
Tell us about your new single “Impossible.” What inspired it?
Impossible was written a while back actually before I even got signed, and I was going through a really, really rough time in my life. I hated myself. I’ve always struggled with a low self-esteem and poor self-image and just blaming myself for everything and just getting in my own way. And I think it was at 3:00 AM one morning, and I was sitting on my keyboard, and I sang the lyrics impossible, I’m so impossible, you’re so impossible, we’re so impossible without melody. I had a first melody, but I didn’t really know what it meant. I brought it into a session with two of my co-writers and I showed it to them, and we started writing a song. At first, it was more of a relationship type vibe, like a relationship with somebody. And mid-way through I was like, “This isn’t connecting. This isn’t genuine. I refuse to release a song about a made up situation. I’m not going to do it.” Then I kind of had a moment and I was like, “Oh shit. This song is about me. This song is me singing to myself. Me battling with my inner demons, me battling with my self-esteem, me battling with being in love.” For some reason, I couldn’t get out of this rut of this impossible relationship with myself. And that song’s just really about kind of me confronting myself.
What do you hope people take away from your song after listening?
I hope that people can really just connect to the emotion. It’s very interesting because the song doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, per se. It really is just a capture of an emotion in time. And for me as a songwriter, rather than something that comes at the end with a happy ending or something like that, I’m really just trying to capture an emotion in time. As a songwriter, you write songs for yourself. I write to get that emotion out and to cope with the world. I hope that people are able to realize that they’re not the only ones that feel the way that they do. Kind of like we’re all in this — I feel like I make music for people to feel and to pour their emotion to; it’s a release. I hope that people are able to have a spiritual, deep connection with the song, and feel what I was feeling at the time.
What’s your writing process like?
You know, it’s different all the time. I think that a lot of times it’ll be like 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM, or waking up in the morning. I think a lot of times if there’s a cool thought that comes to my head or a cool word or a concept or something or something that I said, I always keep a list on my phone of just cool stuff. But honestly, more often than not, I’ll just be sitting at my keyboard. And I don’t really have the approach that a lot of people have. All songwriters have different approaches, and they’re all great. But I can just sit down, play some basic chords, or if I’m in a session I just listen to the producer play some chords, or do a track or something, and for me, I just call it out. I’m pouring out my emotions, and things just don’t necessarily make sense at first, and then I figure out what it means. It’s a very weird, spiritual thing for me. Whatever I’m going through in that time, I speak it out in the air with melodies and words, and then I try to make sense of it in paper. typing and through words. Then I get more specific and more specific and more specific.
What can we expect next? An EP? Album? Any of that?
Yeah, for sure. Right now we have the EP done. And so we’ll release the EP and then after that, an album. So just more music, more visuals, more everything. I’m so fucking excited. I can’t wait.
Who’s your dream collaboration?
I was actually thinking about this the other day. Someone with a voice I think I would love to collab with right now in time is Miley Cyrus. I think we could create a really sick, mid-tempo, emotional song. So right now in time, I would say Miley Cyrus. I really love her EP that she just released, it’s amazing.
If you could change one thing about today’s entertainment industry, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure if I really like the concept of the word fans, as silly as that is. I feel like that is such a divisive term, and I always want to encourage people who support my music and people that like my music and connect to my music. I want them to know that I’m not on any other level that they can’t be. My life is equal to their life, and I just really want to encourage people to be their own person. I hope my music inspires, don’t get me wrong, but I want to teach people to write music to feel themselves. To idolize themselves. To grow with me. I would love for it to be more of a cool little army that I’m a part of rather than people that worship me, because I’m not perfect. And really, no artist is perfect.
When artists are up to a certain level where people think that they can do no wrong, the second they do something wrong, everybody’s attacking them. So I’m kind of approaching all of this, because it’s new in a sense of I am not perfect. I’ve fucked up a lot in my life. I’m hurting a lot of the times. And I’m getting better. And I’m a work in progress. But come on the journey with me, because we’re all in it together. I am not trying to be untouchable.
What do you hope you’re known for?
I hope I’m known for somebody who is honest and welcoming on a personal level. At the end of the day people are like, “Okay he was crazy and loud, but I felt welcomed.” Maybe in a weird way, maybe I was being too much, but I want people to feel welcomed and loved when they’re around me. As an artist, I really want to showcase that I’m a real person and love being real, but I’m not afraid to showcase the most extravagant parts of life. I love a visual, I love an outfit. I love the artist part of that. I’m also not afraid to put on display the worst parts either. I just hope that I’m somebody that people can look at and be like, “Oh, that’s him.”
To learn more about Carlos, be sure to follow him on Instagram and listen to his new single “Impossible” , which is available on all streaming platforms.