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Fowler to host soulful performer in India Carney

Third-year vocal performance student India Carney will be performing Thursday in the Fowler Out Loud concert series. Carney plans to release her debut EP “Heartbroken” by the end of March.

(Felicia Ramirez/Daily Bruin staff)

By Amy Char

Feb. 27, 2014 12:00 a.m.

India Carney filled the margins of her high school math notebook with lyrics rather than numbers. Last year, she sang these lyrics, a product of daydreaming in class, into a Melnitz Hall microphone while recording “Like a Star,” the first track on her debut EP to be released next month.

Carney, a third-year vocal performance student, will release her EP “Heartbroken” by the end of March. Carney will perform all five tracks of the EP, encompassing both pop and R&B;,
at Thursday’s installation of the Fowler Out Loud concert series. In an acoustic set accompanied by a cajon and a guitar, she will also perform other new material and covers.

Carney said most of the songs she sings, either originals or covers, are very emotionally driven. She writes her original songs based on personal experiences. These range from an abstract relationship between cancer and insecurities in “Stronger,” written after her cousin had recently passed away from cancer, to the aftermath of a break-up in “Drive.”
Carney plans to sing “Love Song” by The Cure and “Gone” by Lianne La Havas. She said she considered adding Taylor Swift’s song “I Knew You Were Trouble” to Thursday’s setlist, but had to exclude it due to time constraints. She acknowledges how it may seem unexpected for her to enjoy singing that song as she tends to sing ballads or pop songs that sound similar to R&B.;

“I love (Swift’s) song so much because it’s actually super-relatable and the melodies are melodies that I really like to sing,” Carney said. “As long as there’s a song that can express an authentic emotion, that’s probably what I’ll be singing.”

Second-year psychology student Bret Paddock will play the guitar during Carney’s Thursday performance. He said Carney has a very gifted and soulful voice that can draw an audience’s attention from the first note, and listening to her perform is an experience, especially in an acoustic setting.

“Acoustic sets have a very different energy about them that’s almost hard to put into words,” Paddock said. “The emotions feel more raw and the atmosphere feels more personal. You’re able to focus more on the voice and lyrics than you would with a full band.”

Last February, Carney created a Kickstarter to help fund the EP. She said she was unsure if she would even meet her goal of $2,500 as she didn’t know if people would donate – she managed to raise $3,208.

“I figured it was about time that I put together a compilation of some of the songs I’ve written over the years, just to have something out there,” Carney said. “Technically, the songs that are on this CD have been in the works for a while.”

On the EP, Carney is supported by both a backup band and vocalists. She said the band has accompanied her since her first year at UCLA.

“I really wanted to play with them because they’ve been there since the start,” Carney said. “It’s something that we can show the world – or whoever buys the EP – what we’ve been working on for the past few years.”

Carney wrote the title track “Heartbroken” when she was 15. The first version only had three chords, and while Carney said she tried to make those chords as interesting as possible, her music teacher at New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts asked her to add more elements to the song. Per his request, Carney said she wrote a bridge to add more harmonic variety to the song.

Besides the reharmonizations an alumnus of her high school added to the end of “Heartbroken,” the current version is heavily shaped by her UCLA band’s contributions.

“When I brought it over here, because I’m playing with a lot of jazz musicians, they put their own twist on it and made it sound (like) more of an R&B; song rather than poppy,” Carney said. “I love the sound we’ve created; I really think it makes the song more relatable and emotional.”

Third-year jazz studies student Chili Corder, who plays guitar in Carney’s band, said the musicians discuss their interpretations of a song during rehearsal to get on the same page. They usually try to build around something – in “Heartbroken,” Corder said it was the groove, or the feeling of the tune.
“That song has a driving rhythm,” Corder said. “It keeps moving forward and and it builds up to a crescendo. It always builds and it’s based on a drum beat.”

Wearing a bright New York City pullover sweater, she said it was hard to work between Los Angeles and her hometown of Brooklyn, which put some things on hold. The entire recording process lasted four months.

However, as everyone who worked on the project was UCLA-affiliated – the band members, who are her friends, are all UCLA students and the main sound engineer, Austin Quan, is a UCLA alumnus – and they recorded in Melnitz Hall, Carney described the process succinctly: “#resources.”

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Amy Char
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