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Q&A: Alumnus India Carney talks passion for arts education, upcoming event at The Nimoy

Vocal performance alumnus India Carney smiles for a portrait set against a lilac-colored backdrop. Also a YoungArts alumnus, Carney will perform at The Nimoy on Thursday and Friday night in collaboration with the charity. (Courtesy of Jordan Naheesi)

“Riding the Rollercoaster: An Artist’s Life in Los Angeles”

India Carney

The Nimoy

Feb. 15 to 16

8 p.m.

By Isabella Appell

Feb. 15, 2024 6:09 p.m.

Alumnus India Carney is celebrating young artists.

Taking place this evening at The Nimoy, the singer, songwriter and producer’s two-night series, “Riding the Rollercoaster: An Artist’s Life in Los Angeles,” will feature a performance from Carney’s band as well as some of LA’s new musicians. The event is a collaboration with YoungArts, a program that supports emerging artists, including Carney herself.

Carney spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Isabella Appell about her passion for arts education and how it intertwines with the Nimoy event.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

[Related: The Nimoy’s “A Love Story Event” left audience with new ideas about love]

Daily Bruin: Being a graduate of UCLA, what does it mean to you to get to return to Westwood at the newly renovated Nimoy theater?

India Carney: Coming to UCLA was taking a risk. To this day, UCLA was one of the best decisions I made for myself. I really enjoy Westwood (and) just the community. I feel really at home here and getting to return feels like such a blessing. Also, getting to return shortly after the Nimoy theater has been renovated again is beautiful. The space is amazing and I’ve always felt welcome by UCLA and the programs I’ve been part of as well as YoungArts.

DB: You completed your classical music training at UCLA in 2015. How has your own arts education influenced your career, and how has it contributed to your desire to increase quality arts education?

IC: Arts education is important because I experienced that myself. I attribute who I am today as an artist to all of the programs I was lucky to be a part of, so I take pride in the level of education and knowledge that I have now as a result of that. It fueled me so much as a kid. I can only hope and imagine that it will have the same effect on an aspiring musician that I get to mentor.

[Related: Hilá Plitmann, UCLA music students debut original compositions at Schoenberg Hall]

DB: As a previous YoungArts award winner, what does the organization mean to you?

IC: What resonates with me the most is their connection to their alumni. YoungArts is a huge program, and they seem to do a really good job at not just staying in touch, but inviting you to regional events. They really employ their alumni.

YoungArts was the first time where I was in a room with people I considered were better than me. Instead of cowering down and being intimidated, I was inspired for the first time in a way that I hadn’t been before. I am grateful to YoungArts for pushing me, for surrounding me with people who I can learn from, giving me that quality education.

DB: Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through this two-night event?

IC: The first night features me and my music and the second night highlights the experience and the struggle of making it as a creative person in Los Angeles. One thing I’d love for the audience to leave with is that understanding, that glimpse into the experience. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, and it’s manifesting in a lot of different ways. The thing I love about music is that it acts as another vessel to emote, to connect and to resonate. I hope that when they (attendees) leave both nights, they leave inspired in some way. I would love for them to feel a little newer.

DB: As someone who was introduced to the music industry going into college, what advice would you give to aspiring young artists?

IC: I would say assume the music industry does not exist. At some point, it’ll become apparent that it does, but the more you allow that to dictate how you move, you’re probably going to move slower than you’d like. Just focus on the music, stay in your lane, do what you do well, find your strengths and make them stronger. Have fun enjoying what you uniquely bring to the table, and worry about the industry when you need to.

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