Latin Grammy Winner Carla Morrison on Her Music Career and Why She's Allowing Herself to Just Be
Carla Morrison is mostly interested in making music that will resonate with the innermost and deepest fibers of people's beings. The artist generally appeals to listeners willing to get in touch with and embrace the full spectrum of emotions, especially if they may be uncomfortable or painful. The Mexican powerhouse vocalist sings sublimely about love, heartbreak, longing, despair, desire, sorrow and everything in between.
Carla has been making music for nearly a decade to widespread critical acclaim. She's won three Latin Grammys while managing independent musician status. The singer-songwriter has performed extensively in Mexico and abroad in major festivals such as Coachella and Celebrate Brooklyn. Carla's most recent album, Amor Supremo Desnudo, takes her back to her musical roots of crafting vulnerable and intimate music.
During our phone conversation, she talks music that awakens the soul, her independent career trajectory and why she's allowing herself to just be.
Why did you decide to re-release Amor Supremo with acoustic arrangements?
Amor Supremo Desnudo came about because I was doing Amor Supremo acoustic sessions for the radio and I would always think that a song played with acoustic arrangements sounds like a whole different story. Like it tells a whole different point of view of what I'm trying to say and communicate. And so I got the idea to make an acoustic version, and my boyfriend said, "Oh yeah like the Beatles' Naked Album." I was thinking about it, and my manager advised me not to, but I really wanted to so we did the whole album, and we added two new songs, and then we did a little tour and put out some vinyl.
You've described yourself, your music and your fans as intense. Tell me what you mean by this.
I'm a very sensitive and intense woman. I've always been aware that life is a miracle and that emotions and relationships, and our journey through life is so important and special. So I try to maintain this awareness when I write songs. I feel that people that listen to my music are also intense because they want to feel. They want to feel alive and face the truth. I always try to make music like that.
I've heard you say that love has a lot of different colors and grey areas. Can you elaborate on this sentiment?
Love has a lot of angles and a lot of different colors and grey areas. Love is a decision you make. When the honeymoon phase passes, you have to make a decision to be with the person and that you have to nurture and stand by it and be tolerant and patient. And sometimes if the other person is going through a rough time, you just have to wait. Obviously, if it's a relationship with long-term potential. As Latinos, they told us that a romantic relationship is about being perfect. And the reality is that people fuck up, people make mistakes, and we should try to understand to a certain extent, of course, that not every relationship is perfect. We have to be humble enough to see all the colors that love can give us and experience them all.
How do you feel to have been named one of 'The 100 Most Powerful Women in Mexico' by Forbes?
Actually, I was very surprised. They called me up and said, "Hey we want you to be part of the panel," and then I actually thought about my career and everything that I've done and I realized I do deserve this! I've worked my ass off, and it felt good to be recognized because I feel that as women and Mexicans, we tend to feel ashamed of owning stuff. We tend to feel like, ‘I need to pretend that I don't know this or that I don't deserve this because I'm too young’, but I thought, ‘I've worked hard, I've sacrificed so much’. It was definitely an honor and surprising but also nice to realize just how hard I've worked. Sometimes when years go by, we think of the things we haven't done. But we don't take a chance to look back and notice the things we have done.
Tell me about the business side of being an independent musician.
To be honest, sometimes, I ask myself why I took this path because the money part of the industry can be so heartbreaking. The natural way that it happened isn't that I thought, ‘You know what? I'm going to be an entrepreneur!’ It's more that I was afraid big labels were going to take away what I've worked so hard for. I just wanted to do my own thing and then little by little, I started to become an entrepreneur because I kept saying no to people that I thought would put too much pressure on me. So it's challenging but also rewarding because you learn a lot and this gives you power because you understand who is honest and who isn't.
What has made you want to remain an independent musician?
At the end of the day, being independent has brought me a lot of joy and happiness and peace because I know exactly what's going on. I know how my art works both creatively and financially, the way my music is valued and viewed and listened to. I'm always learning about the business part of the industry, how artists are creating content, how it's taking time, how royalties work. I'm always taking courses because it's very interesting to understand it. I didn't start doing music with the intention to be a businesswoman, I just wanted to make music. But knowing this part gives me a lot of power in the form of knowledge because I can share it to help other artists that come to me for advice. It's great to be an independent musician because you call the shots and you can be the badass bitch you want to be!
What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you? Are you working on any new music or other projects?
To be honest, I'm not working on anything. I've had a lot of years working and touring and getting very involved in the business side of things. So this year, I'm allowing myself to just be, hang out, and live life. Go around and see my friends, have drinks, go to shows, learn how to cook. I want to learn how to use different ways of programming music. I really need this, I want to back off for a moment because this career can be very demanding, and as an artist, you have to be refreshed frequently. It's important to have time for yourself. Lately, I've been feeling how I felt before I broke out into music – being a music junkie, enjoying art. And I hadn't felt this way in a long time. For so many years, it's been all about my music, my work, my tours, my business. And right now I feel like a fan, just enjoying other music and concerts without feeling worried about my projects. I've been dedicating myself to hanging out!