Iggy Carson has been a musician all his life. He started singing for his family and friends at the age of 8, started playing the guitar soon after and joined bands as soon as he was old enough. He combines the brains of a Latino, with an every man pathos of Michael Jackson and the uniqueness of Prince. He communicates a more authentic bittersweet melody with his love songs than Enrique could ever do and he can ride the pop wave because of it.
Carson uses a yo-yo method stylistically, swinging from the innocuous instrumentals of pop to a rock and jazz-tinged soul to the fiery balladry of Latin music and back to some straight-up soul. It has a little bit of a dancy, Motown sound to it. Still, his commitment to the style is far from absolute, as his next single “She Was All I Loved” has no Latin elements in it, but instead creates room for a gospel-choir sound.
His current single “Escape” is a title tune. Not a self-centered “Escape” like we know it from aforementioned Enrique, but a gentle, sensitive and insightful kind of Escape. Carson explains:
“Escape” is about a girl and about a city. It’s a place where I always want to be when I’m not there, and a place that I always try to escape from when I’m there. It was the first city I went in the U.S. I had very good moments there but the worst moments too with this girl.
It reflects also the dream that many people have about living in NYC, it’s one thing from outside, but one totally different from the inside.
Carson produces his music on his own, always keeping his listeners and fans in mind. He calls them “the people.” The people, he explains, will forget about your music when you have a monetary outcome in mind. What counts is thinking about the music. It’s something we’ve heard before, so what is so unique about Carson? Maybe it is his humble way of answering BOLD’s questions; or maybe it is commitment to music and his knowing and eloquent character: “It’s gonna be difficult, but at the end of the day what people love is good music. If the music is bad, that’s another story.”
This comes from someone who took the time to sit down with BOLD and answered all of our questions truthfully. It needs to be shared. After all it is “for the people.”
How would you describe your music?
From a technical point of view, I try to combine elements of the music that I listened to all my life. (Pop, Jazz, Rock, Latin, etc.) It’s something that happens. But I try to do it in a way that most of the people can enjoy, that’s why I call it Pop music, not doing reference to a kind of style, pop coming from popular, music for the people.
From a more “meaningful” point of view my music is the total expression of my personality, something that I can’t do only in words. I’m a very social person but at the same time I’m very shy, I always want to say something to people and music was the best way I found to do it
How does your music differ from your influences and idols?
I try not to think about it. I just let the music happen. And the result is a combination of all those influences (not only musicians), that at the end of the day it’s what defines my own music. Every person is different and if you are honest, if you are yourself when doing music your music is going to be different, that’s how it works.
Where do you get your lyrical inspiration from?
The inspiration comes from common sense. When I have an idea of something that I think I’m not the only one experiencing it I try to write it. Relationships are very common, and my own romantic experiences are a big part of my lyrics. But I always try to say something that people feel. Sometimes happens sometimes not, but that’s the good thing of doing music.
There is a parallel to Iggy Pop…both of you like to go shirtless. Coincidence?
That’s a coincidence. “Iggy” is a diminutive way to say Ignacio (my original name) in some countries. My friends actually never called me by my name, they used another diminutive ways. When I arrived in the US for the first time, a lot of people started calling me Iggy, and for a lot of people from many countries was not easy to pronounce my original name. My uncle Danny, he is American and never learned how to pronounce it correctly. And I really liked it, so I adopted it.
The idea of going shirtless is something that I always wanted to do, even before I knew that there was an artist named Iggy Pop. He’s cool, I like him, but never was in my list of influences.
What made you decide to start a solo career?
In my whole musical life I’ve been looking for my own sound, but I realised when playing with bands that I was very easily influenced by what people said, and that’s not a good way to find yourself. I realised that in a solo career I could go with the music wherever I wanted to go. It’s freedom, it’s what I really wanted to do since I was 7 or 8 years old. It’s difficult though, I miss having a band, I miss the support and the discussions, but in the other hand, I feel now that I’m in the right way.
How would you say your Colombian background flows into your music and into your way of facing the music business?
I was born and raised in Colombia, that probably made me listen to Latin music a lot, like Salsa and Latin Jazz, but since Salsa was born as Salsa in the US, I don’t think the fact of being Colombian could be important. I’m this kind of person who thinks that we all belong to the same place, a cultural difference is never big enough to make a difference between one human and another, and music is one of the most human expressions.
I’ve been told many times that it’s gonna be more difficult for me to make it in the music business because I’m a Latin trying to make music for other people, or music that allegedly belongs to “other people”. The truth is I’m just trying to make music for all the people.
Do you miss Colombia or do you feel at home where you are at now?
I feel at home right now. Of course this is a completely new life, I miss my mom a lot. My sister lives in the US too, far from where I’m living right now, but I feel supported by her. We are always in touch, my mom my sister and I are very close and maintain always a good communication of what’s going on. For me living here represents making music. And I don’t know what other thing I could do in my life. So yes I feel at home.
You are a little critical of today’s contemporary music business and today’s quality of music; you’ve said that they’re “forgetting the music.” How do you make sure that you don’t forget about the music?
It depends on what’s your first intention. Making money or making music. And today’s industry is ruled by those who want to make money first. And that’s great, I’m not against that, I like money too. But I really believe that a great song appears when you are thinking only about the music. When you are thinking the music as a product, you can definitely do something cool, and sell it. But people is gonna swallow it and forget it, nobody cares, there are more to come, you already did your money, you already made your hit. When you do music thinking about the music, it’s different. It lasts. But to get to a point where you are doing great songs or being a real great artist you need time, you need development. Sometimes more time sometimes less. “Thriller” (the album) was the biggest hit, but they got to that point after more than 20 years of doing records. So the answer is I don’t forget about the music because I’m always thinking about the music.
It takes a healthy amount of ego to name a single “Escape” knowing that there will be people who might dismiss it as yet another potentially love song without even listening to it. Were you ever afraid of that?
I never thought about it and there was no other way that represented what I was trying to say. For sure I was not thinking about a marketable way to name it. But I think people never are going to get tired of listening to love songs. It takes more than just a name to make people listen to a song.
What are you planning for the next weeks, months, years?
Right now I have an entire album recorded, but I’m following a new strategy that focuses more in the song than in the album. So I’m releasing this album by singles, but they all belong to a moment that I call album, and they’re all going to be in the same CD at some point. As well,I’m working on the next single “She Was All I Loved” a love song too. This one is a totally different song, it has no Latin elements in it, I actually tried to emulate a gospel choir in the song, it has a more American influence. It will be released around mid July in New York City and I’m planning a few shows to promote it. All the info will be on my website.