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Carrie McFerrin (Kalamazoo MI)

Solo performers Interview

Artist Name  Carrie McFerrin

Age        30

Date       5/22/13

Are you an instrumentalist only?  I sing and also play instruments

What instrument do you play?
Mostly guitar, but I will bust out the banjo and
ukulele from time to time.

Where do you reside?  Kalamazoo, MI

  1. 1. What inspired you to start singing and Playing?

I grew up in a musical household.  My mother taught piano lessons and my father guitar lessons so I picked up on both.  I also was encouraged to play other instruments so I also played flute, piccolo, and violin for several years, but do not pursue any of these now.  Neither of my parents would call themselves singers, though, so I’m not sure where I got that from


  1. 2. How long have you been performing publicly?

Most of my life.  My parents thought it would be good for me at an early age and they were right.  I get somewhat nervous before shows now but believe I am much more comfortable on stage because of my childhood performance experience.

  1. 3. How long did you play before you stated gigging?

That depends on what your definition of gigging is.  I played for about nine years and performed here and there before I started seriously booking shows and treating it like a business about three years ago.

  1. 4. How long have you been playing guitar?

About 12 years.

  1. 5. How did you learn to play guitar?

My father taught guitar lessons so I picked up on it from being around him.  I like to learn from other guitar players via jam sessions or going to see live shows.

  1. 6. Have you taken lessons if so do you take lessons now?

I took informal lessons from my father and he still teaches me tips and tricks every time I see him.  He is a self-taught guitar player and so am I.

  1. 7. Where was your first gig?

Alpha Beta Java at Grace College (Indiana) in 2003.

  1. 8. How did you get it?

I just asked.  I’ve had pretty good success with that.

  1. 9. How scared were you?

I was pretty nervous.  I find the more I play out the more desensitized I become to the nervousness and stage fright.  My nerves were pretty fresh for that show!

  1. 10. How do you get gigs?

I have great success by just asking.  It also helps I have a professional website, business cards, demeanor, etc.  I’m also preparing to release my first recordings this summer.  I think that will also help me get more gigs.  We’ll see!

  1. 11. Do you use an agent, if so how did you get that rolling?

No, but I’m looking into it.  If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears.

  1. 12. What do you use for equipment?

I prefer venues that have their own house systems.  If I must provide my own sound, I typically use a Fender Acoustasonic Junior Amp for both my guitar and vocals.  I daisy-chain another amp to it for use as a monitor.  For a microphone I use a SM57 and my guitars are normally Taylors.

  1. 13. Do you use a monitor?

Always.  I have found anytime a show did not go exactly as I wanted was because I could not hear myself.

  1. 14. Do you have any tips you can share as far as setting up your equipment for a gig?

Always bring more than you think you’ll need and bring backup equipment.  Bring an extension cord, power strip, extra mic, stand, etc.  You never know what can decide to stop working or break while setting up for a show.  Also allow twice as much time as it normally takes to set up.  This will let you solve any last minute issues that may arise and still let you start on time.

  1. 15. How long was you longest gig?

Three hours.  I was so fried by the end I could hardly play a song.  I will never play that long again on my own and now ask another solo artist to share the time with me.

  1. 16. How long was your shortest gig?
    About 25 minutes.

  1. 17. How do you choose what songs to learn?
    When it comes to covers, I choose based on my vocal ability as well as what potential I see to change the song to make it more interesting yet recognizable.  I do not choose original songs; they choose me.

  1. 18. How do you learn new songs, by ear, YouTube, books?
    I look up chords and lyrics online.  I never learn the song from the original recording because doing so would influence my creativity.  My goal is to change covers songs to fit my style, so I incorporate my own picking and strumming patterns as well as melody lines.

  1. 19. Who are a few of your favorite artists?
    Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty.  Ironically, these artists have not influenced my style.

  1. 20. How often do you play out?
    2-4 times per month

  1. 21. Do you have any CD’s out?
    I am planning to release my first record, “The Wolves” on 7/19/13 at the Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo, MI. 

  1. 22. Do you have any aspirations to take you music further than your current success?
    I always strive to learn more and do more.  I see myself continuing on the path I am and expanding my reach, however far that ends up being.

  1. 23. How far will you travel?
    I’m planning a tour for this summer, so as of now, I am willing to travel the U.S.

  1. 24. How far have you traveled to do a gig?
    I lived in Atlanta, GA before I moved to Michigan and was in a band there.  They have me fly down every now and again for a show. 

  1. 25. Can you recall you best show?
    The best shows are those where you feel some sort of magic in the atmosphere and feel as if you have superpowers.  I can’t explain how, why, or when this can occur as it is unexpected.  The last time this happened for me was a show at Louie’s in Kalamazoo this past winter.

  1. 26. How about your worst show?
    I feel fortunate that I haven’t had many bad shows.  I think things are simple when performing solo and not much has the opportunity to go wrong.

  1. 27. Do you have any advice for a person just getting in to gigging that you would like to share?
    Go to open mics and shows and befriend other musicians in your area.  It helps to have these contacts when it comes to booking and sharing shows and learning the ropes of how to be a professional.

  1. 28. When you practice do you go through a P. A. or just you and your guitar?
    It’s best to practice how you perform, so I always practice plugged in.  It helps you get used to the plugged in sound and feel and helps you better learn to use your equipment.

  1. 29. Anything else that you would like to share?
    Thanks for the interview and I wish everyone the best of luck with their music.

Contact information/Press Kit:

Carrie McFerrin
website: http://carriemcferrin.com
presskit: http://carriemcferrin.com/presskit/