Interview with Country Music Singer-Songwriter Carrie Cunningham

Carrie is being called an authentic, sultry, and captivating voice on the New Country and Americana scene. With the sass of Miranda Lambert and the sweet rich tones of Pam Tillis, not only does she engage and enlighten the audience within minutes with her voice, but also her stage presence. 

She has sung for ESPN2, Showtime Boxing, MLS, PRCA, The Spokane Symphony, KXLY, and major music festivals. Carrie is the only independent artist to be signed back to back at the NW’s Largest Country Music Festival, Watershed. 

HELLO CARRIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Carrie Cunningham, and I am an award-winning performing songwriter, engineer, benefit auctioneer and keynote speaker. I split my time between Huntington Beach, CA and Nashville, TN.

 I love performing and it has landed me on over 1000 stages and in front of over 100,000 people.  I have opened for over 50 National artists, including Vince Gill, Kacey Musgraves, Collective Soul, Charlie Daniels and Jake Owen to name a few.  I also have a philanthropic heart which has led me to volunteer over the years with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, C.A.S.A, The Special Olympics, Vanished Children’s Alliance.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICAL STYLE? HAS YOUR STYLE CHANGED MUCH OVER THE YEARS?
I am a country artist who sometimes get tagged as Americana, but I love pop, RnB, jazz and pretty much anything that can make me dance or feel something.  Yes, my style has changed immensely as I have matured over the years and have decided to not allow people to put me into the box of “you are this or that, but not both”.  Thankfully, all genres are starting to pull more from different genres; So, I feel more comfortable with my creativity now. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR ARTISTIC INSPIRATION?
Everywhere.  I’m always writing down things people say that catch my “Songwriting feelers”.  I love great melodies and grooves.  But as far as me as an artist, my fans keep me inspired.  I have a handful of fans who remind me why I write and perform.  Without them, this business would be a heck of a lot harder than it already is.  

I really admire the award-winning songwriter, Steve Seskin.  For 8 years I was the Coordinator for the Portland Oregon chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International.  I had Steve come out one year for a workshop and he said there are three things you need to focus on when you write a song.  You need to hit the listener in the heart, the hips, or the feet.  If you can hit them with two out of the three or even all three, then you have a great song.  So, I always think along those lines when writing.

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?
Oh man, that’s a long list.  Anything on the radio from the late 70’s up to now.  I started listening to music nightly while going to sleep when I was 8, but the Hall & Oates song “Man Eater” showed me how a song can create unforgettable imagery.  Then watching Barbara Mandel and the Mandrel sisters perform, well that’s when I knew what I wanted to do.  I will have to say though, the first time I met Gretchen Peters, her lyric writing touched me so deeply, I actually cried.   Now, I am continually studying pop and country charts and adding my own bit of flare of what I learn or observe.  

WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE FOR MAKING MUSIC?
It depends on who I am in the room with.  I can start a song with an idea or a melody.  If it starts off with a melody, I like to think of a theme that would fit the mood, then think of the angle. I don’t like to rush the song either.  I’m all about quality over quantity. Sometimes the song comes quickly and sometimes it needs to percolate a bit.   

WHAT DO YOU DO TO GROW YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?
Right now, I have been working hard on building my niche in the benefit auctioneering business.  I am combining my long history in the music business and my education in auctioneering.  I am also a keynote Speaker who encompasses music with the presentation.The main reason for branching out into other areas is because I want to make sure I am still making a difference in the world.  I know people want to hear my story and I want to help those who need it.

WHAT IS THAT ONE THING THAT YOU ALWAYS KEEP IN YOUR MIND WHILE PREPARING YOUR CONTENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA?
You are an inspiration.  How will this affect someone today?  Will it make them laugh, feel good, or inspired?

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO A BUDDING ARTIST?
Keep showing up.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do this business, because you can, and you will if you believe in yourself.  Success is measured with not only the huge public victories, but also the private and small victories.  Even when you feel like you aren’t making a difference or getting anywhere, just know there is someone wishing they could be you.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I am coming out with a new full-length album early next year which I’m super excited about.  I feel like this album expresses more of me than any of my previous albums, EP’s or singles.  The songs really show who I am.

WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
www.carrielive.com is my website.  All my socials are on there as well.

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