Cornell Carter - aka (CC), is a very talented R&B and Soul singer from the San Francisco area. CC decided he wanted to sing after hearing artists such as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. His brother was a very talented singer also, but unfortunately passed away in an automobile accident. It was after this event, that CC decided he had to carry on the torch of singing in honor of his brother. Throughout his career CC has shared the stage with immortals like James Brown, Ray Charles, The Temptations and many others. In January 2016, CC will be releasing a new CD titled "In The Moment". The 13 song collection features a nice mixture of upbeat songs, ballads, and club classics, that are bound to be lighting up the dance floor and encouraging the crowd to sing and shout along. I recently caught up with CC.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new upcoming CD "In The Moment". It's a very polished well rounded collection of songs. How did you come up with the title and was there a theme that you built upon as you were creating this album?
C.C. - First of all, Thank you for this Interview and a great first question. The title "In The Moment" was the most effective way to express what took place during the recording process. It hit me while I was driving... I said "In The Moment" is the only way to sum it up." The theme of the album was to be able to express how much I love the artistic/creative side of Music Expression and to stay honest about my own life and how I live which is to always set "In the Moment".
R.V.B. - There is a variety of styles and tempo's that are nicely placed in song order. The CD starts with a nice dancable song in "Beautiful" and then leads into a slower call and response song "The show". Why did you choose these two songs to start the disc?
C.C. - We really thought a lot about that! I personally Love Listening to an Album/CD that gives me a chance to experience different emotions and I felt that those two Songs were a great way of leading things off for the Listeners. It's really like going on a ride and you want to coast as well as take off!
R.V.B. - The press release states track 3 "Lady of my Dreams" was written when you were younger. How old were you when you originally wrote it and who or what was your lady of your lady of your dreams at the time? Were there many changes made for today's version?
Wow! That song was written when I was 27 years old. I was of course alone at the time. (lol) One night I had this amazing dream that was as real as it gets. What's real ironic about the dream was I had already received the music track from my producer Kirk Crumpler, but I didn't have any lyrics written. So I wrote that song based upon this beautiful girl that I came face to face with in a dream, and it was so real that when I woke up, I was sad because she wasn't there. The changes that were made from the original were done almost at the end of the album when Kirk let me hear his new version, and I lost my mind and wrote a new bridge to it, and we added a lot of great orchestration to enhance what I did vocally. I truly love how it developed into what we have now.
R.V.B. - A few songs on the album remind me of having a fun time at a top nightclub with tracks such as "Sunshine", "When you Smile", "My Folks", and of course the single off the album "Bobblehead"... I believe these will become staples for the rest of our current decade in the club scene. Do you feel the same way?
C.C. - Absolutely!!! I just Love a great groove that stays in the pocket and allows me as a vocalist and lyricist to write and sing along with the music. We grew up around that kind of music where everybody knew the words because it stayed Simple. We wanted to convey that kind of consistency on this album and I'm really proud of that. You just want your audience to have a great time when they listen to your music!
R.V.B. - The words and music are clever for the single "Bobbleheadu just want your audience to have a great time when they listen to your music!". can you describe your writing and production relationship with Kirk "KC" Crumpler?
C.C. - Man!! Kirk KC Crumpler and I have a very powerful and respectful relationship and we love to laugh and we love music! It's got to be fun or we can't do it! The great thing is he will hear an idea or I will give him my idea and somehow it just works. He sends me music at like 3 in the morning with 'Check your email' (hahaha) messages and it really amazes me how our writing together over the years has developed. "Bobblehead" is a clear example of that. I told him my idea for the music and when he sent it, I came to the studio and the Lyrics just happened. The same during our mixing process. We have an unspoken formula that we go by...He hears it and I feel it and when we are both pleased, that's it! It's total trust between us because we are Brothers for life!
C.C. - No question it is Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. The great thing about listening to great singers is to simply hear the emotion and the attitude of what's coming through them. I learned that you have to be true to how you really feel so that when someone is listening to you, they will feel it too. But my true Inspiration came form my brother who was killed in an automobile accident many years ago and he was a singer with a great Falsetto and was about to go places, so I took it upon myself to carry the Torch and live the music life that he did not get a chance to do.
R.V.B. - How did you enjoy opening for music icons such as James Brown, Ray Charles, and The Temptations?
C.C. - Talking about Honor! When you are in the same building let alone the Stage as James Brown you are like a little kid living in a Fantasy! Great Moment. As far as the great Ray Charles we were in town called Clear Lake here in California, and had a chance to meet him and that was my true Lesson as a performer to see what a true professional does and what separates them from everyone else. The orchestra, the singers, the whole production was life changing and I got to shake their Hand! Loving Motown, The Temptations show was also a great thrill because because I knew all the songs and the dance steps.
R.V.B. - When you were working your way up through the ranks and developing your style, what were some of the cover tunes you had in your arsenal?
C.C. - MJ, Prince, but my favorite is the funk tunes like "Knee Deep" and all the Parliament/Funkadelic stuff! What also changed my style was when someone asked me to sing Frank Sinatra "New York, New York" and some Nat King Cole Tunes! When I started listening to those guys...man I said wait a minute... I didn't know how great they were but once I started singing some of those songs it gave me a much wider range and appreciation of being a Singer.
R.V.B. - It's a pretty big honor to be associated with Carlos Santana, let alone being asked to sing on a major project with his reunion album coming out. How did that come about and how did you feel about participating on a few songs.
C.C. - It's an absolute total honor to be on Santana 4! How that came about was through my relationship with the great Narada Michael Walden, who has opened his arms and his doors for me. I don't have words for what it means to me. One day I received a call from Narada's assistant Kimrea, she said we have an A list client that wants a great vocalist and Narada and Jim Reitzel (Great friend and Engineer for Carlos and Narada) said to call me. I had no idea until I got to Tarpan Studios that the session was For Carlos Santana! We met briefly and went to work and I tell you what, it was phenomenal! All the guys were great and when were listening back to the tracks we were all dancing and Singing!! I am totally honored to be on this album but most importantly to share a great Moment with Santana!
R.V.B. - You seem to be staying real busy at Tarpan Studios by working on a variety of projects. How do you enjoy studio work as to performing live?
C.C. - To me, performing is my greatest Joy, because its a reciprocal thing between you and the audience with a rush that you can't describe. Being in the studio is different every time, because you are recording something new that requires your full attention to the creative process. Being around a Grammy award winning producer like Narada Michael Walden has given me a new appreciation for writing a Song and how to record it. Its a very intimate process because you must allow your creative mind to try different approaches to the music and the vocals. When you think about someone listening to your music what do you want them to hear? You have to live with and stay true to it, because you don't want to rush a great song. Let it breath and come to live. I have truly learned that over the years, which is why this album took 2 years to complete.
R.V.B. - I see that you started your own production company "CDC Productions", How is working with other artists different than working on your own material?
C.C. - CDC Productions is geared to re-introduce Artist Development! How to help an aspiring young musician and help them to learn about how to present themselves on and off the Stage or just simply Inspire them to go to a place that they had no idea that they could reach. To also convey that if you choose to be an Artist to always strive to get better and to be able to handle the highs and low of the music industry
R.V.B. - What are your plans to promote the new CD?
C.C. - I am proud to say that I have a great team around me and everyone is working real hard on promoting this album! We are gearing towards live performances as well as being available for interviews such as this, which I totally appreciate this opportunity to answer your questions about myself and the music! Of course we are promoting through all of the Social media outlets as well via our Website www.cc2000music.com Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. My goal is to travel around the world reach out to the fans that strive to live " In The Moment." Thank you so much!
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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