Cara Being Blue indie musician“The opportunities are out there – you just have to be in the right place at the right time, with your A-game, which also means you have to everywhere, all the time. ” – @carabeingblue

Episode #279 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW CARA BEING BLUE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Interviewing: Cara Lippman

Music business…
is very time consuming and requires, at least for me, and many of my fellow Nashville-area musicians, a day job. You must be a dynamic, resourceful, creative, passionate, nice, decent, reliable, hard-skinned person who is completely devoted to eking forward in your career in whatever way possible. I’m always trying out new ways of marketing and reading up on how to best promote my material and brand to keep us relevant. I always tell people, “The opportunities are out there – you just have to be in the right place at the right time, with your A-game, which also means you have to everywhere, all the time.” You never know when someone of influence will see you, hear you, and/or give you critical feedback or open a door. I spend a lot of hours at my day job as an executive assistant so I can afford to spend my nights and weekends doing music-related activities. It’s very thrilling and very exhausting all at the same time. Luckily, the Blues community behaves like a family and takes care of its own, and I feel very blessed it’s my chosen and most natural genre. I’ve received (and given) a lot of support and fellowship from my fellow Blues artists. I’ve also really appreciated being a BMI artist. I can’t tell you how exciting that first royalty check was!

Social media..
I really like social media for the indie artist. I haven’t needed a label for the attention I’ve received. I have over 12K plays on my social media websites and our music is being aired over internet and FM radio stations because of my social media efforts. It’s one of the necessary time-consuming tasks. I do like to share our good news and especially our N1M website fan mail, because I’m excited about it! I can’t imagine having to create a USPS mailed newsletter and pay for postage every time something cool happened, or run around town stapling show posters on Nashville’s telephone poles, or spend all day on phone calls to tell everyone all the latest happens with the band. I take a screenshot from bed in my PJs, and BAM, thousands of people instantly celebrate with you. You create your own hype. Periscope is a really cool new tool, and I’ve loved broadcasting our jams with it. People from all over the globe get to hear our local musicians or hear me sing right in the exact live moment! Yes, all these things, especially Periscope, are somewhat tough to manage, but I think my lifelong theater arts training, degree as an English Teacher, and day job as an executive assistant all help me know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. The challenge for me is knowing what to pay for. I’m bombarded with people who want me to pay for fans. I absolutely refuse with vehemence and block those people. The Cara Being Blue “empire” has been built by this one-woman show one fan at a time, and I’m really proud of that. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want you to hear what I’ve got and genuinely connect with it, because I know that means you’ll be back for more.

I plunked out The Blue Danube on a kiddie piano at age 2…
and gave my first concert to my stuffed animals at age four. I always wanted to be able to just open my mouth and sing – like Whitney Houston! My music teacher, the wonderful, late Denise Taggart, accepted my 7th grade audition for the elite Madrigals girls’ choir. When I saw my name on the acceptance sheet, I realized at that moment someone else thought I might have something, vocally! She believed in me. It only takes one person to propel you into your future at any given stage.

Can’t Catch You…
is my personal experience of wanting to be with someone I can’t be with for various reasons. I find I can be very successful in many areas of my life except my personal life! There are just so many factors we (I) can’t control in relationships; the others’ interest level, availability, timing, effort, etc. In the end, it’s about giving up on what we (I) can’t control and moving on. I usually write with a co-writer, but this song came from personal experience, so it just flowed easily and naturally. It was really surprising and exciting to record this song with my band at Launch Pad Production’s studio in Nashville. The band and I were doing it as a funky shuffle at our live shows, but in the studio, my guitarist, Val Lupescu, added a B3-sounding guitar line and all of a sudden things got very sultry up in there! We just went with it!

The song Can’t Catch You will be included in my forthcoming EP, entitled, “Full Throttle,” recorded in Nashville this Fall with Launch Pad Production. We released Full Throttle (the song) and Can’t Catch You as a double-single in April of 2015 and really got a kick out of the energetic response from our friends and fans, so we wanted to be sure to include those two on this EP. There will be five total songs on this first public offering, due in the next couple months, and these songs all convey that dynamic energy, encouragement, and catharsis I love to share and experience in live shows. I always say, “If I don’t give 100%, I get nothing in return.” This EP is a demonstration of my Blues-fusion writing ability and singing styles, with some Blues-Rock, Blues-Funk, Blues-Soul and Blues-Jazz. I wanted this first EP to really demonstrate the spectrum of what this band can do musically with the “Full Throttle” message through-line. My life mottos are, “Keep Moving Forward,” and “Give It Your All” – Full Throttle is my biopic song, and I can’t wait for our fans to hear the rest of the EP featuring some very exciting musicians from the Nashville area!

I live in Music City! Nashville…
ain’t just for Country folk! There’s a hugely vibrant music scene of all genres of music from Bluegrass to Blues, Country to Pop, Singer/Songwriters to Folk, and because the musicians are so talented and so diverse, it is a true melting pot, and you wind up seeing and hearing incredible new styles, like one of my favorites, Folk-Hop – a blend of singer/songwriter guitar and vocal lines and Hip-Hop, with a DJ and electronic drum beats. One of my favorite things to do, and how I recruited my band members, is going to the many jams we have around town. There are several almost every night of the week at various venues, like the Nashville Blues Society jam at Bourbon Street Boogie & Blues Bar in Printer’s Alley every Monday, Donnie Miller’s Thursday night jam – the longest running in Nashville – now at Rev.el.ry in Hendersonville, and my own pro jam held at Roadside Bar & Grill in Old Hickory. The things I love most about jams are the fellowship with other professional musicians, meeting new people and fans, entertaining the heck out of tourists and locals alike, hearing new songs and styles, listening to road stories and experiences, and creating what I call “Magic” from giving a group of these incredibly talented people a key and a tempo. These pieces of music are a one-time event. They will never be re-created again in quite the same way, ever. It’s really quite special. You never know who will show up at these things either! I’ve had the opportunity to sing with some people with incredible resumes – and the cool thing about them – there’s not an ego among them. Some of the nicest, best folks you’d ever want to hang with.


Cara Being Blue indie artistSingles vs an album…
As previously mentioned, we released Full Throttle and Can’t Catch You as a double single in April. At the time, I was working temp work due to circumstances beyond my control, but I really, really wanted to have something recorded before my 40th birthday in July. I scraped and saved up enough to get just those two songs recorded, and it was really for financial reasons that we didn’t record more. I am not a huge fan of crowd funding. This is MY dream, and I am self-funded. I worked for this and I paid for it. It’s a pride point for me. Now that I’m working a full-time role, we were able to record the rest of our EP that we’ll be releasing in a couple months with our first five songs. We’ll have something printed that shows the spectrum of what we can do and who we are; who I am, Cara, being blue! It’s an introductory EP to Cara Lippman and her band; our “business card.” We’ve loved the feedback and success of the first two songs, and now we can sell these EPs at our shows so folks have something to take home, or mail them out to folks who might want to listen. I ONLY spin local CDs in my car! I’m so lucky to have so many friends making great music in this city that I’m never without new music.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Shemekia Copeland! I found her music on YouTube and was instantly hooked. She sings with the passion and vulnerability I strive to. I’m drawn to her, musically, and I think we’d be buds. I saw her live at The City Winery Nashville a couple months back, and she is hysterically funny and wonderful to listen to/watch. She set a great mood during her show and had some wonderful, real life stories to share with us. I’m always curious to watch and take notes on how a show-man-woman-person puts on a show and engages their audience. Her whole presentation was raw, real, and inviting. I loved it.

Current and trendy..
Interestingly enough in the Blues genre, it can go either way. What is “trendy” in a closely –guarded, historically defined genre that some people want to “own” for themselves? J There are the old-guard purists who think you should play Blues a certain way, (which to me is an oxymoron, considering its roots and intention as a genre,) and Blues-fusionists who think just about anything is Blues. It’s sometimes hard to reconcile what exactly is Blues, so what exactly is trendy? There are certain recognizable features, like the 1-4-5 chord progression, or a particular shuffle or grinder rhythm, repetition of lyrics, stop verses, lack of a bridge, some sort of lament or expression of angst in the message, but there also exceptions to any of these “rules.” Blues is a unique genre. I note and appreciate thoroughly that I can be accepted and revered as a Blues artist despite my age, clothing style, looks, weight, or skin color. In my experience, Blues is meant to unify and uplift. Everyone experiences the Blues in life, and this music genre, as really all music is, is therapeutic. Nothing wrong with that as a trend. J Blues is personal, individual, and an expression of emotion, soul, and passion. I make musical decisions based on what needs to be expressed in me because I know it will resonate with another person – we all go through the same things. I don’t make musical decisions based on what I think people will like.

I am most afraid of…
coming to a point where I have to make a decision about quitting my day job for music. I have a mortgage and a cat. I have health insurance. I’m responsible for my survival, so for now, I am able to take care of myself well and self-fund my Blues career. I watch my road dog friends work SO incredibly hard to make it out there, one tour at a time, and they come off the road and have to find ways to survive and fit back in to the scene, and get that next tour. For now, I’m in a good place with balance in my different spheres of life. I’d love to do short tours next year. I’m pretty sure the only way I could do music full-time is to move to Europe or Asia where I could play shows all the time. They love American Blues artists! While that would be really cool, I’m not sure I’m cut out for the nomad life. Then, when that’s over, and I’m too old to do it, what then? Fear of the unknown, I guess, and then, if I never got the opportunity? Would music be just a “hobby” I’ve sunk all my free time and resources into for little payout/value? It’s something I think about a lot.

My personal definition of success is…
While I’ve had truly wonderful opportunities to play at very hot local venues with internationally recognized talent, my most revered musical moment was playing for a departed musician friend. I sang some of her material at her memorial jam. I felt her spirit around me when I sang that night, and something new, something of her, came out of me. It was a little eerie. I remember blurting aloud, bewildered, after one song, “That wasn’t me!?” When I was finished, an elderly friend of the departed approached me with a face-splitting, eye-shining grin and said to me, “You make everyone feel beautiful when you sing.” I tear up every time I remember that. That is what it’s all about. It’s about the connection you and I make when I sing. That night I was singing for our departed friend and for her friends, neighbors and family. It wasn’t a performance; it was a tribute and a mutual comfort to honor her memory. I was so glad it was received so wonderfully; it was really hard to do, emotionally. That, right there is success to me, being received positively by any one listener. I’m in it for that. Success to me is when you and I connect when I’m performing for you.

My overall goal for my life & career is…
to connect to and uplift as many listeners as I can.

3 Ways that I challenge myself

  1. Go to as many jams and shows as I am invited to, no matter how tired or sick I am, to be there for myself and for my musician friends.
  2. Vocal warm-ups/practice.
  3. Submitting for and saying yes to as many opportunities as I can uncover, despite perceived rejection.

Social Media
@carabeingblue (Twitter, Instagram, Periscope)