Carmen Rodgers accompanied by Zo! played two sold-out shows Saturday night, at an intimate and raw music production venue, 800 East Studios, in the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Audience’s former favorites were clear as applause, beat-marking, and singing often began at the very first notes of Carmen’s songs, but the crowd easily settled into the grooves of new tunes fresh from Carmen’s recent release, Stargazer.
In a tight space that put near total focus on the delicate croonings and passionate outpourings from Ms. Rodgers, efficient room was made for the adept backing band and of course, the grand piano. Zo! teased sweetness out of the ebonies and the ivories and crowd-pleased with his rap interludes.
Carmen commanded a range of moods with her song list, some of which inspired a notable temperature rise in the room. After one of her more shall we say inspiring offerings, she noted she’d clearly have to do a show sometime that was all [romantic] songs. That ember-stoking idea went over extremely well. There’s at least a handful of her songs that are definitely making it onto –you know– that playlist.
Artist Interview | Carmen Rodgers
What was the first album that you added to your music library?
The first album I got with my own money: Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys and the debut album of Take 6. The Beastie Boys had me at Paul Revere and Take 6 sounded as though they were from another planet. I’d never heard anything like it and I had to get it. I actually bought them both on vinyl.
What was your most recent addition to your music library?
I’ve gotten into all things funk lately. Lots of Parliament, Funkadelic, Sly, Ohio Players, Bootsy, etc. Some of the best musicianship in history… and crazy sexy.
What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
My first live show experience was Take 6 at The University of North Texas. I was in junior high and my friend Joe Diaz took me. We were both such fans. He found about it, got tickets and his dad took us. One of my most memorable nights. So many of my friends had their first experience with one of the Jacksons, or Prince or one of the heavy hitters in R&B.
But mine was THE acapella group Take 6, who helped create a new sound for Gospel and still influence both Gospel AND R&B to this day.
If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
That’s tough. I’m such a fan of music, and multiple genres, that it’s hard to choose one. But since I must, I would say Stevie Wonder’s “Fullfillingness’ First Finale.” It’s quietly one of his best (and one of my favorite) works. More somber, spiritual, conscientious and reflective but still had your classic Stevie love songs. It’s such a beautiful project to me and I believe not spoken of nearly enough when we mention Stevie Wonder’s catalog.
What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
I’d have to say Sly and The Family Stone. He had a couple of hits that end up in commercials and movies often, but I don’t know if he is recognized enough as a brilliant singer and musician. Like, he could really sing. And you wouldn’t have Prince, D’Angelo or Bilal without Sly.