Libro Musica Presents: Kara Kole at The Red Light Cafe

Soulful singer song-writer Kara Kole performed tonight as part of the Libro Musica Presents event at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta.  Other artists performing tonight included Truett and Dreambrother. Each of these artists have their own personal style of blues, soul or rock music.

Kara Kole made the trek from Nashville to perform on tonight’s show as part of her first tour outside of Nashville.  Despite being plagued by van troubles and the nightmare that is Atlanta traffic Kara Kole put on a memorable debut performance in Atlanta.  Her voice and thoughtful lyrics on her original songs, that she describes as “retro vintage soulful pop”, were a pleasure to hear.  Her love for classic soul music came through in each of her covers.   I must admit that she surprised me tonight with her cover of Childish Gambino’s Redbone as she reminded us all to “Stay Woke”.  Experiencing live on the road and the energy from audiences like the one tonight, I expect to see her stage presence grow even more as she lives her dream to be a touring musician.

Be on the lookout for original music from Kara Kole this summer.  In July she will be releasing a video for the title track for her upcoming EP Day Old Love in July.  The EP is set for release in August which will be in conjunction with an album release show in her home town, Jaksonville, FL.  Day Old Love will include five original songs and one cover.  The songs will be a mix of something funky, soulful and pop.

Q&A With Kara Kole

Thanks for sharing some time with me today.  Let’s start with some details on how you were influenced by music at an early age.
My grandpa is a musician and playing with him is where my interest to become a musician came from.  I was playing with him at the local opry at the age of twelve and sang “I Will Always Love You” and “Crazy”  by Patsy Cline. I got a standing ovation and at the point that happened I didn’t even know what a standing O’ was.  So that’s how I was introduced to music and live performing, through my grandpa.

Growing up, my dad was a classic rock fan. I remember being in the car with him and we would listen to the classic rock station constantly.  Being from Jacksonville we were huge Lynrd Skynrd fans!  My mom listened to a lot of worship and Christian music. Throughout high school I use to sing in my church band.  So there was really a set of eclectic styles of music that have influenced me over the years.

I took a liking to Alicia Keys, Etta James and Christina Aguilera when I was about 10 and dove into that genre.  I love soul so much.  It is music like this that has such an influence on my writing and my style of singing.

How did you decide to attend Belmont University?

When I was 17 I was offered the opportunity work with some of the A listers that made records for people like Reba McIntyre, George Jones and Kenny Dudney.  I got the chance to work with a guy named Norro Wilson who had been retired for about a decade but he made the decision to come out of retirement to do my EP.  Once I saw Nashville I thought “This is it.  I love this town!”  Belmont was the only school that I applied to. I got into the music business program to develop my smarts in the business profession.  I am a firm believer that it is equally as important to have a business mind as it is to have great vocals and lyrics to succeed as a musician. For me attending Belmont was a no brainer.

As an emerging artist, what is your plan for your career?
I want to get to the point in my career where I am a full time musician.  I don’t need to be a millionaire or achieve super star status but want to be a touring musician here in the States and throughout Europe.  I would be satisfied with performing on the stage, sharing my music and connecting with my audience every night.  I’m open to any success that will come my way.

I’m taking the building blocks and putting them into place.  I’m kicking off my first tour of venues outside of Nashville.  The goal with the tour is to start building a following in these regions and work my way to bigger venues.  Making my record right now I’m trying to find my sound and to make something unique.  I’m trying to be the best version of myself as a singer song-writer and continue to grow as as an artist.

Kara Kole “Woman”

You have been touring since the age of 14, had a college experience and are now performing as an adult. How has each of these stages in your career prepared you for the next?
Each stage in your career is a building block.  I believe that I to be proud of myself for each advancement that I make.  I have learned that working hard toward my goals can really pay off.  You have to have more than the talent in this town, it’s saturated.  To succeed you have to put in the work that the next performer isn’t doing to stand out from the crowd.

I have also learned to be authentic. I have had the most success when I am my true self as an artist.  I have learned the value of not trying to make myself into someone that I am not.  There is a market out there for every type of music.

Another lesson learned is how vitally important it is to have a good team around you. Trying to take it on all by yourself can be too overwhelming and often times makes causes me to take a step back and loose progress.

Any recommendations for your 14 year old self that you wish someone gave to you?
YES!  Stay true to who you are and also take criticism with a grain of salt.  Use discernment with whose advice you take when it comes to your art.  A lot of people have opinions but you have to make sure the people you are listening to are truly your friends and have your best interest at heart.

On your tumblr account you share a little bit about “being yourself” in contrast to trying to meet the expectations of others.  How are you manifesting this these days and what advice do you have for other women when faced with expectations from others?
I believe we all need to see the value in ourselves.  No matter where you may be, as long as you are kind, giving and truly care about the people around you, you can’t go wrong.  If you are nurturing yourself and the ones around you that you love then you will succeed in life.

Since I can recall, I listened to everyone around me about who I should be. Whether it was their sharp-as-knives words saying, “you should be less sensitive,” or “lose some baby fat and the boys will like you,” or “stop being so curious and just go with the flow,” I believed them. I took their words as truth. I joined in a tug-of-war between other people’s opinions of who I should be and my desire to be who I was made to be. I thought their opinions of me actually they really knew me, much less cared, what happened to me. – Kara Kole

Kara Kole “Redbone” a Childish Gambino Cover

What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
The Diary of Alicia Keys.  I signed up for this service that would send you random CD’s.  I can’t even remember who’s credit card I used.  I was obsessed with her ever since.

What was your most recent addition to your personal music library?
Dynamo‘s CELINA.  They are a Nashville based band with a jazzy funk sound.

What was your first live music experience? 
The John Mayer 2008 Continuum Tour.

If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
Etta James Rocks the House she is so good!

What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
Lianne LaHavas

Red Light Cafe

Red Light Cafe is a venue that you should add to your list of places for music.  Right in the heart of Atlanta, right next to Piedmont Park, this is a great venue that focuses on the music.  Check out their event calendar and I’m sure you will find something to enjoy real soon.