20 Oct 2021

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Carla Werner


With the arrival of 'Departure', her long-awaited debut album on Columbia Records, singer-songwriter Carla Werner comes into her own as an artist with her first full-length collection of original music. Fulfilling the early promise she'd shown as an award-winning vocal prodigy in her native New Zealand in the mid-1980's, Carla emerges as a singer of uncanny power and great subtlety whose creative sensibility draws on life's spiritual, emotional, philosophic and psychological realities. 'Departure' is the kind of listening experience that offers greater, deeper, and richer rewards upon each revisit.

Recorded with four producers on three continents over two years, 'Departure' represents the artistic coming-of-age of Carla Werner, and articulating her vision.

Growing up, Carla was exposed to a lot of music. Her father "had a really good record collection: Bob Marley, Neil Young, The Eagles, Abba, bits and pieces of everything" while his father, Carla's grandfather, played in a band and, nearing his 80's, "still writes and demos". Her mother's side of the family features many singers, though "none of them pursued it professionally." Her upbringing would often be filled with impromptu musical parties, with guitar music and singing.

"I was always singing around the house. I would go and grab something - shampoo bottles, the beads in the doorway - and mimic a microphone as I'd sing along to records." (A hidden track on 'Departure' is an audio snapshot of a 5-year-old Carla signing a song of her own creation in the shower.)

While still in her early teens, she relocated to Australia and continued to sing in competitions until she grew disinterested in competing within music. "I'd given up music at 16," she confesses. "I'd done it for so long and I couldn't handle the competition aspect. Music had to be on my own terms. I wanted to come back in a different form."

At the age of 19, Carla decided to move permanently to Sydney in order to "get back to music. It was the first time I'd lived in a city, it was a great source of inspiration."

Carla is mostly inspired by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Phoebe Snow, Bob Marley, The Pretenders, Nick Drake, PJ Harvey, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, among many others she classes as equally inspiring.

Meeting producer John Holbrook (Natalie Merchant, Fountains of Wayne) in 1999, Carla began planting the seeds for what would eventually evolve into 'Departure' working with Holbrook on the track 'Iodine Red'. Signing with Engine Room Music, her first record deal, in 2000, Carla was introduced to producer/programmer Carmen Rizzo (Alanis Morissette, Paul Oakenfold) with whom she would eventually record the tracks 'Love You Out', 'Enough', 'Departure', and 'Crimson & Gold' in Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles. Further tracks were recorded in Australia with long time collaborator Lucius Borich for the tracks Under and Like Mercury.

With almost-an-album's worth of recordings as a calling card, Carla flew to London, New York and Los Angeles to begin meeting with record companies. While in New York, Carla ambled into the offices of Columbia Records, where an impromptu performance for the company's president led to her first major-label contract in 2001. It was time to collect Carla's songs and recordings and complete the album.

A fan of producer Ken Nelson's work with Coldplay and Kings of Convenience, Carla flew to Liverpool to work with Nelson, who produced 'Heaven Is A Word', 'Wanderlust', 'Make It Up' and 'Even A River'. With all tracks getting a final mixdown from Ken Nelson and Danton Supple at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, Departure shimmers with consistency and depth, each song contributing to a mesmerizing totality.

With 'Departure', Carla Werner offers the listener an intimate self-portrait of an individual, discovering the power of self and sound.




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