Carson Hill remembers the first time she ever put pen to paper to compose a song. “When I was eleven, I wrote this really cheesy song for my sister after she had a break up. I remember her being really upset. She was starting to cry a little, so I got my guitar out, and went to another room. I wrote this really goofy song that was terrible. I came back into the room and sang the song for her. I was getting her to laugh and sing along. That was the first song I wrote.”
She jokes that she has tried to forget the song – which didn’t even have a title, but she feels her writing has improved by leaps and bounds since then.
“As I got older, I realized I don’t have to just write about the things I am going through. I can write about other people’s experiences, even though I might not have been through it myself. I have a lot of friends who have lost parents or family members at a young age. So, I started writing songs to cheer people up. One of the things I am most proud of is that I don’t write a lot of sad songs. I’ll write songs to make people feel better. I think as I did that, my songwriting started to get more mature. I was writing about many things, and not just relationships and love.”
Hill has worked hard at refining her talent – as both a writer and an artist since her earliest memories of singing on the way to school in North Carolina.
“My mom, my sister, and I would always sing on the way to school. She was a schoolteacher, so we would have to leave early in the morning to drive to school, and we’d sing. Then, we’d sing on the way home. My mom’s side of the family loves to sing. I grew up around people singing and harmonizing.”
What was Hill being influenced by? As it turns out, a little bit of everything. She remembers listening to the local Christian Music station on those drives into school, as well as rock and roll classics by acts like The Steve Miller Band. She has her father to thank for the tinge of Country in her sound.
“I remember listening to a lot of Garth Brooks. My dad is a huge fan. Every time we would go somewhere, dad would stick in a Garth Brooks CD. All of our trips to the mountains included Garth’s music, with Dad singing along. He is probably one of my biggest heroes.”
It’s the never say die stories of artists like Garth that have inspired Carson on her career path. “I fell in love with the fact that somebody could dream like he did, and could be from a small town, and it didn’t really matter. If you worked hard enough to do it, you could. I admired the fact that he got up on that stage, entertained people, and he had fun, but also changed a lot of lives while doing it. I think that sparked something in me that made me want to do that too.”
Carson has known what she wanted to do since one of her first major musical performances. As is the case with a lot of artists, it came in Church. At the age of four, Hill delivered a solo of “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” and that was the moment she remembers being bitten by the musical bug. “I think I just really loved the attention,” she recalled, adding “I don’t know how I remembered all the words.”
She started playing the piano in first grade. Then, came the guitar. She took a do-it-yourself approach to learning the instrument. “I started playing guitar when I was eleven. Actually my Mom taught me a little bit when I was eight, but I was too young to really take any interest in it because I couldn’t sit still. I picked it back up when I was eleven. I was so determined. One night, I learned a song off YouTube. I went up to my dad who was watching TV and I played him the song. He asked me to play it again. I think it shocked everyone that I learned to play by myself. That’s when I really started to take off on it. I would practice for hours in my room and learn a bunch of new songs. I would spend every day doing that.” Since then, Carson has added the ukulele and mandolin to her repertoire.
She is grateful for the feeling that being on stage gives her. “I have always been kind of shy. If I don’t know you, and I am just meeting you, I always kind of hold back. When I step on stage, I think the outgoing side of me comes out more. I come out of my shell and I have more confidence. I think it makes me a better performer.”
She has recorded two EP’s of original material that are only available at live shows.
Carson has been featured on some very prominent stages from the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville to the Double Door Inn in Charlotte. She has also opened for singer-songwriter Edwin McCain and performed in front of thousands for Feld Motor Sports Monster Jams in arenas in her home state.
Many have become aware of Carson’s talent. One such person was Blind Melon’s Brad Smith, who produced her first two cuts and latest single “Under the Skin” which is now available on iTunes. Carson stayed with Brad and his family in Los Angeles while recording her latest two singles. The soft rock production, with a hint of southern flare, speaks volumes on how far she has evolved with her musical style.
People have started taking notice of Carson’s single “Under the Skin”. The official music video was featured on People.com. The video featured Carson’s own friends and family and caught the attention of many with her meaningful lyrics and positive message to girls. She hopes to help girls who are struggling with issues of self-image; something she has experienced as well.
When asked to get specific about her dreams, she smiles and says, “I wouldn’t mind touring. That’s my biggest goal. I live for performing and I’ve always wanted to see the world with my music. Long term, I wouldn’t mind being known for songwriting. I would love to be known for entertaining and putting on a good show. However, I just hope I can make a good living off of my music, and that I can share it with other people.”
Making music and memories that touch lives. That’s Carson Hill!