After an emotive experience of moving from Cambrils, a city close to Tarragona in Catalonia to Los Angeles, Carly Gibert releases her new EP: Tabula Rasa. Embodying her exploration of self discovery and her subsequent struggles with what it means to be successful in the industry, the EP represents a reclamation of her musical direction, and finding power in being able to define the means of her own artistry. Utilising her ‘eras’ of different aesthetics, she finds the inspiration to create her own looks and direct her own music videos – harnessing her creative powers to push the boundaries of traditional musical artistry.
To start off, could you introduce yourself to anyone who may be unfamiliar?
Hi, I'm Carly Gibert, singer/songwriter from Cambrils. I grew up singing and listening to many different genres of music which I now like to incorporate in my own songs. The most important thing to me is being involved in the entire creative process; lyrics, melodies, vocal production, visuals, image... I just really enjoy everything audiovisual. Recording my own vocals and finding interesting harmonies is my favourite part about making music.
I know you began singing by producing covers, what inspired you initially to create your own music?
I actually wrote my first song at 8 years old, I obviously never recorded it or released it but I've always liked writing songs. I did start on social media posting covers though. At one point, I just got very tired of singing other people's songs, it didn't feel authentic, so I posted both covers and original songs for a while to kind of ‘make the transition’ without people questioning it. I always knew that I wanted to make music, I just needed some more experience before actually releasing anything.
You’ve just released your new EP, Tabula Rasa, that focuses upon your change in mentality. Are there any specific factors that helped you to change your thought processes in regards to your own life or artistic direction?
I feel like the reality I made up in my head didn't match the reality I was living in. I had a few months in the beginning of 2022 where I refused to leave my apartment. Nothing was working out. I missed my country, I missed my family and friends there, I missed feeling like a real person, if that makes sense. I lost my sense of self, I didn't even relate to my own music anymore, I was just releasing what I was allowed to release, which was better than nothing.
When I figured this out I got back in the studio and wrote seven out of the eight songs in the EP in a couple months.
You talk about your negative experiences in Los Angeles in your song Be Careful What You Wish For. How did your move to LA affect you and your music?
I moved to LA when I was 16, by myself. I got signed to a label and they gave me the opportunity to move there. My dreams came true, I'd wanted to live in LA since I can remember. That idea that I had in my head fell off very quickly though, since it was very far from the reality. And I still love LA, don't get me wrong, just not at that time of my life. I lived there for 4 years and I just recently moved back to my country, I'm 21 now.
I would be lying if I said I don't miss LA at times, my friends especially. I kind of grew up there, in a way, so it will always feel a little bit like home to me. What I'm the most thankful for is the opportunity that I was given, the people I was able to work with, the people that I met... I am who I am today because I decided to move across the world when I was 16 years old. I make the music that I make because I had the chance to be in a studio with some of the best musicians in the industry, people I've looked up to since I was a kid. I'm nothing but grateful, even though it was very tough at times, mentally.
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You also discuss your conflicting feelings about gaining popularity and fame. Do you believe it's had an overall positive effect on you as a person? Or has it become something that troubles you?
I don't think I have either of those things, I see them from a different standpoint. I write about my own experiences but I also write about what I see, I'm a very analytical person. I feel like a lot of artists see fame as the ultimate goal, myself included for a long time. Thankfully, I don't see it that way anymore. Of course, we all want to be successful, but what is success? I might have a different idea of it than you do.
Right now I'm not even close to where I want to be, this is only the beginning, but now that I've learnt what my priorities are it's really just a matter of time. I think that the most important thing is not giving up your integrity and having a very strong sense of self, as well as a strong support system, and everything will fall into place eventually.
How has working independently been for you? Do you think it's important for an artist to have complete control over their work?
It has its pros and cons, like everything. It's harder to make connections, to get playlist support, getting into music events... but it's very liberating being able to release the music that I want, when I want.
It's important to get to know yourself as an artist before you sign a deal, which I definitely didn't do. If you get thrown into studio sessions with fifty different producers and fifty different writers before exploring your own artistry, it's very easy to get lost in the process.
I always appreciate external input and I like writing with other people, as long as the song feels authentic to me. Generally though, I prefer writing all my lyrics.
Having control over your work is fundamental. What's the point of signing an artist if you're not going to let them be an artist? It's very frustrating having years worth of music and not being able to release it.
I know you value the visual elements of the EP as a piece of art, how did you gather inspiration for the visual components for each of the eight songs?
I knew from the beginning that I wanted each song to have visuals, but I honestly didn't think about it too much. Some videos are a lot more thought out than others. Wanna Be Her for example, zero thought, I just wanted the video to look cool and fun. I went to London for 2 days and shot the video there with my best friend from childhood. We literally just improvised the whole thing. I wanted to make videos because I love making videos. I love filming, editing, finding ways to make something completely normal look interesting. I shot the video of Figure It Out without leaving my house, only playing with a projector.
I think that the idea behind these visuals is ‘let's see what I can do with nothing,’ just to prove myself that I can really just do whatever I want. I'm also lucky to have really supportive and talented friends who have helped me with a lot of the visuals. It would've been very hard to do it on my own. Knowing that I have people who are willing to help because they believe in what I do is something that I really appreciate.
What does the process of producing your own music videos look like? How do you find it?
It's been harder than I thought, I didn't think it was going to be this energy and time consuming. Most of the time I spend it editing and fixing things, if it's not my laptop it's the external disk, or my editing program, or the camera, it's a mission every day. It's definitely teaching me patience. I've shot a big part of the videos with my friends, so that's usually the fun part.
How would you describe your personal aesthetic, is it something you incorporate into all of your work? Or would you say that it’s interchangeable depending on the project?
I feel like there are some elements that tie in all my ‘eras,’ and it was actually unintentional. I was thinking about this the other day. For example, the artwork of Lavish has a similar vibe to the artwork of Tabula Rasa and also LSD, which also happens to have a circle, and circles are a huge part of the visuals of Tabula Rasa. I guess that my taste just doesn't change, it evolves if anything. I would describe it as kind of moody, with a darker color palette, a little bit vintage.
Are there any artists who inspired your sound, or that you would like to collaborate with?
Beyoncé has been my favourite artist since I was a kid, so she's definitely a big inspiration for me. I would say that Frank Ocean has also inspired my music, Ye in a way, Mac Miller, Yebba even. I would love to collaborate with Pharrell someday... but who wouldn't. Also Kali Uchis, Little Simz, Noname, Tinashe... There's too many people I want to work with.
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