BMG Chrysalis artist Carly Robyn Green is one of those singer/songwriters that you instantly fall in love with the second you hear one of her tracks! Carly, originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, now lives in Los Angeles and has been compared by other media outlets as the “female version of Michael Bublé”.
Not only has Carly had over 80 songs featured in various television shows and films, but she sang on-stage with Cee-Lo Green at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
The Levity Ball just had to learn more about Carly and her incredible rise to fame & success…
Since I was seven years old!!! I vividly remember a second grade homework assignment to create a business card for myself, featuring what I wanted to “be” when I grew up. I designed a hot pink business card that said “C.G. The Singer!” This was before I officially began singing… But, I had always had a toy microphone in hand, since I could talk! In fact, I’ve been told that I overcame some stuttering issues I experienced as a toddler, by singing phrases out instead of speaking them. I fell asleep listening to music too, every night. So, when I created that hot pink business card that said “C.G. The Singer” – that’s when I knew. Maybe I was influenced by the car rides listening to the soft rock station, B101, back and forth to elementary school with my mom in Philadelphia… Maybe I was influenced by my dad’s obsession with Sinatra and The Beatles, or the silly songs he would make up and sing to me. Music has just always had a powerful presence in my life. And it was Russ Faith, my first vocal coach and mentor, who really shaped my musical vocabulary and taught me how “the business” works. He wrote songs for Streisand and Sinatra, plus big pop hits for 60s teen idols like Frankie Avalon. He was a huge influence on my musical taste growing up, and, there in Russ’ little studio in Northeast Philadelphia, I got my first glimpse into the music industry. Once I started formal training, it was just a matter of time before I enjoyed performing live in front of audiences, recording, and evoking strong emotions from my listeners.
What was the first song you ever remember singing? What is the first song you ever wrote?
Although I can admit that I don’t really “remember” this occasion, my parents swear that when I was about two years old, I grabbed the microphone at the piano at a classic Italian restaurant in South Philadelphia called D’Medici’s, and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to everyone dining there that night. I guess you could say that was my first live performance! The first song I ever professionally recorded was a cover of a Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do,” when I was eight years old. (That’s if you don’t count my Hershey Park theme-park studio recordings of New Kids on the Block hits I sang just for fun!) And then I wrote my first original song when I was also about eight years old… “Lightning Strikes the Moon.” That was followed by my second title, “Loose Tooth!” I can also remember the first CD I ever bought – Michael Bolton’s “Soul Provider” in 1989. I was six years old, and I loved “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” I also bought Whitney Houston’s first two records at that time – “Whitney Houston” and “Whitney.” I had no idea what the lyrics of these songs were about, but the melodies spoke to me! Similarly, my earliest “favorite” song to sing, whether it was practicing with my mom in the living room, or singing in camp talent shows in upstate NY, was Frank Wildhorn’s “When I Look at You,” from The Scarlet Pimpernel. I didn’t know it as a child, but eventually, Frank would become one of my most favorite collaborators!
Who were some of your musical role models growing up?
My musical role models were very diverse growing up… I always appreciated Celine Dion, Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, and even Heart, Judy Garland, Carol King, and Burt Bacharach… I loved the music of Jekyll & Hyde and Sunset Boulevard too. Not typical choices for an eight year old, I know! But as far back as I can remember, I was drawn to sweeping, emotional melodies. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I felt so connected to the music that I responded best – both emotionally and vocally – to the orchestrations of big, soaring ballads.
What has been the hardest thing you’ve gone through since getting into the music business?
The hardest challenge for me, since entering the music business, has been feeling accomplished or content at any given moment… With every achievement I achieve – be it singing at the Grammy Awards, recording a big television show theme song, or writing with iconic songwriters whose work I have adored since I was a child – I always feel like there is a great deal more to accomplish. For each step I take, I feel like there are ten more steps I aspire to take!
You’ve worked with many other musicians… Who have been some of your favorites?
The first time I sat in a room with the very songwriters whose music shaped me as a singer and songwriter, I pinched myself. Then, the second and third times I worked with them, I pinched myself again and again. Songwriters like Kenny Gamble, who wrote numerous hits for Dusty Springfield, Patti LaBelle, and The Jacksons… Amy Powers, who wrote “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and “With One Look,” recorded by Streisand… David Wolfert, who wrote “I Believe In You and Me” and numerous songs for Streisand… Allan Rich and Jud Friedman, who penned Oscar nominated songs like Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” for The Bodyguard soundtrack… Frank Wildhorn, who wrote Whitney’s seventh #1, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”… Jeff Silbar, who wrote Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”… Steve Dorff, who wrote Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years”… Rob Hyman, whose hits include Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”… Alex Geringas, who wrote Kelly Clarkson’s last single, “My Dark Side”… Guy Roche, who wrote “I Turn to You” for Christina Aguilera… Jeff Franzel, who wrote Taylor Dayne’s “Don’t Rush Me”… Classic, classic, classic writers. These writers, among so many others who wrote hits for Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, and Trisha Yearwood, are my favorite collaborators. To this day, I’m still inspired by them, still learning from them, and still growing as an artist and writer because of them. When their melodies and lyrics can be as impactful to listeners today as they were twenty or thirty years ago, that is the epitome of timelessness to which I aspire. What do you feel sets your sound/music apart from others? My music modernizes the classic “love song.” The wedding song. The song that marks special occasions in women’s lives. Some listeners liken me to a modern day version of old-school Natalie Cole, especially in songs like “WHAT LOVE IS ALL ABOUT,” “JUST AN ORDINARY SUNDAY,” and “HAS ANYBODY WRITTEN YOU A LOVE SONG.” So, in my new record, you’ll hear influences from my Philly days when I worked closely with the legendary Kenny Gamble… The iconic 70’s strings, distinctive horns, and soulful vocals… Then you’ll also hear the soaring and emotional qualities of classic A/C artists like Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban, plus hints of influences from artists like Alicia Keys and Lara Fabian. It’s a collection of songs that fuse classic melodies and retro styles with new productions. The record takes you from the soulful seventies, to the wartime jazz era, to Ipanema… At the end of the day, these are songs with a timeless, lasting quality that spans decades. They are about love and womanhood – from wanting a relationship, to falling in love, to experiencing new love, to remembering lost love, to finding love again. It is a record with which women will identify at various stages in their adult lives… It’s a record that makes women feel. My co-writers and producers on the project have written for Streisand, #1 hits for Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Faith Hill, and Trisha Yearwood… It’s a dream team of co-writers whose music has withstood the test of time. So, overall, it’s a real hybrid of emotional, classic, timeless music – with a modern sensibility for today’s adult-contemporary audience.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
I see myself singing that major mega-ballad on B101 or KOST, and inspiring a six year old little girl in Philadelphia to beg her mom for singing lessons just like I did at that age. I see myself touring and collaborating with other artists in the A/C genre, like Josh Groban or Michael Buble… I see myself writing and recording that major motion picture end title song that makes people cry… And I see myself writing and recording the wedding song of the next twenty years!
What is your advice to others looking at getting into the music business?
As my dad always says, “show up.” Be there. Make the move. Say hello. The one and only person who can ever stop you, is yourself… It sounds cliche, but so many people I encounter never “make it” because they simply stand in their own way. I would also advise young musicians to set high goals and strive to achieve those goals with unwavering determination and perseverance. Be patient, because it does not “happen” overnight. And for that reason, I believe in the importance of an education to equip aspiring musicians with the tools they need to reach their goals and sustain success in the long term.
What would you like to be remembered for as a person? I want to sing and write music that touches women on an emotional level… Music that inspires them to find love, relates to them as they fall in love, lifts them when they lose love, and shares their joy of rediscovering love. If I can provide women with emotional songs they can identify with at the most special moments in their lives – songs with honest messages and personal meaning – songs they can listen to with their six year old daughters and with their sixty year old mothers… Then I’ve done my job!
If you could do a duet with one singer (dead or alive) who would it be?