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Real Life Stories
By: Wesley Sinclair
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We get up close and personal with the man whose beautiful music soothes your soul.

He has worked with Grammy Award winners Tony Rich, Joe Rich, and Peter Moore in various aspects. In 2004, he sang background vocals in Tony Rich’s Live DVD recording. During his early years in Atlanta, he worked with an unknown Pink while she was a member of the girl group Choice, writing songs and providing musical direction. If you enjoy soul and R&B or can remember when love songs actually put you in the mood for love, Carmichael is a definite must-have in your collection. Fantasy Rain is the title of Carmichael’s third independent CD. His music will make you feel like you are immersed in warm silk on the most perfect day of the year.

You first discovered music by playing your little sister's Casio keyboard as a teenager in Birmingham, AL. What encouraged you to pick it up and start playing?
I have always been an inquisitive kid and always took things apart (mischievous laughter). I played with my sister's keyboard which started as a past time, and soon rapidly became an addiction. From that point onwards - I started to grow and develop my style as an artist. Also growing up as a kid, I woke up every morning to my dad blaring tracks of artist like Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

You also attended a school lip-sync contest?
That was my freshman year in college I was a very shy kid and preferred to sing on my own and didn't like to standing out in a crowd (DS comments - 'you can't escape that now', CM: Tell me about it, but now I love performing).Anyway, I saw an ad for a lip sync contest and the theme was Johnny Gill. I began to lip sync over the track of the song and it was there a judge heard me and he recruited me. That was how I started my career as a soloist in a college choir. Soon afterwards, I gave up sports to sing in several university sponsored choirs.

Were you nervous about that?
Extremely nervous - I had a very big issue with having the spot light on me so to speak.

Would you describe yourself as a competitive person?
Yes, I'm a very competitive person - my background is athletics. I didn't start singing seriously until I was a freshman in college. All my life, and as a kid I was into sports you name it - baseball, track, football - I was very athletic. Whatever I could do to keep me active I always did because I was always hyper (pauses and laughs) my mum always used to say that I needed to stay active.

So your mum insisted you stay busy all the time?
Yes she also made sure I stayed outside until It gets dark (a full belly laugh ensues).

What does Carmichael do to unwind and chilax (means- chill and relax)?
Well music - that is my reality - it's my life - it's my passion. Music takes me away from everything. It is my vocation - when I get into a zone, it's down to my music. For me, relaxing involves melody writing and constructing songs. Whenever I have time to relax - then it's all about creating new material.

You grew up in a strict Jehovas Witness family. How did your family take it when they first discovered how serious you were about music, and what was their reaction to you dropping out of school?
Well it was a big shock as our religion is very serious and uniformed there is no soloist - so to speak - they act as one. So when my mum found out I wanted to do my own thing she thought I was rebelling. This was because I would sneak off to go sing in clubs and other engagements, but really all it was - was that I had I began to discover that we were all born for a specific purpose - I wasn't born to be anyone but me. I was becoming a man, I had my own colours and my own purpose. My mum soon realised that I wasn't rebelling, I was just blossoming into an adult that knew his purpose in life. She eventually understood this and soon enough became my biggest supporter just before I signed my first deal with super Producer Manual Seal of So So Def Records and left for Atlanta.

When we did our research we discovered that you've amicably split with Def Records and you are now doing your thing independently. So far you've produced three independent albums - "You can't break me 2003" and "All about love 2008".Your latest offering 'Fantasy Rain' a double disk has just been released here in the UK and overseas. Which track would you say was your favourite and why?
My favourite track has to be 'Angel in the sky'. Because I don't write with a pen and paper I visualise an idea and then put down lyrics for it. Angel in the sky was given to me by a good friend of mine who sadly has passed now. He always gave me good songs, but when he gave me this song Angel - it blew me away. I wouldn't have thought it would have been his last song and after he died it became my most intimate song.

Since your career took off, you have visited various places performing. What venue or place stands out the most for you, and why?
The most significant has to be London, as it allowed me to be recognised. Major record labels send US artists to London to see if they are worthy of recognition in the US. I received a great response and ever since I have been recognised here in London, I have had an overwhelming response in the US - as I have been booked in all the major cities and that's all down to the love I have received in London. This is the main reason why I decided to return to the UK to celebrate my birthday and have my release party - to return the love that I have been given.

So an American Artists performance and reception in the UK is an indicator of how successful they will be in the US?
Yes, and in the UK the listeners are very consistent as far knowing what they want, in the US they are very contemporary - for example - you have artists like Chris Brown so when that style is hot - that is what is in for the moment. During this time you don't hear a lot of old school soul / RnB so it fluctuates - you have to be in the season to be hot. I find in the UK if you are good, the listeners certify you and you will be marketable both here as well as the US.

You've had a whirlwind trip here in the UK in the space of 4 days, you were on Choice FM, Solar Radio, Bang Radio, Colourful Radio and Lightning 90.8FM, an album launch for Fantasy Rain, and also recorded tracks for your new project- a duets album with Artists from the UK and USA . Where do you find the time and energy to fit all this in?
(Soft chuckles). It's hard - but as I said, music is my passion. So anything that has to do with it [his music] sustains me. I rarely get tired from promotions etc and I totally enjoy it. I see myself as lucky as there are upcoming artists out there who haven't got theopportunities or lucky breaks that I've had. I also have good management behind me that know when to put the breaks on if needed. Its good to keep the momentum going, when I get back to the States tomorrow - it's straight back on the road as I've got performances booked in most major cities.

Would you prefer to go more mainstream or continue with the music you are doing right now?
I will continue and prefer to do what I am doing right now. I would rather stick to real music which is timeless and to me is more relevant.

Currently working on a duet album called entitled Eternally featuring Nadine Charles (nadinecharles.blogspot.com), he is also working on some Funky House remixes and writing with some of Britain’s finest upcoming artists, Chidi, Brooke Bailey, Bashiyra and Floetic Lara, at the minute. To watch his video and listen to one of his tracks, go to our website: www.divascribe.com. ds

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