The Optimism of a Gardener: An Interview with Kristin Carter

by - April 16, 2024

Photo courtesy of Liz Rosa Photography

“There is a quiet magic in a sun-soaked garden.”

Kristin Carter finds that tending to a garden inspires optimism. It may not come out as it was first envisioned, but by providing tender care and trusting the process, the end result is gratifying.

The same can be said for her music. Trusting the process is how her debut album, Full Bloom, came to be her non-floral garden.

“With all my different creative pieces involved with Full Bloom, I just thought of it as my creative garden,” she said. “All the different seeds I was nurturing and hoping would come to life.”

Much like her home garden, these 12 songs were a bit tricky at the start. Creating music has always been the way that Carter expresses her emotions. Her songwriting can be extremely vulnerable, and these songs were no exception.

“I struggle with letting people in on the day-to-day and so for me music is really the only way that I feel comfortable and confident doing it,” she said. “The way that I like to go about it is try and first get out a version of it that’s very personal to me and personal to my experiences directly. Then I try to craft it in a way that’s more resonant for people generally speaking. I think sometimes if it’s my opinion for myself and it’s too close to my own experience, then it really reflects me and maybe me alone, but if it’s a little bit broader then I think it can hopefully feel and connect with others and draw other people in based on their own experiences.”

The songs were pretty much written around the concept of “full bloom”: the elation of physical chemistry (“Euphoria”), the spiral of self-doubt (“Break”), the conversations we struggle to have (“The Waltz”), the complex and confusing realities for women (“Kintsugi”), joyful female empowerment (“Hey Woman!”), quiet moments of love (“Love You Forever”), the quest for vitality (“Alive”), slow-paced indulgence (“Lazy Sunday”), unrequited love (“I’m the One”), personal resilience (“I’m Still Here”), loss and grief (“Your Side of the Blue”), and the gratitude of relationships and human connection (“Good People Good Wine”).

The two lead singles, “I’m Still Here” and “Euphoria”, came as both a surprise and a natural progression. Carter had no doubt she wanted to release “Euphoria” as a single, but “I’m Still Here” hadn’t crossed her mind until multiple friends showed admiration for it when getting an advance listen to the album in its entirety.

“All are necessary - for a garden of only one kind of flower, wouldn’t be a garden at all.”

Full Bloom is incredibly visual to Carter, so she found that not only did these songs have themes but also had flowers that represented those themes. A song like “Break”, felt like a rose; beautiful to behold yet covered in thorns. The way flowers move and grow inspired Carter to craft her different feelings and experiences into fully formed lyrics and melodies.

This was the first time Carter also stepped into a producer role with help from longtime collaborator Marcus Ramsay. Although the technical aspect can be a daunting task, she said that the most challenging part was having the confidence and comfortability to take on the role. From recording her own vocals at home to re-recording studio vocals, it was a lot of responsibility. It makes her all the more proud of the end result.

The intent was also that listeners will find different layers as they process each track. Each relisten may reveal a new line or theme that wasn’t caught the first time around.

“My hope is that each time you listen, it will be different - you’ll hear things in a different glow of light that make them new all over again; the first and the last time you’ll ever hear it that way.”


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