Indigenous Singer-Songwriter Carsen Gray Explores Love and Loss on Her Debut Album ‘Misadventures’
August 25, 2023 BY Jason Currell
Today, Indigenous singer-songwriter Carsen Gray is proud to share her debut album Misadventures, out now via Nettwerk. The sixteen-song effort is a culmination of Carsen’s long road to acceptance and inner-peace. She wrestles with love and loss emerging stronger than ever. Her impassioned vocals take center stage amdist earthy, stripped-back instrumentals, revealing her true essence. Listen to Misadventures on all digital retailers (here).
“Sometimes you just have to believe that everything happens for a reason: the good, the bad, and the ugly,” reflects Carsen. “Behind every major victory, there are tales of heartbreak, loss, and failure. But, in many instances, those misadventures are the perfect storm of what’s needed to lead you to happier times and your successes. Trust that God had a plan for you and don’t get discouraged.”
WATCH & SHARE CARSEN GRAY – “WET SOCK” HERE:
50 miles off the coast of mainland British Columbia, you’ll find Haida Gwaii. This collection of islands serves as home to just shy of 5,000 residents who all contribute to its quiet magic. Seemingly removed from the rest of the world, yet intrinsically connected to its rawest essence, Carsen Gray calls this place home. Born of Haida Indigenous and mixed descent, the award-winning singer and songwriter commutes the peace of her surroundings into a soulful sound spiked with pop universality and a twist of local spirit.
Growing up in Haida Gwaii, Carsen’s mother recognized her talent early on. During a trip to Ontario at nine-years-old, she recorded for the first time. Immediately, mom called her uncle Bobby Taylor who not only fronted Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, but also famously discovered, mentored, and produced The Jackson 5’s 1969 debut, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, and the follow-up, ABC. Under Bobby’s wing, she performed around Vancouver. Among her fondest memories, he often sat down with her at the piano for hours on end, fostering her passion for gospel and soul.
Inspired by Motown icons as well as Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys, she cultivated a signature style of her own steeped in singer-songwriter tradition.
Turning heads, Carsen’s 2017 self-titled debut earned “Best New Artist” at SiriusXM’s Indigenous Music Awards, while 2018’s “Wanna See You” with JUNO Award-nominated DJ Shub received “Best Radio Single.” Along the way, she performed on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and at JunoFest. During 2020, her single “Sah ‘Laana” and its intimate accompanying music video caught the attention of Nettwerk Music Group, and she signed to the label. Her music has received high praise from media outlets like COMPLEX, Exclaim!, PopWrapped, and Cowboys & Indians Magazine who named Carsen a “Next Native American Star.”
Throughout 2021, she assembled her debut EP Each Moment (2022), with her husband, primary collaborator, and producer Joey Stylez. After their kids fell asleep, they often recorded late into the night. “The driving force is gratitude,” she explains. “At this point in my life, I’m in a really good place… I thought about all of the things I’m grateful for and what I’ve been blessed with for my family, for the life I’ve built, and the creative space I have. Being home in Haida Gwaii, I had the opportunity to create at a Zen pace. We’re all born with a God-given gift. I believe I found mine with music. The project is reflective, because I’m talking about God, my partner, love, and home.”
In 2022, Carsen followed Each Moment with the Notes to Self EP, a six-song collection that touches on mental health and self-love through lush acoustics, sparse arrangements, and angelic vocals. According to Carsen, “Giving my listeners something that resonates deeply or gives a sense of hope and peace is always the focus when creating my music.” Since then, Carsen has been busy working on new music, set for release later this year.
CARSEN GRAY IN THE PRESS…
“Her soulful voice crosses the genres of R&B, Pop and Folk—she’s proven that she isn’t limiting herself into any specific box. Her musical talents are tied together with the spirit of her culture and community…”
“…just unaffected talent and refreshing earnestness… the best soul-rebooting forest bathing with similarly healing musical accompaniment…”
— Cowboys & Indians Magazine
“Dreamy with echoes, this song creates sounds and a message that’ll make you believe could reach someone who has departed from this earth. Sung with gratitude, lovely and cathartic.”
– Americana Highways
“There are some artists in the world that can just soothe you, need it be through their voice, their music or a combination of both. Carsen Gray is one such artist.”
“…uplifting and organic songwriting style…”
— Dusty Organ
3. Heavens Touch
4. Long Overdue
6. Everything is Bless
7. In the Garden
8. Loud Love
9. Colours Like Yours
10. Let it Go
11. Wet Sock
12. Here with Me
14. back back
15. Each Moment
16. Cry to Me