A Conversation with Carson Barry

Anna Koppelman
Carson Barry strums her guitar to a sizeable crowd at the first night of Kohoutek. PC: Marisa Branco

Carson Barry is someone you’d want to go on a long car ride with. She’d leave the windows rolled down, let you eat in her car, and would never comment if you un-clipped your seat belt and let your feet swing onto the dashboard. She’s likable. She gets the joke before anyone else in the room does and has probably seen more of the world than you have, but she’d never be the one to announce this.

She’s secure enough in herself to simply sit, and to watch as her universe of people and things move. This ability to observe and to see the beauty of the reality in front of her for what it is, shows in her songs, which hum with all-knowing confidence.

There’s a hug to her voice, a certain comfort, that finds you as you listen to her music. In their tone and lyrics, her songs seem to whisper “it’s all going to be okay, you’re okay.” On her track “Sunday,” Carson sings,

“And the ocean hits me like she’s made of wine. And I’d let her break me if I had the time, but instead, I’m alright, we’re all fine, come over on Sunday because on Sunday…we can lie down between the Autumn trees and see everything as it seems.”

Carson’s music validates you. She’s exasperated by the pace of the week right alongside you, but as an artist, she has an ability to see from above, which lends her music to also give you the promise of hope— to let you believe that there’s a Sunday to come. A Sunday to be young, to feel joy and the air on your skin.

I sat down with Carson to talk about her creative process, her EP release, and how being at Pitzer College has affected and changed her work.

TOB: How would you describe your genre of music?

CB: Probably indie folk…

TOB: What pulls you to write this style of music?

CB: I think it’s just the music that I’ve loved and been affected by the most. I think it can have a really intimate sound.

TOB: What are those artists that have inspired you, and what’s the appeal of intimacy in music to you?

CB: I guess I just like music that puts me in a certain space, like emotionally or like in my mind. There’s a lot of artists who have done that. Big Thief is my favorite band right now. They just kind of describe a story. In song, they have this emotional change, and in lyric they are just so poetic and beautiful. The music itself just puts off an atmosphere. Haley Heynderickx is amazing, I like how she phrases things…when I listen to them (her songs)  I am left thinking about them and in a different mood for a little bit.

TOB: What compelled you to start playing music?

CB: I really wanted to learn how to play the harp because one of my favorite teachers played the harp but my parents wouldn’t buy me one because they are super expensive. So they got me guitar lessons. I also would, like,  scratch my fingers against my dad’s guitar strings, which just sounded really ugly so I think they also just wanted me to stop doing that. I think I just always listened to music with my family.

TOB: What made you keep playing though? Like what draws you to music as an outlet instead of so many other things?

CB: I don’t know. Sometimes I am just in a mood where the only thing I feel like doing is playing music. I don’t know. I guess it’s just become a habit at this point, like it just feels like the right thing to do. Like when I feel shaky I’ll just kind of play music and it will just allow me to reflect, puts me in a different mood. Yeah..it centers me a little bit.

TOB: How do you think being at Pitzer has affected your music?

CB: People have been so supportive here. Like all of my friends and everyone and that’s encouraged me to play out more. Like my friends at home knew I played music and they listen to stuff I do, but it wasn’t as integral to my identity within a friend group, but I feel like people here being so encouraging and so lovely about it has made me want to put more stuff out. And there’s a lot of really cool really motivated musicians here that motivate me to work harder and look into different genres and come up with new ideas, which is really cool.

TOB: Do you feel like this place has changed the topics you write about?

I feel like I write about things that are loosely about my life in a way, like sometimes I will just start writing and it won’t mean anything and then after a verse or two, I’ll be like oh it sounds like I’m kind of writing about this. And then I will reflect on that for a little bit and then continue writing about it–f that makes sense. I think things that have happened in my life this year and like last year definitely impact it, but like, Olivia [Langraph’22] was telling me this idea the other day that art requires a time of reflection, like if you write about it in the moment it’s too intense and if you write about something too far away you can’t relate to it. So I feel like there have been things that have happened a while ago that become the right time to reflect on now.

You can follow Carson Barry on Instagram @c_a_r_sun and find her on Spotify and Apple Music under the name “Carson Barry” Her latest album “Sunday,” is available now. You can find LYBL on Instagram @lyblrecordsA

Anna Koppelman PZ’22  is just a lone girl trying her hardest to make Nora Ephron proud. If you are looking for her, she’s probably either listening to the newest Vampire Weekend songs or promising one of her friends that she is about to start meditating again “really soon.”





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