“Loving Jesus is like honey. Until you’ve tasted it, you don’t know what it’s like. I want people to see that I’ve tasted it and they can taste it too.” Although 19-year-old Carmen Brandy's music does not fall into the contemporary Christian genre, she sees music as her ministry. She wants to use her songs to bring hope and healing to others, especially young women her age.
Carmen (whose dad is a musician) was raised on music by Keith Green, the Beach Boys, and the BeeGees. She jokes, “I listened to lots of high-pitched voices growing up!” She began classical piano lessons at age nine, but traded that in for guitar soon after. She has been singing and writing her own songs ever since.
In her early teens, she felt a calling on her life to move to Nashville to pursue a music career. “There were multiple facets of our life in Florida that were deteriorating, and I think it was kind of the Lord’s sign.” So the family headed north to Tennessee and settled in Franklin, just south of Music City.
A lot of doors opened for Carmen, and she had the opportunity to work with numerous publishers and release her first single, We Don’t Need Money to radio. Full of ambition, she finished high school in three years and was doing nearly 100 shows a year, on the road with her mom Kari as her “momager.”
“And then in my freshman year of college I just had a very difficult semester, and a very difficult year in general.” Carmen experienced some personal trauma, and also developed mono. “It was a year of silence for me; my heart was penning everything but I couldn’t sit down and write because I was physically unable to sing.” After months of counseling and physical therapy for her voice, Carmen is once again singing a happy tune.
“All that silence has brewed so many new songs, so many things that I’ve wanted to say, and now I’ve found people who are helping me to develop that.” One of those people is Ryan Poole, who is producing her next single. Another is Jake Anderson, whom Carmen feels comfortable co-writing with “because I’m not afraid to cry in front of him!” Together they wrote Good Enough, a folk/pop song about validation and God’s grace. “My worth isn’t dependent upon if my family or people around me love me. It’s solely dependent upon this unconditional love I receive from my Heavenly Father.”
Carmen hopes her song will also resonate with those who don’t share her Christian faith. She wants to encourage people who struggle with feeling like they don’t measure up -- whether it’s to their own expectations or other people’s. Her chorus lyric says, “Every time that I look back on what I did / All my GOOD ENOUGH never is.”
Check out the video below to hear more about Good Enough, which is slated for release in July, and see inside the vintage Welcome to 1979 studio.
On another note, Carmen graduated with an Associates Degree last month, and will start on-line classes towards a Bachelors Degree in Communications in August. Carmen loves college now, especially her English and writing classes. However, she says the most important lesson she has learned is to be genuine and honest. “As long as you are true to yourself and you’re doing it in an authentic, professional way, I don’t see how an individual can’t achieve success.”
Carmen hopes her single will spark interest from a record label; she has enough material for a full album. In the meantime, she will also continue to write her lifestyle blog, Six String Stories, where she discusses issues she has struggled with as well as lighter topics such as fashion, beauty, and cooking. “I try to encourage with each and every word that I post. I touch on a lot of spiritual topics, and then the not so spiritual topics like what to wear in the summer!”
“All I want to do is encourage people with the truth that they have a calling on their life, and all they have to do is step into it.”
For more information or to connect on social media, go to www.CarmenBrandy.com.
Fun Facts and Trivia
Carmen has an Australian Shepherd named Presley
Place to eat: Otaku Ramen
Movie: The Notebook
Way to chill: hike; sit in nature with a blanket, guitar, and snack
Place to chill: The Park at Harlinsdale Farm (Franklin)
Bands: Lord Huron, Lumineers, The Paper Kites
Written by Laurel Moore