Sep 07 2022
Indigenous alt-pop songwriter Carsen Gray shares the laid-back single, “Cry To Me,” from her new EP, Notes to Self. With a beachy acoustic guitar and breezy backbeat, Carsen sings shares a comforting message about love and commitment.
“The saying Tears of Joy really holds true in this song,” reflects Carsen. “I’m hoping this track will strike a note in the listener’s soul.”
Her messages of love and inclusivity have resonated with fans around the world. Cowboys & Indians Magazine profiled her in their ‘Next Native Artists’ feature and COMPLEX praised the way her music blends the spirit of her culture.
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 R&B energy, 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 equally steeped in singer-songwriter tradition and full-bodied R&B.
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.”