Carissa Kimbell has had a week.
The Nelson singer gave birth to her first child on July 9. Eight days later she released her debut album Like Water, which she began writing three years ago.
She initially intended to release the album one song at a time, but ended up deciding to “birth the album” as close as she could to her due date.
“It just seemed very fitting given the roots of my approach to music and the symbolism of it,” says Kimbell. “I haven’t had much time to spend on promoting it, but it still feels right.”
Kimbell’s six-song album is an understated retrospective on personal struggles.
Kimbell specialized in jazz during her four years of music education at Hamilton’s Mohawk College, but when she began work on Like Water she wanted to find her own voice.
She went to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017 and spent time reading about mythology and Joseph Campbell’s writing on the concept of the hero’s journey. What she found was firstly a desire to make an album for herself.
“It was more about creating music for the sake of creating music and what that role is and what story I was trying to tell and convey about my life’s journey, versus anything about writing something with the intention of people really liking it,” says Kimbell.
“Of course I want people to like it, but I couldn’t approach it from that perspective because it just sucks the life out of me.”
On ‘Where the Veil Falls,’ Kimbell croons “sure I’m afraid of the things I might face, but I’ll keep on dying” over a guitar melody that sounds similar to Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game.’
The song, which is about Kimbell’s own alcoholism, is not only an album highlight but also an answer to the questions Kimbell forced herself to ask.
“So part of that journey was confronting that and going to psychotherapy and quitting alcohol for a year and changing my relationship with it, and just how that completely transformed my life and what I thought I was capable of.”
Although Kimbell has been singing since she was a child, she’s also had to overcome stage fright. It’s not uncommon for singers, such as Adele, Cher and Barbra Steisand, to have bad nerves in front of an audience.
But Kimbell is looking forward to performing Like Water when the COVID-19 pandemic allows for it.
“As a singer it sucks to be on stage worrying about having to cough or not being able to sing at full capacity when performing, but it’s like a battle,” she says.
“It’s like my battle in life is to figure out how to perform the song that is inside of me in a way that each time I feel like I’m a hair closer to being fully expressed.”
Like Water is available on music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
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