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INTERVIEW: Neshama Carlebach

Can you talk to us more about your single “Always With Me”?

“Always With Me” is a song about love and finding connection. So many of us carry a great deal of pain and burden; too many of us feel alone and powerless; too many of us have lost loved ones and don’t know where we belong. For me, “Always With Me” is a testament to human resilience and strength. We will cry and fall apart and grieve, but then we will get up, feel the love that is always there and find the way to rise again – together.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

This song is inspired by so many of my deepest relationships. My interesting and sometimes turbulent on and off relationship to God, the relationship I continue to try to build with my father in the next world, and my children and my husband in this one. It is inspired by the gratitude I carry inside for all of them, and for every moment. I always want my children to feel my love surrounding them, no matter where we are.

How have Amy Grant and Shania Twain influenced your sound on this track?

Amy Grant and Shania Twain have been great inspirations for me, both musically and spiritually. They carry their identities, their integrity and their beliefs into every level of their work and lives. I have been so uplifted by their life stories and individual journeys. Their light has shone brightly for me and I am unbelievably grateful to them for that gift.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes! Hopefully very soon! 🙂

The song comes off your new album Believe – what’s the story behind the title?

Like so many, it’s taken me a long time to believe in myself and in our world. I had to choose to believe, even when it felt there was no reason to. I had to work very hard to keep believing, despite it all. My singing is always purposeful in that way. I hope that that my voice and the heart that is absolutely within this music inspire others to believe as well. Or at least inspire them to consider the possibility. Both the title track and the recording are created with this prayer in mind.

Can you describe the recording and writing process?

This process was unlike any other professional experience I have ever had. We created music and worked on the material (some songs made it, some did not) for nearly six months before we began to record. And even after that, the arrangements were still being tweaked and tweaked again to find the best version. It was deliberate and powerful. After all that work, it feels like the songs now have lives of their own, and I am just so blessed to have been a part of the birthing process. The music came from the deepest depths and it feels so good to see people loving and receiving the songs now that the album is in the world.

How did your upbringing impact or influence the direction/themes in your music?

My father was a rabbi and singer who gave so much to his audiences and influenced me greatly. He brought forth amazing music and really uplifting messages to humanity about not being alone and finding the strength to love and make space for others. Finding solace, spirituality and prayer were the way of life, the way we related to each other and ourselves. Years ago, when he passed away quite suddenly, I accepted the shows he had booked for the next year. I cried through every one of them and then somehow found my own path back to this message. I was mourning and yet I knew I was somehow not alone. I was in pain, but knew I was in the world to bring joy, faith and love to others. It’s been many years since my career began, but this intention always stays with me. No matter what I am singing about, my song is a prayer.

What aspects of torment and hope did you get to explore on this record?

I believe that artists who are connected to themselves are always a glorious mixed bag of all their life experiences. This is the first recording I have created of original music that really reflects some of the deepest parts of my own story. On this recording, I was able to express strength, honesty and hope while not running away from this truth – that our world is beautifully broken and that we have a lot of work to do. The lyrics are aspirational but so am I. 😉 I really do believe in the power each of us holds, we can make a difference if we choose to. For me, the songs are all about that.

What made you want to touch on some of these darker themes?

We are living through a divisive and complicated time of history. We are seeing many of the bravest people rise up and scream for change and we are also seeing the most tragic, sad and dark parts of humanity. It is a time of confusion and clarity, a time of transition which requires more resilience and courage from us than almost ever before. This is also a new time in my own life, until now I have never really spoken my own truths out loud. My work on this record expresses pieces of all of this, again, always with the hope that those who hear it will find the strength to stand up and express that which is needed to be said.

How do you manage to balance the dark twists of recent years along with the much brighter and uplifting themes of your music?

I have been through a great deal in my life, but my children and my faith have always led me back to a place of deep hope. I know I’m not different than so many others in our beautiful, complicated world. We all fall down and then have to search for the reason to get up again. I believe that we were meant to shine and to fly. The pain is there to make us stronger and more determined.  Both the sorrow and the joy are with me all the time, and I know that comes through in my music. I pray that my striving to hold all parts of that pain and hope also brings others solace and hope.

Where else do you find the inspiration for your songs and lyrics? Are there other tracks that stand out to you?

I am inspired by absolutely everything and every person I meet and connect with. There are pieces of my life scattered across every song I have ever sung. The song “Hear our Prayer” is one my absolute favorites. My relationship with Pastor Milton Vann and our gospel Choir has been so important to my own growth as an Artist and as a human being.  When we sing for healing together, I can almost feel the wind change. It feels clear somehow that the universe is singing Amen with us.  Wishing others well and saying “Amen” to the prayers of all people are more essential than we probably realize. All too often, we feel isolated and defensive and suspicious. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could walk through the world knowing that others really wished us well? It would change everything.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! We are so excited to begin The Believe Tour starting this Fall!

What else is happening next in Neshama Carlebach’s world?

I got married for the second time last August. I married my best friend, I still can’t believe how lucky I am. I have two sons (8 and 12) and he has two daughters and a son (11, 13, and 17) so we don’t have much time alone but really we are still newlyweds! We will be travelling this summer and spending as much time together as possible, as I prepare to get back to my work and Touring. Visit https://neshamacarlebach.com

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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