Crushable Interview: Why Colette Carr is Nothing Like Ke$ha

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Crushable readers have spoken, and you guys are all about Colette Carr! For our very first 25 Crushable Girls Under 25 list, we asked you to vote for your favorite lady musician under 25, and this female rapper was your top choice. Since we included her in our Next Big Thing music feature back in July, we’ll gladly take part of the credit.

But we’d be fooling ourselves if we tried to say this is all thanks to us. We know that Colette caught your attention on her own. She’s a star on the rise, with an energy and attitude that just can’t be denied. And… she’s got a bone to pick with us. For our Next Big Thing feature, we named Colette the “Next Ke$ha.” Colette wants us – and you – to know that she’s no Ke$ha wannabe. She’s got her own thing going on. We stand corrected.

Colette took some time to sit down with us and set the record straight. She also told us all about her upcoming EP, and her most embarrassing moments on stage. Read on to find out why Colette Carr is not Ke$ha, and how this former competitive tennis player is living the rock star dream.

Crushable: How did you get started in music?

Colette Carr: I was a competitive tennis player, and that was my first love. So I gave everything I had into that. I started playing at six. At about sixteen years old my back was hurting really badly, and I went to the doctor. He took an x-ray, and he said very casually, you can’t play tennis anymore because there’s no cartilage in your L1 and L2. I was like, I don’t understand. What do I do? When will this heal? And he said, no, you can’t play tennis anymore. So in one day, so casually, there goes your love and your dream. It was heartbreaking. I’ve told the story so many times now that I can talk about it without crying, thank God, but that was really hard for me. So I didn’t know what to do after that. I was very upset, borderline depressed, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had known what I wanted to do since I was six years old, and now I couldn’t do it. So I started taking an improv class, and I started acting, and I really liked it, but I didn’t like the fact that I had to play a character.

So I went to this Game concert with my sister one night, and we snuck in, because we weren’t UCLA students, so we had to sneak past like eight security guards. And once we finally did, we got in there and the Game was late. So the announcer asked, can anybody here freestyle? And I knew I could, but I didn’t want to go up there, and my sister kind of forced me to. So I jumped onstage and I freestyled, and literally instantly knew that I wanted to pursue rapping and making music. It was very bizarre. I hadn’t felt that way or loved something that much since tennis. So it was a big moment for me. I wasn’t expecting it at all. And then, my parents thought I was insane when I went home and told them I wanted to be a rapper. They supported me instantly, but they were a little confused, I think.

So I started doing it the next day. Full throttle. No hesitation, just gave it my all. And met some really awesome people, started working with this group called the Cataracs. We made a bunch of tracks together, and then I shot this video for one of my songs called “Back it Up.” And it went on the Freshman Five on MTV. I lost the vote by like one percent, which sucked, but I got so many views and likes and attention that, thank you MTV, they ended up putting my video on rotation anyway. And it went to number one on MTVU. So it happened really quickly. This whole thing still feels really bizarre to me. I got signed in the blink of an eye, too. But then the uphill battle started and I really had to work my ass off. Once I got signed to Interscope it was no picnic, that’s for sure. Finding a sound, finding a single, image, all this stuff I never thought about. I thought, oh, I’ll just be myself. They don’t teach you that in marketing school.

How would you describe your own sound?

I guess I’d have to step back away from it… definitely not how you guys described it on your site, that’s for sure. I’d say it’s like if Eminem and Britney had a baby and dropped on its head. I heard that and it resonated, because it’s very pop and catchy, but at the same time, I rap like a man. I only listen to male rappers, so I’m influenced by male rappers. And I love violent songs, and violent movies. Even though I’m not a violent person. I would describe it as Colette, to be honest with you. I think that one day hopefully people will reference me when they describe other people’s sound. Oh, it’s so Colette Carr. You know? I want to get to that point. Everything sounds kind of different, but once you get to know me it fills in the gaps. And then you realize that it’s very congruent. It’s just one girl, one personality with different sides to it.

What do you think of the comparisons you get to Ke$ha? Do you think you’re similar to her?

I don’t think so at all. That’s why I don’t understand them. I don’t hear her in my music, I don’t her me in her music, her tone of voice, her lyrics. She’s a party animal, and I’m not. I went bowling last night with my friends. That’s what I do. And I have a lot of mutual friends with her… I see no similarities at all. That’s why I’m always so shocked. I mean, I guess we’re both white. And we both rap. But I rap really fast, and more serious. I don’t really rap about party stuff. I do have glitter in my hair right now. I’m making a calendar, and using glitter. Not because I woke up in a bathtub. I do love Jack Daniels though, so maybe that’s where it’s all coming from.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?

I’ve had the worst moments on stage. It’s been insane. My power has cut out multiple times while I’m up there. No mic, no music, I’m just on stage in front of thousands of people. I guess I just booty shake, what? I handle it really well though. Because I think that music is so fun for me, and it seems like such a weird dream. If you were having a dream, and your power cut out, and you were on stage, would you just panic and cry? No, it’s your dream. So you just have fun with it, right? So I don’t take it that seriously, but at the same time I take it really seriously. I just go with the flow. One time a DJ played a song I’d never heard in my life. And I was just like, everybody make some noise for the DJ, he’s having a rough night! And everyone was clapping and laughing, and I was like, I’ve never heard that song before! That’s definitely not my song. It was a techno remix of something. Weird stuff has happened. I haven’t thrown up though. That seems to be the trend. I gotta get on that. I gotta drink some milk and do some jumping jacks.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

No. I was very superstitious with tennis. I had to tie my shoelaces a certain way, and I spun my racket a certain amount of times and bounced the ball the same way before I served. And this is just like, my new life. Where I don’t have to be insane all the time. I just have fun out on stage. Literally, it is so fun for me. I was on tour with a couple people that would panic before, or cry, or get nervous, and have to drink or something. I don’t have any of that. I must be really lucky, because I can’t even imagine. I used to get diarrhea before I played every tournament in tennis. I used to get so nervous that I would just be in the bathroom, like, dying. I don’t get nervous when it comes to music. I sometimes say a prayer, or drink throat coat tea, or water. Or sometimes I’m just talking casually, and I say, oh hold on, I’ll be right back to finish that sentence. And then I go do three songs and come back, like, what were we talking about? It’s just fun.

If you could have anyone make a cameo in one of your music videos, who would it be?

Meryl Streep. That would be awesome. If she would play a role in a music video, that would be awesome. I always go for the legends when people ask me questions like that.

Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to?

I love Suzanne Vega. I love Baris Manço, he’s a Turkish singer. I love the Cure, the Smiths. ODB, anyone from Wu-Tang. Biggie, Tupac of course. I hate saying them side by side, it’s so stereotypical. Eminem, he’s amazing. Who else… so many great artists out there right now. But at the same time, I tend to listen to the same people. I like Michelle Branch. I know that’s weird. And the Spice Girls. I like every genre, I just only like a select few from every genre.

What’s coming up next for you?

Well my EP series… my album’s dropping in a very strange way, and I’m very happy and proud of this process. It’s four EPs and then a full album plus four bonus tracks. So my first EP comes out on November 7. And then there’s two month increments in between each EP, and the remix from the EP before. It sounds complicated but it’s not, I swear. I just think it’s cool because I’m releasing songs as fast as I’m making them. So instead of planning it out, I’m very in the moment, spontaneous. So I’d rather have the pressure of having to make three tracks in two months than have it ready and set, plan it, and then those songs are dated. Or I don’t really connect with it anymore. Sometimes I write songs about guys and it means nothing to me and I wonder what I was even talking about. So I want to put them out there when it’s fresh and they really mean something to me. This first EP, I’m really excited about. It’s gonna be amazing. I’ll be going on tours and stuff. I literally don’t even look at my schedule. I just get these little alerts every day of what I’m doing today. I’m shooting another video soon, so I have to kick in and get all that together. I’m very hands-on.

For more on Colette, check out her website.