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Sixteen year old Carson Hill remembers the first time she ever put pen to paper
to compose a song. “When I was eleven, I wrote this really cheesy song
because my sister’s boyfriend at the time had broken up with her. I remember
her being really upset. She was starting to cry a little, so I got my guitar out, and
went to another room. I wrote this song making fun of the guy because he was
eighteen and he didn’t have a license. I came back into the room and sang the
song for her. I was getting her to laugh and sing along. That was the first song I
She jokes that she has tried to forget the song – which didn’t even have a title,
but she feels her writing has improved by leaps and bounds since then.
“As I got older, I realized I don’t have to just write about the things I am going
through. I can write about other people, even though I might not have been
through it. I have a lot of friends who have lost parents or family members at a
young age. So, I started writing songs to cheer people up. One of the things I
am most proud of is that I don’t write a lot of sad songs. I’ll write songs to make
people feel better. I think as I did that, my songwriting started to get more
mature, as I was writing about real things, and not just relationships and love.”
Hill has worked hard at refining her talent – as both a writer and an artist since
her earliest memories of singing on the way to school in North Carolina.
“My mom, my sister, and I would always sing on the way to school. She was a
schoolteacher, so we would have to leave early in the morning to drive to
school, and we’d sing. Then, we’d sing on the way home. My mom’s side of the
family loves to sing. I was always growing up around people singing and
What was Hill being influenced by? As it turns out, a little bit of everything. She
remembers listening to the local Christian Music station on those drives into
school, as well as rock and roll classics by acts like The Steve Miller Band. She
has her father to thank for the Country side of her sound.
“I remember a lot of Garth Brooks. My dad is a huge fan. My mom is too, but
every time we would go somewhere, dad would stick in Garth Brooks. So, from
a young age, I remember all our trips to the mountains, there would be a Garth
CD, and Dad would be singing along. He is probably one of my biggest heroes,
along with Dolly Parton too.”
It’s the never say die stories of artists like Garth and Dolly that have inspired
Carson on her career path. “I fell in love with the fact that somebody could
dream like they did, and could be from a little town in Oklahoma or Tennessee,
and it didn’t really matter. If they worked hard enough to do it, they could. I
admired the fact that they got up on that stage, entertained people, and they had
fun doing it, but also changed a lot of lives while doing it. I think that sparked
something in me where I wanted to do that too.”
Carson has known what she wanted to do since one of her first major musical
performances. As is the case with a lot of artists, it came at Church. At the age
of four, Hill delivered a solo of “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” and that was the
moment she remembers being bitten by the musical bug. “If you know the song,
the solo it has is a pretty long one,” she recalled, adding “I don’t know how I
remembered all the words.”
She started playing the piano in first grade. Then, came the guitar. She took a
do-it-yourself approach to learning the instrument. “I started playing guitar when
I was eleven. My mom actually taught me a little bit when I was eight, but I was
too young to really take any interest in it because I couldn’t sit still. I picked it
back up when I was eleven. I was so determined. One night, I learned a song off
YouTube. I went up to my dad and said ‘I want to play a song for you on guitar.’
He was watching TV, and he said ‘Wait a minute.’ I said ‘Now,” so he muted the
TV, and I played him the song. He asked me to do it again. I think it shocked
everyone that I learned to play by myself. That’s when I really started to take off
on it. I would practice for hours in my room and learn a bunch of new songs. I
would spend every day doing that.” Since then, Carson has added the upright
bass and mandolin to her repertoire.
As she prepares for the release of her new EP, In My Mind, she is grateful for
the feeling that being on stage gives her.
“I have always been kind of shy. If I don’t know you, and I am just meeting you, I
always kind of hold back and am a little awkward. When I step on stage, I think
the funny part of me comes out more. I think it makes me a better performer.”
She’s excited for fans to hear the new music. “All of the songs on it were written
in the last two years. It’s everything that has been going on around me from my
point of view.” Her music is an invigorating mix of traditional, pop, and folk
elements, which come to forefront on the bouncy “Gone.”
Performance-wise, she has been featured on some very prominent stages.
From the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville to opening for singer-songwriter
Edwin McCain to performing at the Feld Motor Sports Monster Jam in arenas in
her native North Carolina, many have become aware of Carson’s talent. One
such person was Blind Melon’s Brad Smith, who produced her first two cuts, and
has offered her considerable advice on following her dreams.
When asked to get specific about those dreams, she smiles and says “I wouldn’t
mind doing some touring in the next couple of years. I’ve always wanted to see
the world with my music. Long term, I wouldn’t mind being known for
songwriting. I would love to be like Garth Brooks, and be known for entertaining.
But, I just hope I can make a good living off of my music, so I can share it with
Making music and memories that touch lives. That’s Carson Hill!