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Artist to Watch in 2009

Piece from Suite101 by Marie Lascu.

Carina Round is a fantastic British singer-song writer that has yet to get her due. The road’s been bumpy, but 2009 is poised to be a good year for a proper introduction.

Carina Round was twenty-one when she released her first album, The First Blood Mystery, in 2001. It showcased a woman with a strong voice and penchant for Patti Smith-style poetics.

She settled into her own, more guitar-driven sound with The Disconnection, in 2003. A healthy buzz gathered from critics, and soon Interscope Records signed her and re-released the album in 2004.

Then the music industry did what it does best, it wasted genuine talent.

Interscope Records Delays Carina Round’s Third Album

There was nary a word from Carina Round until 2006, when it was revealed that Interscope would be releasing her third album, Slow Motion Addict, in May. Famed Alanis Morissette producer Glen Ballard had been brought on to work with Round, indicating Interscope’s intentions for their new artist. A few album ads were placed in magazines like Spin and Bust, but by spring the release date was pushed back three times.

It became clear from her MySpace blog that Round was stuck in Los Angeles, and she didn’t know why. There was mention of some photo shoots and interviews, but until the album release there was no tour, and with no tour, there was no way out of L.A. At one point in 2007 she began selling handmade EPs on eBay to pay for things like repairs on her guitar.

The Release of Slow Motion Addict and Lackluster Label Promotion

Slow Motion Addict was eventually released in June of 2007. The album contains excellent songs with a more electronic backdrop, but it seems as if Glen Ballard is trying to bury Round’s voice in sound. The true craftsmanship of the tracks are revealed in the acoustic versions Round recorded and released online for fans, as well as in her live performances with no studio fluff.

Upon Addict’s release, there were no new ads, no official singles, and no headlining tour.

Interscope stuck Round on a small U.S. tour for a Scottish band called The Cinematics. A high point came when Round scored the opening slot on a five-week tour with Annie Lennox. This seemed like a step in the right direction, but 2008 rolled around and there was still no support from the label and no tour.
Interscope Drops Carina Round From Their Label

By September, Round changed her label information on her MySpace page to “Unsigned” and revealed at her own self-booked and promoted live shows that she’d been dropped from Interscope. Clearly, they had exhausted their resources promoting her.

In an interview by Abi Brydon for Noize Makes Enemies (www.noizemakesenemies.co.uk) Round stated, “There was a period where I was blinkered by my situation but luckily I came out of that the other end you know?”

Creativity Thrives in the Absence of Label Restrictions

Though it was understandably upsetting at first to be without major label support, Round’s newfound freedom seems to be agreeing with her. Her blog updates are more positive, and focus only on future projects. She has offered glimpses of fantastic new songs in the demo stages, shared lyrics in progress, and posted photos from recording studio sessions. The artist is intact.

It’s difficult to explain why certain musical acts catch on while others do not, but in a climate where the record industry is visibly decaying, the most talented and fearless artists will shape these new conditions to their advantage. Carina Round possesses the artistry and the ambition to succeed. She is most definitely an Artist to watch out for in 2009.

"Artist to Watch in 2009" was published on January 18th, 2009 and is listed in Press.

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