Originally published in Spinner, June 25 2009
Featured on singer-songwriter Carina Round’s recently-released EP, ‘Things You Should Know,’ is a track called ‘Please Don’t Stop.’ And although the song was written in a romantic context, ‘Please Don’t Stop’ serves as a metaphor for Round’s place in life at the time — one she calls “the point of no return.”
“It turns out to be about that moment when you decide to make the very first move into a new era of your life,” the British singer-songwriter tells Spinner. “In that sense, to make the decision to let one thing go and take hold of another thing. It’s a really scary moment but also really exciting and liberating. It’s not feeling safe — it’s like you’re not quite there yet, but you’ve already past the point of no return.”
Which makes sense given that Round is a now-independent artist (‘Thing You Should Know,’ whose songs were written in a period of Round’s life that she described as “tumultuous,” is a self-released effort). After leaving major label Interscope, Round wasn’t sure if she would ever make another album.
“I just decided not be in the industry anymore,” she says. “I didn’t know if I was going to make any more records. I kind of half-quit. My management company kind of called my bluff — ‘OK, we’ll find you a waitressing job.’ I just wanted to be out of it for a while.”
Fortunately she found a collaborator in producer Dan Burns, who co-produced ‘Things You Should Know.’ “I already made an oath to myself that I was never gonna make another record unless I found someone that really understood what I felt … and could translate what I was saying emotionally into sound,” she says. “The first time I worked with Dan, I was blown away by his talent for making things sound absolutely incredible and beautiful. Lyrically, [the EP] dissects a little bit more of what I actually am. To actually just lay it all on the line, really honestly so there’s no mistaking what I’m talking about — I think this is the first time that I’ve really done that.”
While Round is uncertain of what direction her next full-length album will take, her focus is trying to fund that future effort. One of the ways she’s doing so is by accepting donations through her website. Similar to what Jill Sobule did for her last album, Round is offering incentives in return: a $50 donation will buy a fan a copy of the EP, a T-shirt, an autographed photo, and an acknowledgement on her website. For a $1,000 or more, Round and her band will even drop by at a donor’s house to perform a concert. “I’ve done private shows for people,” she says, “but it’s never been part of the donations program. The only thing that’s important is that the audience are as into it as I am. If I’m there to do it, I’m gonna do the best I can.”
Round is keeping herself busy by playing a couple of New York shows this week, as well as some dates in Canada and her native UK in July. And in a career which has seen Round opening for Coldplay and Annie Lennox, among others, she speaks fondly of one memory in particular, involving David Bowie, sorta, and some grub.
“I was playing in my friend [Sam Stewart’s] band,” she says. “And at one of his shows I met and ended up going to dinner with Ken Scott, who was the guy who recorded and produced [Bowie’s] ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.’ That was cool. I went for an Indian meal with him, and that’s the best Indian food I’ve had in L.A. That was, like, a double whammy.”