Behind the music: A conversation with Mic. Carr

Eager college students filled the concrete room, a stagehand turned the lights down and a sound check commenced, signaling the guests to move closer to the stage where 24-year-old WKU graduate assistant Mic. Carr, from Dickson, Tennessee, was performing — a scene that was familiar to this local artist.

Carr, an R&B singer, has performed at various local venues, such as the A-Frame, 6-4-3 Sports Bar and on WKU’s campus at an event hosted by the Campus Activities Board. He’s also performed at venues in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and as far away as Denver.

“Oh man, [performing] feels … it feels crazy,” Carr said. “It’s like that half anxious, half super excited feeling, like when you’re getting your name called for starting lineups, [running] through the tunnel, giving high fives to everybody, that feeling you get in your stomach. It’s like that but the whole entire time.”

Carr found his start in music at a very young age but didn’t formally record his first song, “Cheers,” until freshman year of college when he attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee to play basketball.

“It’s still one of my favorite songs,” Carr said. “Whenever you do something like that it kind of just finds you. The art in an organized fashion just finds you if you’re passionate about it. I draw [my music] from my life experiences, whatever I’ve gone through in the past, whatever I’m going through presently and then just different experiences I’ve seen other people go through.”

Music took precedence over sports once Carr transferred to Middle Tennessee State University.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at MTSU, Carr came to WKU to receive his master’s degree in sports administration, and a coworker introduced him to his current independent record label owner, Justin Eckerd of NF Records Studios.

Xzaveion Price, a WKU alumnus and Bowling Green native, is a friend of Carr’s and a fan of Carr’s music.

“For me, Mic.’s music is really raw in the sense that you can relate to just about everything he is saying,” Price said. “He’s definitely the type of artist who gains inspiration from his life and the people around him.”

Carr said he plans to take one day at a time, putting in the work and continuing to draw from the inspiration he witnesses around him. He’s found his place within Bowling Green and is finding ways to balance all of his interests, studies and personal projects.

Carr is putting the finishing touches on his newest project, “Cosher,” and he plans to drop the album June 16. Carr recently sat down with the Talisman for a Q&A and a track-by-track analysis of the project.

Q: Tell me how “Cosher” got started.

A: The first song of “Cosher” wasn’t even the intro. The first song was “Someone New.” I remember telling my buddy, Evan, right when I was in the middle of finishing “Carrtunes,” my last project, that I wanted to make my next project primarily singing. I didn’t know what story I was going to tell, but I knew I wanted to tell a story start to finish. It started I wanted to have just a little five-song EP of all singing, and now I’m about to put “Cosher” out, and it’s 11 songs.

I remember telling my buddy, too, that I want it all to sound really, really cozy. I said to him, “Yeah, it’s going to be called ‘Cozy.’” And it wasn’t but like two months later, ASAP Mob comes out with a project called “Cozy Tapes.” I was like there’s no way I can call it “Cozy” now because they’re going to think I got it from that.

Music is crazy because even though it’s sonic, to [me] it’s still physical, as well. It hits me in the chest, like certain drum kicks and certain sounds really kind of make [me] feel a certain way physically and then also emotionally.

Track 01 – “Thoughts of You”

I remember talking to [my friend], Xzaveion, I told him “I’m trying to think of other things that would still coincide with cozy music. And he was like, “Well, what kind of story are you telling?” And I was like, “Well, it starts off with ‘Thoughts of You.’” That’s the intro and it just goes,

Time after time when I think bout you / I wonder how we got here / How can we grow if we can’t communicate, baby / Time after time when I think bout you / I wonder how we got here / A healthy dose of understanding is all it takes

It’s just like, I’m thinking about you basically and for anybody listening to it. So with thoughts of you, it kind of sets the tone. And then the next song is the title track from the project, “Cosher.”

Track 02 – “Cosher”

So the next song is called “Cosher.” It kind of picks it up and it’s like,

Everything is cosher

So it’s basically me saying, no matter what happens I’m thinking about you, right, but still everything is cosher. Know that everything is cosher because that’s the first thing [I say.] I was still trying to incorporate the word cozy [in the song] so I say,

Here’s something cozy for you to wake up to / Just know that things are cosher, at times I think of you / No hard feelings, nothin’ but good riddance / I gained more than a little and I hope you did too / Everything is cosher, it’s alright / Everything is cosher

So everything is all good; I’m thinking of you. The next song is called “Lemmeluhyuh.”

Track 03 – “Lemmeluhyuh”

So it’s like, really you should let me love you. You’ve got your friends in your ear making you think I don’t care about you the way I do. And, like I said, it’s just different experiences I’ve been through. I don’t want people to think “Ah, he’s telling  a story about this one girl” or “Who’s he talking about?” I’ve been through stuff. Everybody’s been through stuff, and I know different people have been through similar situations, so I’m just telling their story all the way through. So “Lemmeluhyuh” is like,

People talkin’ like they know me / All I want to do is love you / But you just don’t see / I don’t care about the things your girls say / They say I don’t care about you / But that’s not the case, lemmeluhyuh

Once “Lemmeluhyuh” is in there it’s right before “Someone New,” so it really starts making you want to dance. That’s what I like about those songs in particular. After “Lemmeluhyuh” comes in, it makes you want to jig. I like [the] line too,

I find solace in your eyes / Just being honest, I’m trying to get to know you

I like the word solace. I find peace within your eyes, basically. I think it’ll be cool for the summertime too. Top down, it makes me want to be somewhere on the beach or something. I’m telling this story that everything is all good no matter what happens, but I still want all of this stuff to be uplifting.

Track 04 – Someone New

The first song, “Someone New,” was the song I recorded right before I came [to Bowling Green]. It’s the single, and it’s upbeat. How it went, the chorus was like,

I know that we’re falling off / I know that you’re seeing someone new / You think that I want you gone but here is where I always wanted you

And then it has the little “yeah, yeah” party feel to it. I’m going to tell the story start to finish basically whatever you go through, everything is cosher. We’ve all been through relationships, and my story isn’t about one girl all the way throughout. It’s just about different experiences I’ve been through, seeing other people go through that I know everyone goes through. Whenever we’re in here creating and somebody starts making a certain riff or tune, sometimes you’ll know exactly how your first line should go because the feeling it kind of evokes in you as soon as you hear it. And after “Someone New,” it goes to “Lost It All.”

Whenever we’re in here creating and somebody starts making a certain riff or tune, sometimes you’ll know exactly how your first line should go because the feeling it kind of evokes in you as soon as you hear it. And after “Someone New,” it goes to “Lost It All.”

Track 05 – “Lost It All”

So it’s like, you should let me love you, but you’re kind of letting your girls get in between it or whatever. It’s all good. Then “Someone New” hits, and it’s all good, as well. And “Lost It All” comes, and that’s when Nick Lawson, another WKU student, comes in with me, and it’s basically we were lost in love and now we lost it all. There’s this slippery slope [with] anybody

There’s this slippery slope [with] anybody, really, because everyone has that person that you like a bunch or even love, and I feel like, also, everyone should go through something like that. Because a lot of times, people take a lot of stuff for granted until, and it’s almost cliche, until it’s gone and then you realize, “Ah, s—. That was something nice.”

Me and my brother were talking about it, I feel like for sure every man should endure something like that. I don’t necessarily think to the same degree that girls should go through that, and maybe that’s just ’cause I’m a momma’s boy, and I don’t like the idea of hurting girls like that. I don’t want people to get hurt, but I think men should go through some form of, not necessarily heartbreak, but some form of that so they know, “Bro whenever something good comes along cherish it because all girls aren’t like that.” So that’s what [“Lost It All”] is about, I’m like,

This slippery slope of falling in and out of love with you has my mind going / I want your heart to have not to borrow / one thing that I gotta know / when the rain comes will you stay or will you go

After “Lost It All,” it goes into “Butterflies.”

Track 06 – “Butterflies”

So we “Lost It All,” but you still give me butterflies. Still, nothing is lost. And also it goes perfectly into butterflies because of how I said [in “Lost It All”] we’re in the same chapter, but we’re just on a different page.

Same chapter, different page / I’ll always look after you the same / No matter what happens, I know we’ve lost a lot but if we just look past it / All that was what lost can surely be gathered

So that’s why I think it goes into “Butterflies” really well because you’re still being optimistic. I said that in the intro as well.

Pardon me if I’m not the best at apologies / There’s part of me that is quite the eternal optimist

I feel like I am super optimistic and have grown over the years to be a very positive person. It was all lost, but could still be gathered, so that’s why it goes into “Butterflies.” I’m letting her know you still give me butterflies, so you know that. And at the end of “Butterflies,” it’s like

But if you want to go, I’ll let you fly

You just have to let them go. You hope for the best for them, hope for the best for yourself and go. And so then, “Que Pasa” comes around and picks it back up.

Track 07 – “Que Pasa”

Now you’re back. You’re back just trying to see someone new yourself. You hear me in “Que Pasa” like, “Look at her. She’s beautiful. I have to go see what’s up.” And that’s the interlude into “Tell Me” because I’m like,

Que Pasa, mi bonita / What’s up, it’s nice to meet ya / You’re different and I peeped it / So many people around but I feel it’s just us

I picture a video for that where we’re in a crowd full of people, at a party or a concert or something, but you feel like it’s just me and you there. I feel like everybody has had that too. And if you haven’t, everybody deserves that.

Track 08 – “Tell Me”

It’s one thing to just hear a story, but it’s another thing to tell somebody’s story and really do it justice and tell it in a way where you were almost telling it like you were them. That is deep because it takes a lot to be able to absorb it all in as if you’re really going there with that person — like you’re trying to get into my mind. I said that in a song, on “Tell Me,” actually. I said

Let me scuba dive behind those eyes and ease inside your mind

And I said that in particular because I want to give the visuals, me scuba diving behind your eyes like I’m really trying to go deep and really get in your head, really see what’s going on up there. But I like “Tell Me” because it goes really well from “Que Pasa” into that. It’s like a play on words on this one,

You say you don’t know who you are but you know who you’re not / Don’t know what you want but you know what you don’t want

So with that, it’s like I don’t know, and most people especially at our age and younger, we don’t know exactly who we are yet, but I know what I’m not. You don’t know exactly who you are yet. You’re still figuring out who you are and finding out who [you] are every day. And you embrace that.

Even though I don’t know exactly who I am right now, I know for d— sure who I’m not. So on that same note, I flipped it. I don’t know exactly what I want. You may not know exactly what you want in a man/woman or your future husband/wife but you’re like, “I know for d— sure I don’t want this kind of person. I know for d— sure I don’t want this kind of girl/guy who acts like that.” [You’re like] I don’t know what I want, but that’s good because you shouldn’t know exactly who you want. That’s the point because the person who will come around, it’ll be like “Oh, that’s exactly what I want.”

“Lost It All” and “Butterflies are more like ballads and really melodic. They still have that groove to them but “Que Pasa” picks you up and makes you want to move again along with “Someone New” and “Tell Me.” “Que Pasa” is what’s up, and then “Tell Me” is tell me what’s up. Then the next song is “Currents.”

Track 09 – “Currents”

This song, chorus-wise, could’ve been named so original, but I wanted to name it “Currents” because a certain line it. And because of the beat. I think currents, water, flowy, waves. With “Currents,” I thought “Que Pasa” being what’s up to “Tell Me” saying what’s up and then the first thing you hear on “Currents” is like, “You know what’s up.” So now you know what’s up. It went from tell me what you want to me telling you what I would do. I’m basically like,

Can’t get you out my mind, you are one of a kind / Such a rare breed, you’re so hard to find

I’m going off of what I was saying on “Tell Me,” and then the chorus is me still trying to get at this girl, but I’m also just telling you what I see in you.

You make it look easy from head to toe / Best believe it, baby, by the way / I just want to hear you say my name

And I just say that because … this may be weird, but I don’t think it’s weird. If there is a girl that I think is attractive, and I like her, I want to hear her say my name. I want to hear what it sounds like. And I tell her this story,

Remember the first convo that we made / You dress to kill everyday / Thought you’d be stuck up, I guess I was just stuck up in my ways / I dig your wave, I could get lost within your currents /…

Like waves, water, so that’s why I can still name it that.

Let’s move in conjunction baby / Our psychology’s concurrent / If love was a form of currency, I’d have plenty cheese / Currently cupid’s sniping at heights only birds can see

Whenever I think of cupid like on the cartoons, I think of him flying by but you can almost see him, and he just shoots you with the love bug. And how I’m painting [this] is it’s more out of nowhere. That’s why I wanted to say

Currently cupid’s sniping at heights only birds can see

So he’s way, way up there. We can’t even see him. It really came out of nowhere. It was super organic.

No inhibitions, girl, let down your guard / indulge yourself could be good for you / Let me love you, baby /

So that’s “Currents,” and then it’s almost over, and goes into “Expectations.”

Track 10 – “Expectations”

It kind of still goes back to the first girl before we ended it. I feel like people, in general, sometimes go into stuff with too many expectations instead of just appreciating the present for what it is. I rap a little bit more on this one, and I like the beat.

You say you don’t want to waste time / I know we’re not getting younger but I wonder what we’re rushing for / I feel like all we got is time / The glass is half full not half empty but you got too many expectations /

The second verse, too, is more rapping, and then [it goes into] “Pushin.” [“Expectations”] and “Pushin” are kind of precursors to what I’m going to do next because I rap a little bit more and with the next [album] I put out — I don’t know if it’s going to be called “Hosts of Positive Energy” or not — but I know it’s going to be more rapping again. It goes into “Expectations,” and I’m saying

Find you a girl that’s solid / never put your grind on autopilot / may your next move be your best move / but you never let ‘em know cause they’re watching

We don’t realize that most times people, especially when you’re in the moment or get overwhelmed or something, a lot of times people focus so much on what we don’t have or what isn’t going right instead of [finding] a blessing in everything. And overall, if you’re good, I feel like why wouldn’t you focus on stuff that is positive?

Perspective. That’s why I say “Perspective is everything.” It’s like the glass is half full not half empty but you got too many “Expectations.” It’s all good, everything is still “Cosher.” And then after that, it goes into “Pushin.” 

Track 11 – “Pushin”

The last song is “Pushin.” So no matter what happens to you, through all of that shit, it’s all cosher. You just gotta keep pushin’. It’s like regardless of what happens,

You got to keep it pushin

I wanted to make sure the first verse wasn’t necessarily about a girl or anything like that. I wanted to just give you some bars, give you some wisdom but what I call “ism.” I wanted to give ‘em some ism. I was like,

I got some wise words from a man I respect / He told me spread your wings but don’t spread yourself thin /…

The wise man was my brother because I really do look up to my brothers and my sister.

You’re a wordsmith so let your heart bleed through your pen / I’m bleeding within, depleted is this nation we in / Dividing races is just gon’ lead to segregation again / Done congregating with those who don’t deserve my relation / I’m young but an old soul moves me / I console the souls of those who need soothing /…

 Every king and queen has a past so use it to better your present and live lavish in the future / Even in our darkest days we transition to color /…

That’s just painting the picture, and it’s true. Even in our darkest days, we transition to color as long as we keep pushin’.

If you stomach adversity, your blessings will come in abundance / If they ain’t made it create it / If they don’t get your vision make them mad they ain’t listen / Invest in the youth because somebody invested in you / Support your supporters and watch as the blessings pour onto you / Gotta keep it pushin’, pushin’ along

And then the second verse is just like,

I know times get hard and life gets harder / Wisdom comes and we grow smarter / Wallowing in self-pity and sorrow, brought this all on ourselves like martyrs / The ultimate goal is nirvana, sheer happiness, so I keep it pushin forward, never backwards / Good vibes is the pack and, we’re never lackin’ / … My girl’s been on that bulls— lately, I call her Paxson

In the 90s, [John Paxson] was one of Jordan’s teammates that helped him win the finals. Jordan was double teamed, and it was one of his staple moments in his career. Jordan passed the ball to John Paxson, and he made the game-winning shot for the Bulls to win the finals, so that was just a play on words. I was like, “My girl’s been on that Bulls—- lately, so I call her Paxson.”

 Where there’s pain there’s pleasure / Where there’s me, there’s you / Girl, we got the leverage so what we gon’ do / Let’s keep applying pressure so these feelings won’t sever / Time is of the essence so let’s spend it together / Let’s keep it pushin along cause we got it going on and on and on and on and on

And then you got to keep it “Pushin,” that’s how it finishes.

Q: Why is this album appealing to college-aged kids? What sets “Cosher” apart?

A: I definitely think it will be appealing to college-aged kids because for one, everybody, especially at this age, we’re all going through a point where you’re going to end up finding somebody that you like. True love really young — that’s harder to come by because people, in general, are all really fickle. We’re all fickle, and that’s okay, but it’s just kind of the nature of who we are.

I know that all of us go through something similar to that as far as you like somebody a lot. I also know it will be appealing to [college kids] just because of the groove itself. Where we are as far as generations, people are looking for the next thing that sounds like something they’ve never heard before but familiar to them still. But also while I’m writing, I want to give you some gems. And that’s what [appeals], especially to college kids. And obviously, even just people outside of college as well. I don’t want to just put it in a box, like there’s one demographic that I’m going for. I know that just the general public overall will be able to relate to it because everybody’s been in love, everybody has loved, and everybody’s also felt loved, and if you haven’t felt love you can still relate to that type of music because you want that at some point.

As far as college kids, I think they’ll definitely be able to relate to it because it’s always nice whenever you can hear something totally different, and it sounds familiar to you all the while because it relates to you right off the bat. It already resonates with you. You ever hear a song, like the first time I heard that Bruno Mars song, “That’s What I Like,” it gives you that at-home feeling that even though [you’ve] never heard [it] before, [you’ve] already had that feeling. It’s nice when somebody can put that feeling into words and then also make you groove.

With “Cosher” I really just wanted to tell a story, and I hope I was able to. I hope whenever people listen to it, they can understand that story. And if they can, I feel like I did what I was supposed to, for real. But I would feel like that anyway because whenever I am able to create something and walk away feeling I recorded some lyrics that somebody else is supposed to hear, I feel like I did my job.

Being able to illustrate a story all the way through for somebody with words, [in which] they can really understand it just by reading/hearing what you wrote, that’s special, for sure.

Anybody that can tell a story, that’s poetic. I just try to make [people] truly think in some fashion. And if you can do that with one person, you win.