Indie soul vocalist Carmen Rodgers - a Texas native who currently resides in Atlanta - made noise in 2011 when she dropped her acclaimed full-length album, The Bitter Suite - Deluxe Edition. (I even picked it as one of last year's 10 best CDs.) For 2012, Rodgers decided to take her show on the road and preview music from a brand-new album (titled Intermission) that she plans to release in September. This Saturday, June 16, she (joined by singer Jon Bibbs) ends her nationwide trek - branded the Cocktails & Conversations Tour - in the ATL, and we got a chance to chat with her briefly about her musical walkabout.
So how has the tour gone for you?
Carmen Rodgers: It's been awesome. It's been great to be able to really get the response of people who may not have even known who I was and the people who were familiar with the work I've already done and see what they thought of the new music ... And I would say definitely the hit song is a duet that Anthony David and I have that will be on the next record called "Charge"; no matter who's the stand-in guy singing the song and no matter how many ways I sing it, people ask, "Can I get that song now?" ... But it's been a lot of fun.
I wonder, for an independent artist like yourself, what is like going on a tour like this?
OK, I have to say that this was some of the hardest shit I've ever done.
Being your own boss, being the business person ... trying to connect with promoters or venues in all these cities and then promote on my own, do the ground work ... music direct the shows and the musicians ... but I still have to be creative ... and I have to be on it when I hit the stage - and not exhausted from all the pre-work that it took to get there. So, yeah, it was hard. But I'll do it all over again if I have to.
What role does touring play for you at this point in your career? Is it a marketing tool, a source of revenue or what?
This is absolutely a marketing tool ... fortunately, being independent, there's always someone who doesn't know you. So, you're always able to sell music [while you're on the road] and get one more fan, two more fans, 10 more fans, 50 more fans ... The goal for this [tour] is to create buzz and create something to build on when [Intermission] comes out in September. So, it's not: "Oh, Carmen has a record out? I didn't know she was back!"
What do you have in store for folks this Saturday?
It's really gonna be exciting. Now that Atlanta is, honestly, home as well, I get to play a lot and have fun and invite my fellow artist friends - since so many of us live in Atlanta now - and play a couple of the old favorites but really get to talk through the songs ... and present the music and get feedback. It's different than your regular listening party because [attendees] won't be hearing the completed [songs] - they going to hear my interpretation of what's going to be recorded and see how it comes across live in its early stages. And I get to find out if it's something they like. It's gonna be fun.
$7-$10. Doors open at 7 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. www.ticketalternative.com.
I'm pretty sure he was 19.
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