When Carmen started singing in her school chorus at the age of six, she discovered a profound affinity for music. Growing up immersed in the angst-ridden alternative rock era of the 90s, Carmen’s earliest musical influences included Nirvana, Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails. At thirteen she discovered her mother’s vinyl collection and listened endlessly to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, expanding her musical exposure into the classic rock realm of the 60s and 70s, where she found inspiration in favorites Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin.
At nineteen years old, Carmen packed her passion for music and an old upright piano and moved from her native Los Angeles to San Diego, determined to give voice to the songs inside her. Secluded in her tiny cottage, Carmen taught herself to play, and the songs swiftly came. But crippling stage fright and self-doubt kept Carmen concealed with her songs for nearly a decade. During those years of singing in secret, Carmen focused on academic endeavors. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology; and in the fall of 2008, she began law school.
Just before beginning her second year of law school, Carmen found herself in a deep despair. She hadn’t played a piano or written a song in over a year and was dying inside. She knew she’d never be fully alive without committing herself to her music. From the top shelf of her closet, she took down a shoebox of dusty old cassette tapes filled with piano riffs and vocal melodies she’d been composing and recording for years. She nurtured the songs to life, and in August 2010, she recorded a humble four-song demo titled, Years. Summoning all the courage she could, she started playing open mics and small gigs around San Diego as she trudged her way through her last year of law school. She graduated in May 2011 and four months later released her debut full-length album, The Hive.
The Hive marked the culmination of a decade of songwriting. The 8-song album is a lyrically courageous emotional disrobing; and though completely self-taught on piano, Carmen delivers intricate and carefully crafted musical compositions. In December 2014, Carmen completed production on her third musical release, a 5-song EP titled, Moments of Mercy. Carmen strips down to her bare essence – words, voice and piano – and boldly confronts intricate inter- and intra-personal struggles, displaying once again Carmen’s daring willingness to share through her songs the most personal parts of her life.
Carmen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their magical French bulldog Mr. Monk. She is working on new material for a 2017 release.