When Carmen started singing in school chorus at the age of six, she discovered a deep affinity for music. Growing up 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 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, expanding her musical exposure to the classic rock realm of the 60s and 70s, where she found inspiration in Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin.
At nineteen, 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 in Normal Heights, she taught herself to play, and the songs swiftly came. But numerous emotional blocks kept her concealed with her songs for nearly a decade. During those years of singing in secret, Carmen focused on academic pursuits. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology; and in the fall of 2008, she began law school.
During summer 2009, Carmen found herself in despair. She hadn’t played a piano or written a song in over a year. She realized 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 compositions, vocal melodies and song ideas she’d been recording for years. She nurtured the songs to life; and in August 2010, she recorded a four-song demo titled, Years. She eventually started playing open mics and gigs around San Diego. She graduated from law school in May 2011. Four months later she released her debut full-length album, The Hive.
The Hive marked the culmination of a decade of songwriting and delivered carefully-crafted, deeply emotive musical compositions. The 8-song album is a courageous exploration of trauma, capturing both the fragility and strength of the human psyche. Three years later in December 2014, Carmen completed production on her third musical release, a 5-song EP titled, Moments of Mercy, relying solely on words, vocals and piano to confront the complexities of intimacy both with others and with herself. Moments of Mercy displays once again Carmen’s ability to harness her musical voice as a medium for turning pain into art, beauty, healing, and human connection. She released her newest EP, Blood Like Water, in December 2018. It is available now on Bandcamp.