Last week’s episodes of The Voice were punctuated by a round of impressive auditions, and one of the most memorable was India Carney, a Brooklyn native and LaGuardia High School graduate, who turned all four chairs with her powerhouse rendition of “New York State of Mind.”
Carney grew up in Crown Heights and is now in Los Angeles studying classical music at UCLA. She’s leading a band named after herself and recently opened for The Roots. India Carney spoke to Metro about her bid for stardom.
So tell us a little about yourself, India.
I grew up and still live in Crown Heights. I went to PS 321 in Park Slope for elementary school, and that's when I started developing a passion for music. I started learning music when I was two, when I went to the Brooklyn Conservatory. When I got there I continued with band, choir and drama and all that stuff. I went to Mark Twain (intermediate school) on Coney Island. Then I went to La Guardia [high school] in the city to study voice again.
What did you do on Coney Island?
It was a classically trained program. I wasn't necessarily deep into opera. I wasn't getting into opera until high school. In addition to LaGuardia I also studied at Manhattan School of Music for their pre-college division and that's when I started getting more into opera.
What about your family? Are there any other performers?
No, my dad knows one song on the piano that he can play very well, and my mom just sings along with music. I have a younger sister who is now at La Guardia too, and studying at Juilliard on the weekend. She plays trombone and she's getting into singing as well.
How does the music scene on the West Coast compare to back home?
You still have the hustle on both coasts. I've found it a little bit easier and little bit more welcoming out here. People are excited to meet the next talent and introduce them to new people and just get networking going.
Who inspires you musically?
I really love Adele. I love Michael Jackson, and have since I was thirteen. Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder. Justin Sullivan, Coldplay, John Mayer. I love Audra McDonald. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B and I sang in church.
What was it like turning four chairs? How did that feel?
That was incredible. I love the concept of this show because it focuses on your vocals and what you can do with them. It's also nerve-wracking, because you can't use your stage presence or anything else to turn them around! It's just your voice. After I turned the four chairs, I could finally relax a little bit.
Why did you choose Christina Aguilera to be your coach?
I grew up with her, [so] I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to learn from her one on one. It seemed like she was fighting the most for me and really wanted me on her team. She was the first one to turn. I still don't believe it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to be an established solo recording artist. I don't know if i can get to Broadway in five years, but I would love to. That's been a big part of my life. Then segueing into some acting on film or TV.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
Of course! I love Metro New York, I read it every day!