Get Inspired: Road to success in the Melbourne Music Scene with Carla Troiano
From being a backing vocalist to releasing her own album - Carla Troiano discusses her road to success in the Melbourne Music Scene.
’I’m most proud that I haven’t given up”..
This week for our Get Inspired interview series we spoke with Carla Troiano, a Melbourne born singer and songwriter. She fronts one of the leading funk/soul bands Mayfield. She has been a featured vocalist at Melbourne’s Fashion aid, the Melbourne United Basketball and the Australian Grand Prix. Carla embodies the essence of soul music and oozes confidence and effervescence in the spotlight. In this interview she talks about her inspirations, passions, the courage to persist in the face of challenges and what it takes to become successful in one of the toughest industries.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a professional singer from Melbourne, born and bred. I have an Italian heritage and I'm the oldest of 4 children. I am extremely passionate, compassionate, loyal and loving. I have a really big heart and I never do anything half way. I have a pretty big personality. I'm small in stature but it's hard not to notice that I’m in the room.
2. How did you break into the music industry?
I was a bit of a late bloomer in the industry, although I had been singing since I was 4 years old. I studied Music Theatre at university and realised it was not for me. So after graduation I spent a few years travelling and dipping my finger into a number of different musical styles. I was part of a few bands but never really discovered my own voice or style.
5 years ago my original band Mayfield was born and I began to write my own songs. I started to really immerse myself into the Melbourne Music. I spent the first year mainly observing people's voices, playing styles and how they handled the industry. I had the opportunity to be a backing vocalist for some amazing singers such as Florelie Escano, Kylie Auldist, Caremen Hendrix and the amazing "Women of Soul" Album launch. I worked really, really hard and I guess in a way "paid my dues" working alongside such esteemed vocalists and musicians. They really inspired and pushed me. I was always thinking of new ways to move forward and create. There is so much to learn and Melbourne is such an incredible city to be a musician in. I just had to believe in myself.
3. Of all your career achievements to date, which are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I haven't given up. Music industry is one of the toughest professions in the world. I've wanted to throw in the towel a few times. But I'm just too passionate and in love. Equal to that it would be the release of my debut record with my band Mayfield "Victim of Circumstance"- It took us almost 3 years from start to finish to get it off the ground. We played a sold out Album Launch last month and it was the most surreal, incredible night of my life.
4. Being a singer and a performer you probably come across a lot of challenges. What were the main challenges and how did you manage to resolve them?
There are so many challenges! For me a huge one was my body image and the way I was and am perceived. The industry can be a very cruel place and if you don't look a certain way it can be very hard to overcome that kind of negativity. Early on when I was in music theater, it was pretty damaging as I didn't look like a "Show Girl". But when I started to front bands, I became to feel more confident and learn to appreciate and love my body and myself and focus more on other things. We all have insecurities - you just need to learn how to not let them hold you back.
Another major challenge is that everyone wants to knock you down. That can be heartbreaking but you have to always move forward. There will be a venue, a festival, a Band Booker who will love you, a fan who will love your work and want to support your growth, your music. Then there will be people who will put you down and ignore you. But I guess that's what makes art so beautiful. That it's subjective and open to interpretation. So you just have to back yourself, keep moving forward and work really hard. I often say that if I've tried my best, there isn't much more I can do.
5. Who is your role model and why?
My biggest role models are my parents and my younger brother. My parents are so resilient, intelligent and strong and they have an incredible ability to handle whatever comes their way with grace, strength and humility. My younger brother is also a musician (a drummer) and the founder and owner of AJT Jewellery. He has worked really hard and doesn't let a set back determine where he is going. I'm lucky to have grown up with a great work ethic and morals instilled into me.
I also admire musicians who continue to write and create their own original music. It’s the purest form of love I see. Anyone can play music. But it takes courage to put your heart and soul on the line with something that you have created.
6. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
I hate getting up in the morning! Musicians like to sleep in Just joking.
I'm motivated by what makes me happy. Music makes me happy. So I often tell myself that I have to do whatever I need to that day, so that I can continue to sing, write and play music.
7. What are your tips for maintaining a good work-life balance?
Sometimes I have to switch off. I've had to learn that not everything needs to be approached with a matter of immediacy. I also love to go to the gym and write a journal.
8. How would you describe your personal style?
My nickname is "Diva". I tend to be overdressed 90% of the time. I would say that I am a mix of a 70's disco queen, with a boho/rock-and-roll vintage edge and glamour. I don't tend to follow trends. I buy most of my clothes second hand or vintage and then mix and match with some classic pieces. I wear what makes me feel good, sexy and happy.
9. At Canningvale, home is a heart of everything that we do - a place of true comfort and relaxation. What does home mean to you?
Home to me, means a few different things. Home is where my close friends and family are. Home is on a stage playing music. Home is where I feel settled and relaxed to just be who I am..in my actual house. It feels most like home when I have those I love the most in it.
Quick fire questions:
Q: How would you describe yourself in one word?
Q: Bright or pastel?
Q: Beach or mountains?
Q: Cotton or silk?
Q: Fast or slow?
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