The Gilded Ones
WHEN THIS SONGBIRD SINGS, ONE CANNOT HELP BUT LISTEN.
After meeting Carla Gibson (nom de guerre: Carla G) at a wedding in May, we knew we had to make her a “Gilded One.” Why? We can give you at least three reasons. 1. Her golden vocal cords. Carla is a gorgeous chanteuse with a magnificent voice. She and her band entertained guests at the late afternoon wedding reception with such gusto that they literally knocked everyone’s socks (and stockings) off. 2. Her bubbly personality. Carla has the most effervescent personality of just about anyone we know! But let’s not get it twisted. Bubbly doesn’t mean airhead. Along with being a talented songstress, Carla is one savvy businesswoman. 3. Her love of gold jewelry. Carla is a major fan of gold jewelry. For Carla, the more gold, the better. So, it made perfect sense to spend an afternoon decking her out in Auvere’s rich 22 karat and pure 24 karat gold pieces. Do you want to know more about Carla, including how she navigated her career path out of corporate media into becoming a full-time songbird? Then keep reading!
Home. Sweet. Home. I am a military brat with a warm Georgia soul and Washington State sense of “chill”.
School Daze. I studied journalism and public relations at Hampton University in Virginia.
Did your college major matter in the long run? Oh yes! It helps me to present myself and my story in a way that is honest and resonates with other people.
The J.O.B. My passion is singing and songwriting. I work on a host of other gigs to support that passion.
Wilding Out: The craziest thing I’ve done that I am willing to admit publicly? Sneaking into the monuments in Washington, D.C. during the government shutdown.
Daytime Reverie: I daydream about not having to live paycheck to paycheck.
Sign Language. I am an Aries and I must say, I am a fiery li’l something.
YOU GREW UP IN A MILITARY FAMILY, WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
Usually, growing up in a military family means lots of moving around and constantly having to reinvent one's self. Sadly, I only moved once — from Georgia to Washington State (I really wished we had moved overseas!). The hardest part of the move was going from humid Georgia summers to never-ending rainy days and 40-degree weather that lasted from October through June!
YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER IN CORPORATE MEDIA, TELL US MORE.
While I was working at my alma mater, Hampton University, a few of my former professors took an interest in me and pushed my resume onto any recruiter who touched down on our campus. Finally, a job emerged from all that activity. I got a job doing public relations and event planning for NBC Universal.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD A “VOICE” AND THAT YOU WERE DESTINED TO BECOME AN ENTERTAINER?
When I was young, I loved to sing. Like many kids around the country, I dreamt about singing at the Apollo Theatre. Yet, I had no idea then that I would end up as an entertainer. Growing up on military bases in Georgia and Washington state allowed me very little exposure to the concept of celebrity and entertainment as a career path. Even when I first moved to New York after college, I had no intention of becoming an entertainer.
During my first summer in the city, I hopped on stage at Shrine in Harlem to cover one of the 5 songs I knew by heart at the time. I did it just for fun but one of my dear friends, Fay (a/k/a DJ Likwuid), invited me back to Shrine to be a featured act and then a host. I hosted and sang at Shrine every month until I was given an opportunity to sing at one of the most popular R&B sessions at that time — Sol Village. That session allowed “up and coming” artists to showcase themselves at the internationally acclaimed SOB’s (Sounds of Brazil). One night, I rocked the stage at SOB’s in front of a packed room. As I stood on stage, connecting with the crowd and feeling them connect with me, I knew it. That was the night that I realized that I was meant to be a musical artist.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT A FULL-TIME CAREER?
Once I realized how much I wanted to pursue singing full-time, I struggled to stay motivated and focused at my corporate media job. All I could do was daydream about performing more and all the while I was becoming my “cubicle less”. After mistake number 25 billion, my boss suggested (in the nicest way possible under the circumstances) that I follow my dream. I took him up on that suggestion almost immediately! By my last day in the office, I had managed to book several shows. Then I stretched my last couple of paychecks to cover my living expenses for the rest of the winter and all the way through middle of spring of the following year. Before that next summer ended, I found a job as a hostess at City Winery, a well-known culinary and musical venue in New York City, and began the process of reinventing myself into “Carla G” - the chanteuse.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS?
One of the challenges I face is that I am always judging myself against a timetable that no one is keeping track of. I feel that I have to manage my time carefully in order to juggle my singing career and all of the gigs I work that allow me to have a singing career. I end up wearing several hats, so to speak. Sometimes, my “business hat” gets in the way of my “creative hat.” I often find myself booking several jobs singing cover songs until the day I look up and realize that I haven’t spent any time writing my own material. I am learning to be patient with myself and to take the time to make quality music versus going after quick money and creating fast and easy musical product. Sometimes, when I look around and see so many people pursuing the same dream that I have, I question why I started doing this in the first place. I wonder if I am wasting my time. Then I book a great gig or make real headway in honing my song-writing skills and realize how much I love this business. “Take it one day at a time” is what they say so that’s what I am doing. One day at a time. One step at a time.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU ARE DOING IN THE ENTERTAINMENT SPACE RIGHT NOW?
Carla's Living Room. I am starting a series called “Carla’s Living Room” at the Harlem Wine Room this summer. Starting on August 1st and every other Thursday thereafter, I will be hosting a session in which I introduce and work with some of the most talented musicians in my Harlem community. The goal is not only to make amazing original music together, but to share and celebrate our love of R&B and to highlight the members of the band — the accompaniment — in addition to the singer.
The Edge, Harlem, NY. The Edge is my favorite neighborhood restaurant. It is infused with Harlem’s charm and boasts a menu that includes the best home-made ginger beer and jerk wings in the city. The Edge hosts live music every Wednesday night. I happen to be one of their featured monthly acts! So stop by sometime and hear me sing.
Weddings and Special Events. I enjoy using my voice to add to special events and experiences. Singing and hosting events such as weddings, baby showers and birthday parties allow me to bring home the bacon while making an event memorable.
SO LET'S TALK ABOUT FAVORITES.
What’s your favorite musical genre to perform? R&B and soul.
What kind of music are you most like to sing in the shower? Same answer! R&B and soul.
Name three of your favorite musical artists: Chaka Khan. Mariah Carey. Whitney Houston.
YOU ARE NOT ONLY A SONGSTRESS . . .
But you are a songwriter too. What inspires your writing? Every day struggles and the funny moments in life.
And you are an event emcee? Tell us about the most fun you’ve had emceeing an event? I enjoy every event that I emcee but I will say that I thoroughly enjoy introducing the acts at City Winery. Getting a crowd of baby boomers excited to see their favorite acts from their teens warms my spirit and tickles my heart.
WHAT THREE WORDS DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN DESCRIBED BY PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU WELL? DO YOU AGREE WITH THEIR ASSESSMENT?
And yes, I agree with all of the above.
WHAT ARE YOUR SIX GO-TO WARDROBE PIECES?
- Gold jewelry (more specifically, gold hoops and gold necklaces)
- High-waisted jeans
- Denim shirt
- Simple dresses (whether flowing or bodycon)
- Statement heel or sneaker
- My Dad’s old army jacket
HOW DOES JEWELRY FIT INTO YOUR DAILY WARDROBE?
I love jewelry! Especially big, bold, gold statement pieces that add richness and pizazz to my outfits. Not that I don’t also love sweet, delicate gold pieces; they have their place in my wardrobe too, especially when I wear long flowing dresses in the summer.
DO YOU HAVE STYLE ICONS?
I don’t really have a particular style icon but I adore a great red carpet moment!
WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT OBSESSIONS (OTHER THAN GOLD)?
- Wildly colored nail polish.
- Sneakers with “cool factor."
- Scented candles; I love walking into an aromatic room.
WHERE WOULD YOU TELL FRIENDS TO GO IN ORDER TO GET YOUR NYC NEIGHBORHOOD EXPERIENCE?
I live in Harlem and I love it. My picks for great places in Harlem in which to to spend some time are:
LIGHTNING ROUND! PICK ONE.
Bridges or Tunnels? Bridges.
Walk-in-closet or washer and dryer in your apartment: Washer and dryer.
Spa day or "shop ’til you drop" day? Shop ’til I drop day.
MOMA or Metropolitan Museum of Art? MOMA.
Penthouse or Townhouse? Penthouse.
Subway or Uber? Uber all day!
"Black-tie" event or Sunday afternoon casual? I love both!
Mystery or clarity? Who doesn’t love a little mystery? But I function way better with clarity. I like to know where I stand and what I am walking into.
Rings or Necklaces? Necklaces.
Minimalist or maximalist? Minimalist.
TELL US WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT GOLD.
Gold is luxe, rich, and eternal.
Gold is the most coveted metal in the world.
Gold is an investment.
Most importantly, gold looks great on me!
WHAT AUVERE PIECES CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?
I really love the Galactic 8 Hoop Earrings and the Arthropod Earrings. They make the kind of statement that I am always looking for. Bold and dramatic. As far as necklaces go, I love the Triple Cage Necklace and the Small Cage Necklace. They are delicate pieces by themselves, but they combine well to make a totally different look. I also like the weight and jagged edges of the Solid Maze Necklaces. I can’t wait for those to drop!
I think it is important to stand firm in who you are and to be confident in what you bring to the table. A lot of people lose themselves in the comparison game. They forget that they are just as capable of being a star as the next person.
CARLA IS WEARING:
Look 1 (Red T-Shirt and Jeans):
Flex Earring Tall; Capture Ear Cuff Polished; Clean Cut Ear Cuff Polished; Double Moon Ear Cuff Polished; Lips Necklace; Mini Lips Necklace; Lips Bracelet; Mini Lips Bracelet; Floral Eye Bracelet; Mini Floral Eye Bracelet; Spike Ring Polished; Spike Ring Satin; Galactic Ring Polished; Vortex Ring Polished;
Look 2 (Army Jacket, Black T-Shirt and Jeans):
V Neck Earring Satin; Clean Cut Ear Cuff Satin; Double Moon Ear Cuff Satin; Wishbone Pendant & Chain Satin (coming soon); Solid Maze Pendant & Chain Satin (coming soon); Mini Solid Maze Pendant & Chain (coming soon); Callista Cuff; Slice Ring Satin; Double Barrel Ring Satin; Slash Ring Satin; Callen Ring Satin;
Look 3 (Denim Shirt and Navy Pleated Skirt):
Galactic 8 Hoop Earrings Polished; Cage Convertible Rope Necklace; Large V Neck Ring; Small V Neck Ring;
Look 4 (Little Black Dress):
Clean Cut Ear Cuff Polished; Double Moon Ear Cuff Polished; Double Barrel Ring Polished; Triple Barrel Ring Polished; Capture Ring; Double Cone Earring Tall; Cage Pendant & Chain; and Tall Maze Cuff.
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