INTERVIEW: Carla Wehbe

Introducing herself to listeners through a string of honest and vulnerable tracks that were contrasted with a euphoric styled pop production, Carla Wehbe is ready to tell her story and have people dancing at the same time.

Her debut EP ‘Half Past Nine’ (out now) is a strong representation of the artist she is, and takes listeners on a journey of the ups and downs of life through love, heartbreak, toxic relationships, unrequited love, and struggles with mental health. It’s conceptually a very diverse collection of tracks that acts as a glimpse into the barriers she aims to break through her future releases.

Citing sonical influences from the likes of King Princess, Dagny, Halsey and Troye Sivan, these songs comfortably sit in the pop realm, and all have a 80’s injected foundation that is then polished up through modern references. The pulsating synths and strong hooks will have you ready to dance and singalong proudly at her future live shows, or alone in your bedroom. 

I recently chatted to Carla Wehbe about the important message of knowing that you’re not alone behind her debut EP ‘Half Past Nine’, the creative process behind the title track and ‘Somebody Loves You’, and how the music video ‘Love Me For Me’ taught her about the resilience we have as humans to push through hardships. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut EP ‘Half Past Nine’ is an infectiously penned but contrastingly intimate collection of tracks that introduces you to listeners. When you were writing this EP what was the biggest thing you want people to walk away feeling or thinking? And what did you want them to discover about you in particular? 

CARLA WEHBE: ‘Half Past Nine’ is a collection of songs that explore different experiences we as humans might encounter. From the unrequited love narrative in ‘Somebody Loves You’, to the acceptance of the somewhat toxic relationship in ‘Half Past Nine’, to the confessions in ‘Love Me For Me’ about wanting to be loved for who you are, flaws and all. In life, we will inevitably experience the bad as well as the good, and in ‘Half Past Nine’ I hope for people to relate to one, if not all of the songs, and know that they’re not alone in what they are going through. 

TB: The title track ‘Half Past Nine’ immediately stands out with its DIY production, pulsating synths and captivating storytelling. So can you tell me how this track creatively came together? 

CW: ‘Half Past Nine’ actually started off as a really basic, and quite bad, demo that I started before my trip to LA in 2018. When I had my first session with Boyboy, I played it for him and he saw the potential for it to be something really cool, so we worked on it together, and once we had finished he had made it sound 17 times cooler.

TB: ‘Somebody Loves You’ is another clear standout thanks to it’s vivid storyline that hears you confess your feelings for someone that already has a partner and hoping that they are loved and respected in the way you would. So what is your favourite lyric in this song?

CW: I think I would have to say my favourite line is “I guess you’ll never know that your eyes are my favourite shade of blue” because it’s so heartbreaking, and I’m all for a sad heart wrenching song haha. 

TB: ’Don’t Tell Me’ gave me some major Robyn meets Dagny vibes with it’s pulsating synth production and smooth pop melodies. So who or what have been some massive inspirations for this EP?

CW: Wow thank you! What a huge compliment! They’re both incredible artists, and Dagny is definitely an artist who I’ve been listening to a lot. I try to not take too much inspiration from artists just so I don’t end up with a result that’s too similar to anything, but some artists that I listened to over the course of the EP’s creation are Astrid S, King Princess, Conan Gray, and The 1975. The 80’s also had a pretty big influence across the EP in general, and if it wasn’t already obvious I wish i grew up in the 80’s *laughs*.

TB: What song on the EP took the longest to hone and articulate its sound, and why? 

CW: ‘Don’t Tell Me’ actually took the longest to get right and that mainly comes down to the fact that I actually didn’t have my project in mind when writing it, so the sounds and production wasn’t exactly my sound. When we decided we wanted to release it, we basically changed up the whole feel of the production, and because the producer Carl Ryden lives in LA, it was a lot of back and forth. But we got there, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

TB: The music video for ‘Love Me For Me’ is especially hard-hitting as it reflects on mental health and sees you giving multiple different people a platform to tell their stories of strength. So how emotional was that shoot, cause I can imagine it would’ve felt pretty raw and powerful at the same time?

CW: It was definitely a heart breaking experience just to hear how much pain and hardship people have gone through. But like you said, also an extremely powerful one to see how strong we are capable of being, and seeing how resilient we can be. We are so much more powerful than we realise, and creating this video gave me a greater insight into that. 

TB: 2020 has been an exceptionally hard year on everyone. So how have you tried to make sure you look after your mental health during this time?

CW: I’ve just really tried to do more things for myself. I’ve learnt to say no to things I just don’t want to do, and I’ve learnt that it’s more than okay to put yourself first. Once you make that decision, everything feels a lot lighter and you enjoy life more!

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions, you ready? 

CW: Born ready!

TB: The emoji that best describe my debut EP ‘Half Past Nine’ is…

CW: The 9:30 clock emoji *laughs*. 

TB: A TV show I’ve binged during lockdown has been…

CW: Friends!

TB: The colour of my toothbrush currently is…

CW: Pink with Black bristles.

TB: My morning ritual involves…

CW: To be honest I’m always running late, so my mornings include a lot of me rushing around trying to get ready and leave as quickly as possible.

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

CW: Where it belongs!

‘Half Past Nine’ is out NOW!