Brighton date as Nashville's Candi Carpenter finally gets to tour UK

For Candi Carpenter, all the way from Nashville, her first-ever UK tour is happening at last – including a date at Brighton’s Folklore Rooms on Saturday, September 11 at 7.30pm.

Candi Carpenter
Candi Carpenter

“I remember calling my mum and saying ‘I am finally going to the UK and nothing can stop me now!’ and then a global pandemic hit. I might think it, but I am never going to say ‘Nothing is going to stop me now’ again for as long as I live!”

But now it’s here – an exciting prospect: “I have done so little travelling. I went to a couple of Caribbean islands with my parents, but that really is the limit of my travelling until now.”

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

So why is she so keen to hit the UK?

“I did the test where you spit into a cup and they tell you were you are from. I am European. I have always wanted to visit the UK. I am really into Victorian history. I love that history. And I adore the humour. I grew up on Mr Bean and Keeping Up Appearances!”

The tour comes at an important time for Candi who released her debut solo EP When The Asteroid Comes earlier this year, produced by Grammy Award winner Brandi Carlile who also contributed background vocals to the project.

“I am thrilled for the music to see the light of day. I had counted on the EP in its entirety never coming out. We had finished recording it and there was so much excitement and build-up to the date and everything and then everything came to a standstill. And my UK tour was cancelled. We were beyond excited to finally meet our friends overseas.”

Tough times for performers: “It was helpful to know that I was not alone, but it was also heart-breaking to know that everybody was feeling that way. But actually, it was a creative time for me. I am immersed in creating my first full-length album right now.”

The titles of some of the songs are on the cork board in her Nashville home, and she will even be playing a few songs from the forthcoming album on her UK tour. She admits she is nervous. They are raw. They show her vulnerabilities.

As she says, after all those childhood talent shows doing things which were palatable and acceptable and being rewarded for such, she’s certainly entering different territory now: “I want to live an interesting life, not a fearful life.

“I definitely felt a wave of exhaustion and a little bit of a creative desert for the first couple of months (of the pandemic), but then I had a lot of time to sit and process and learn about myself and take time to heal old wounds that had been open for a long time.

“You just get so busy with work and trying to get to the next level that you just don’t take the time to rest and repair, and I was carrying around a lot of old hurt.”

Past traumas which had left her angry and exhausted: “I felt what I had gone through was incredibly unfair and I felt angry and that hindered me from being who I wanted to be. I spent so much time in therapy that I could have been one of those billionaires racing into space with all the money I used up! But things have changed. I absolutely feel comfortable now in my own skin for the first time. I don’t go to bed with crippling anxiety.

“I found PTSD and anxiety and depression flattening. I found them exhausting. But now I am able to write about it all in a compassionate way.”

So there are certainly going to be surprises on the new album, things that not even her parents know…

Brandi Carlile urged her in that direction with her writing. Carlile urged her to take risks with her vocals. Candi realised it applied to her lyrics too.

“I realised that there were aspects of my personality that I wasn’t sharing and that if I wanted an authentic relationship with people, then I had to. The album that I am writing is vulnerable and raw.”