We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrington Kelso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrington, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has been one of the greatest teachers for me and my artistic career. I risked moving away from home , family, and friends in 2010 to go to a college that many hadn’t heard of. It ended up being one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I joined an amazing show choir, taught myself guitar, and fell in love with performing. In 2018, I risked a job I was making 5 figures at to see my idol perform at a legendary music festival; that festival was BEYCHELLA. I ended up losing my job, but that festival reminded me of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life…perform. As I’ve continued to traverse the music industry, I’ve seen time and time again that when I take risks, and bet on myself, I always come out on the other side better than I was before. I know that to sit amongst the greats I have to take risks, no matter how terrifying. I trust myself and my gifts to carry me through the doors I need to walk though, risks and all.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At my core, I am a storyteller. I love using music as a medium to tell my story. Besides my unique voice, I believe that my story telling is what sets me apart from so many other artists. Looking back at all the music I’ve released thus far, lyrics are what I take the most pride in.
This journey has been anything but easy for me. I was raised by a single mother and a God-fearing Grandmother. They loved on me something serious and instilled in me the belief that I am a leader, never a follower. That ideal has stuck with me more than any other lesson in my life and has kept me on track for accomplishing anything I set my mind to.
Besides growing up in a single parent household, I am a Queer, Black man growing up in America. The constant pressure of racism and homophobia creates a unique PTSD that is hard to put into words. As I’ve gotten older and witnessed more of what my mother tried her best to shield me from, I’ve developed what I believe is high functioning anxiety. The senseless murders of people who look like me, coupled with the paralyzing truth of the systematic racism set to keep people like me “in their place” is infuriating to say the least. I refuse to harp on it through because I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got people to reach, and I’ve got a story to tell. Nothing has been easy for me, but if my truth can take away even a little bit of the burden for someone else, it will have been worth it.
My journey as an artist has been a series of trial and error offset by some wonderful mentors who have been kind enough to share their wisdom with me. I learned so much by just trying, putting one foot in front of the other, and getting that much better every day. It’s not easy releasing art into the world and feeling like it’s not getting the recognition you believe it deserves, but I love what I do so I persevere. I know that things will click into place when they’re supposed to and when they do, I’ll be ready. Patience is key.
All that being said, I want the world to know that my brand, my core, is love. They need to know that when they come to my shows, or listen to my music, that it’s all love. My mom did an amazing job of making any space she’s in feel like home, and I aspire to make art that does the same. That’s all I want.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was coming into town for a week I would definitely start with the Halcyon in Alpharetta, Ga. It is one of my favorites places to visit for coffee, food, live music and beer! Next stop would be the city for sure! The High Museum of Art is one of my favorite places to visit in Atlanta. I feel so inspired walking around and soaking in all the different cultures from each exhibit! After that I’d take them to Ponce City Market; an Atlanta staple that I never get tired of. Shopping, eating, drinking, the whole nine yards haha. If my friend is not worn out after all that then I’d take them back to my next of the woods, Suwanee, Ga. The town center in Suwanee has some AMAZING events (post-COVID) including wine fest, beer fest, live music, Still Fire Brewery, and so much more! I love that area! I also have a soft spot for Savannah, Ga. I went to school at Georgia Southern University (the REAL GSU) and we were ALWAYS in Savannah. I love the culture, the food, and the energy of the city. If my friend was down for a little road trip, we’d DEFINITELY stop down there for a few days!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I’d like to shoutout my Mother and Grandmother for raising a kind, loving young man. They are my heart , my soul, my freedom. I would also like to shout out my amazing friends that are too numerous to name, you all know who you are. Thank you for supporting me and my music; for believing in my gifts. Last, but not least, my amazing partner for being here to witness my journey. You all make me a better man.
Kyle Ference (@Kference on IG) Brian Jenosa (@BrianJenosa on IG) Jean Nelson Jr. (@JenJ_Productions on IG)