As lead vocalist for The Heartstring Hunters, Carolyn Hunter has charmed folk lovers with her angelic tone.
A sought-out talent of the Front Range, she’s collaborated with Thom LaFond of Banshee Tree, toured with Daniel Rodriguez — formerly of Elephant Revival — and sang on his 2020 album “Sojourn of a Burning Sun.”
Her latest solo release, “Lovelight,”— out Friday— shows a different side of the animated songstress.
Steeped in synth-pop, Hunter’s debut album takes a detour from the indie folk she’s known for delivering. But, beneath the head-nodding beats, there is still much poetic prowess and chilling harmonies.
Seductive, empowering and brimming with girl power, the eight-track album — recorded at Longmont’s Wolf Den Studios — offers a polished collection of songs that are every bit as dreamy as they are well-crafted.
Hunter’s adoration for electronic accoutrements shines on “Lovelight” in a way that makes listeners question why she wasn’t dipping into this genre all along.
At times, it’s reminiscent of English trip-hoppers Zero 7. At others, Hunter seems to channel a rich R&B flavor of the early 2000s, particularity on “Goodbye to the Rain.”
From pining love songs to danceable tunes, the album is just as much about finding your voice as it is knowing when and how to use it.
Hunter’s inclination for showbiz surfaced early on when she was cast as the lead role in a touring production of “Annie” at age 12. After graduating from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, Hunter taught herself guitar and embraced the troubadourian life of a folk singer.
Recently, she joined Katie Boeck in October for a run of shows at the Dairy Arts Center that paid tribute to Joni Mitchell’s iconic album “Blue.”
We caught up with the soulful creative to find out more about the inspiration behind her album, what artists she credits with helping shape her sound and how she plans to spend this winter.
Kalene McCort: I’m really loving your recently released single “Giving Myself to You.” What inspired this track and would you say the experience of writing and recording it was cathartic?
Carolyn Hunter: Thank you. I wrote this tune after a series of collisions with a frontman of a band. My feelings were badly hurt. I was pissed that he didn’t acknowledge or validate my experience. I was pissed that no one around me did, either. I felt that his power and influence allowed him to treat me the way that he did. Writing this song allowed me to take my power back. To take something really sad and serious and turn it into good art that’s playful and fun — it’s the ultimate catharsis. To sing out loud all the things you never got to say.
KM: What can folks expect from your upcoming release “Lovelight?”
CH: Desire, longing, love, evolving sexuality, sensuality and electronic beats. A dreamworld of my most intimate reflections. Hopefully an exploration of their own desires. I would say it sounds most like Maggie Rogers, HAIM or Taylor’s “Folklore.”
Here’s something I just read that sums it up so well: “The youthful naive nature begins to understand that if there is a secret something, if there is a shadow something, if there is a forbidden something, it needs to be looked into.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” “Lovelight” is all about the “looking into” the rewilding.
KM: Can we look forward to any album release shows or gigs along the Front Range?
CH: Really hoping for something in the spring. Fingers crossed. And they can look forward to a music video for “Felt Like Love” coming out on Monday, Dec. 6.
KM: Who are some artists who had a profound impact on you growing up, and would you consider any of these performers influences?
CH: Natalie Merchant, The Cranberries (two of my parents favorite artists), Mariah Carey, Leann Rimes, Alanis Morissette, The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Sara Bareilles. So many musicals like “The Last Five Years,” “Spring Awakening,” “Rent.” Then later in life, Joni Mitchell, Elephant Revival, Maggie Rogers. I think all of these performers influenced this album in some way. And books, too. So many characters in so many books.
KM: What are you most looking forward to about winter in Colorado and how do you plan to spend the season?
CH: I’m excited to live in town — in Boulder — this winter. I have been up in Coal Creek Canyon for the last four years, and winters are much more harsh up there. I’m looking forward to settling into a series of poetry that I’m working on, possibly taking language classes and writing more music with my friend and producer of “Lovelight,” Julian Peterson.