Human beings are amazing at adapting to new situations and environments: We are so often able to find the good in the bad, to make gains from loss. Brenda Carsey’s new single “Don’t Sell Yourself” is the perfect example of that kind of evolutionary skill at work as the artist grounds and centers herself, commiting to integrity in an anthemic outburst of self-knowing.
You see my fellow man, very long time ago
I decided to relieve myself
from having my spirit sucked dry
Be free and be myself, even if I lose some wealth
In time I hope you realize you’ll see
the answer behind your closed eyes
Don’t sell yourself
Listen: “Don’t Sell Yourself” – Brenda Carsey[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/313929622?secret_token=s-yHYy0″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=true&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Don’t Sell Yourself,” the lead single off Brenda Carsey’s first full-length studio album, Solitary Refinement (independently out later 2017). The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist comes to life through vibrant lyricism and graceful piano melodies, introducing herself with a sound that may well lend her the title of “the female Billy Joel.”
Supported by her band the Awe, Brenda Carsey weaves a song of strength, asserting her fortitude and independence: “I decided to relieve myself from having my spirit sucked dry,” she sings in the opening verse. Indeed, “Don’t Sell Yourself” is a middle finger to the facelessness of our capitalist society. Carsey breaks from the herd, addressing the decline in virtue, morality and human decency that leads corporations to treat humans like sheep, rather than people.
You want me to play the game
Sell my soul for change, and you won’t apologize. No
Use my energy for your own gain
How can you expect me to live with that. No
“‘Don’t Sell Yourself’ was birthed out of my experience of being unexpectedly laid off from my 9 to 5 office job I had been working at for two years,” Carsey reflects. “Additionally, because of the loss of income, I lost my apartment. With no work and no home I felt lost and confused, unsure of my next steps in life and how to become or feel successful. As I pondered life and direction, I had a major moment of clarity behind the piano and this song poured out. It is the confident acknowledgement that I do not want to give all of my precious moments of life to a company that can so easily throw someone out on the street, that I do not want to sell myself doing work I am not inspired by or proud of simply for money.”
Carsey was left high and dry, abandoned by an institution she had given two years of her life to, only to be blindsided in the worst possible way. Rather than lead her to feel jaded, her bad experience enlightened her: She found a reason to be thankful, both in life and through song. “[‘Don’t Sell Yourself’] is the joyous realization that being let go of my job was a blessing in disguise. Although scary and disorienting, it was an opportunity to really reflect on myself and step onto a path of creativity and truth. This song is the first song on the album and the first single because it began my journey and brought me to where I am.”
And who is Brenda Carsey, exactly? She is a resilient, strong-willed spirit who gives herself to her music, instilling in it love and pain, memory and hope, regret and nostalgia. Together, Brenda Carsey & the Awe blend colorful textures with vibrant melodies, dabbling in rock, pop, soul, R&B and more to offer a full-bodied musical performance that stays with us long after the chord is struck.
Connect with Brenda Carsey through her socials below, and don’t miss her on tour this summer — full dates below! “Don’t Sell Yourself” is a fiery lead single that promises only good things to come from Carsey’s forthcoming album Solitary Refinement, but it’s also a profound showing of the artist’s self-awareness: She has found her voice and her place, and now there’s nothing stopping her from following her dreams. She may not have intended it, but Brenda Carsey is an inspiration.
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cover © Jess Giles @yourintimatenoise image text/layout © Michael J. Salter