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Carissa Plumm Chapman

About Carissa Plumm Chapman: Carissa Plumm Chapman: Bio

From the moment you hear Carissa Plumm Chapman’s music you realize that you are listening to something different. Whether it’s the tight jazz-influenced harmonies, or a hint of Latin clave in the drums, or another tune’s country twang undercurrent, her music has an unmistakable edge—while still remaining upbeat, pop-rock. Most recently, she has been generating an increasing online buzz, has written for a successful singer in L.A. and Hawaii, received numerable songwriting competition honors, including Song of the Year (finalist, several honorable mentions) and Billboard’s World Song Contest (two-time honorable mention.), and has had airplay/been podcast on the Feminine Groove, Nette Radio, Local Music Cafe, and iRadio LA.

However, Carissa’s music career almost didn’t happen. After moving to Hawaii, she began working professionally as an actress; in an independent film, several Universal Hawaii features, commercials, and in musical theater, winning a “Best Actress” award for her performance in Studs Terkel’s musical, Working. Eventually, she grew tired of being a “big fish in a small pond” and moved to L.A., continuing her career in film, t.v., and theater for a short period. Until, by chance, she met a female singer interested in her songwriting (particularly her co-writing with Davo Coria, who worked with Shiela E and Pete Escovedo.) The singer asked Carissa to write some songs for her and she accepted—not realizing how much she would love the experience. No longer just a co-writer, she started writing for herself—and never looked back. In a sense, “I found my soul mate in songwriting,” Carissa recalls.

Since that chance, completely random encounter, Carissa has been focused on music exclusively: studying, playing, writing and recording constantly. Which is not entirely surprising, for someone who has always gone with the flow. Born in the Bay Area to a military family, she relocated constantly. A friend turned her on to music and it became a lifelong interest. She began dance lessons with the Oakland Ballet Company; they ended up offering her the chance to study further and work into a full-time position which she declined in favor of travel. Later she accompanied her friend to a job interview for a flight attendant position, and the interviewer convinced her to sign on as well, where she worked all over Europe. Then there was the one-way ticket that turned into a seven-year stay in Hawaii. Throughout all these journeys, the one constant has been her songs. Which (of course), possess that same open, take-life-as-it-comes flow.

Carissa’s music is also influenced by the ocean (“I could never live anywhere far away from the ocean”), visual influences like the great painters, and nature. Likewise, her lyrics have a compelling visual element. When she states, “you’re pouring all that water on my plans and schemes, You think you’re dousing out all my fire, Aversions and diversions don’t discourage me, Cause all you’re doing is raising up more steam”, in your mind’s eye, you can see the imagery. And while she’s influenced by everyone from Beck to Fiona Apple, and has been compared to Cindy Lauper, there is one common denominator in all of it: it’s just good music.

Carissa has a very relaxed attitude towards life, and her songwriting seems to work best that way, too. Most times, her songs seem to come together all at once—she often hears the melody, most of the lyrics—and even a title—all at once; often hearing the song through from beginning to end. She’ll then take some time to rewrite it on her acoustic, tool with the lyrics, but one thing she won’t do is beat a song to death: “I rewrite songs quite a bit, but, there’s a point where you have to stop or you just end up ruining the song…it’s like a painting, if you keep working it to death, you can really mess it up, or lose the concept of the song altogether.”

Carissa is currently pursuing an independent record label deal (but, major will do just fine, too.) She is also signed with a licensing/publishing company (for one of her songs), who is talking with several film production companies and she continues to be approached by an increasing number of venues for performances in the L.A. area. She is constantly building her audience via her myspace page (www.myspace.com/birdsniteout), the many contests she’s placed in and the airplay she is receiving; most recently she was accepted at a website where she will self-license her music and sell it: www.youlicense.com. You can also visit her Web Award; site for Song of the Year at http://www.songoftheyear.com/webawards/b/birdsniteout.htm.

Carissa is affliliated with BMI and SAG.

As usual, Carissa is taking things as they come. We’re just happy that she’s writing about them.

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