“PRAYER TO THE BLACK MADONNA” BY CARL CHESNA: FIRST EP RELEASED
If you solely know Carl Chesna as a realtor you are missing out. Chesna is an accomplished musician, writing and performing music that lingers.
Last week, Chesna released two tracks from his upcoming album “Prayer to the Black Madonna.” With vocal harmonies by the soulful Andrea Harbison, the folk-pop genre song is energetic and thoughtful.
I spoke with Chesna – nominated for Asbury Music Awards in 2010 and 2012 for “Top Male Acoustic” – about his lifelong passion for music.
TBP: Your voice gives so much meaning to the words you sing. How long have you been working on “This Night” and “We Drift Apart,” the first two songs from your album?
Chesna: I have been working on this album’s concept and content for about 15 years. Ridiculous, I know. But it was changing all the time and the business was changing dramatically and music is always changing, so I abandoned the project for a while and focused on performing. That is a very unconventional strategy but when I discuss it with musician friends they’re all like, “maybe I’ll do that my next record.”
Writing and performing music is cathartic for me as an artist but as a listener – maybe even more powerful as a listener. My entire mood can change listening to a song. Music is used in therapy, in healing, in prayer. It is math. We are electric beings. I think the ninety-something percent of our brain that scientists say we do not use understands music a lot better than we realize.
TBP: What are you saying with your new album?
Chesna: It was first going to be a concept album about the feminine archetype throughout religious history in multiple cultures. Songs like “Whore of Babylon” and “Wintertime Greys” fit perfectly into that theme, but it was getting to be more of an exercise of futility rather than a labor of love to write an entire album with one theme.
So it has become more of an anthology of my music over that past 15 years. I believe as an artist that you should not have to give into the idea that you must be a brand to be successful. There is no formula or rules to how you have to present your message.
I am releasing the music over a two year period with nine singles in total. When you put the cover art of the nine singles together like a tic-tac-toe board, you have the complete album cover. That was actually Jenna Zilincar’s idea from M Studio.
TBP: I do not think I have ever asked you – how did you start playing music?
Chesna: When my brother gave me my first guitar when I was seven years old.
TBP: You spoke earlier about how the business of music has changed dramatically over the past ten years thanks to the internet. Today every artist seemingly has to have a social media presence. You are on Twitter and have some fancy pants fans.
Chesna: You are talking about Yoko Ono. She has followed me for years. She is an inspiration in that she has got a Top 10 dance record at the age of 80. And also in the risks she took as an artist since the beginning of her career. If you ever read the liner notes to her greatest hits record they are priceless.
Chesna’s first extended play is available on iTunes, Amazon, etc. More at CarlChesna.com.