Ending the year on a high note we had the opportunity to sit down with Todd Carey, the up-and-coming musician and artist for our last interview of the year.  You probably recognize his recent throwback hit, Nintendo but if you don’t, you will soon enough.  This rising star’s eclectic reggae, dubstep, and pop music draw the listener in by creating an atmosphere that suits his best friend and widespread audience alike.  Today’s interview is the gift for your soul that you didn’t know you wanted, but need.  Thanks, Todd and Happy Holidays!

ZJ: Todd, I listened to your song Nintendo and my immediate reactions were to smile,


Old school Nintendo! [pic: @toddcarey Instagram]

giggle, feel lighthearted and have visions of my first childhood crush, when I played old school Nintendo and other things of this sort.  What was your intention behind the song and its lyrics, and was it directed at any particular person?

TC: Hi! And thanks so much for sitting with me for the interview.

One of my favorite things about “Nintendo” is that of the thousands of songs I’ve written; it seems to have the ability to communicate it’s intention very clearly. Your response is a perfect example to me, because yes, all of these emotions (exuberance, nostalgia, warmth) made their way into the song as I wrote it.

As a writer, you try and draw upon personal experience and circumstance to create truth, while simultaneously creating something that will hopefully relate to your listener!

ZJ: I read that Nintendo is the song for which you are most known, but which song, in your opinion, is your best to date?

TC: I think again, it’s been the most successful at cutting straight to the listener and audience. My best or favorite song changes daily though haha! Right now I’m enjoying performing “My Kind of Crazy.”

ZJ: Many of your songs seem to incorporate elements of reggae and dub step, would you say that’s true?  (If not what is the main musical foundation/ influence of your songs?)  If so, from where do you derive this inspiration?

TC: I would TOTALLY say that is true. And I really can’t account for it other than just LOVING reggae, dub, and ska ever since I was young. I think that goes even broader, music that conveys joy or warmth or celebration just always speaks to me very loudly.

ZJ: Which artists have been the greatest influence on your musical evolution?

TC: Growing up, it was old-school Rock and Roll and Pop. The Beatles and Elvis Presley were huge for me early. As I grew up, I tried to deep-dive into every genre I could. Classic Rock, Hip Hop, Pop, Jazz, R&B, Jam Bands, Grunge. You name it; I’m down!

ZJ: You’ve been making music for a while.  At what point did you enter the social media scene, and was the primary intention?

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-2-29-40-pmTC: When I began my presence on social media it was strictly to communicate my music with my audience. I remember the first month Twitter launched, and I immediately knew it was something that would be GREAT for my music. The happy accident is that social media has taken on a life of it’s own for me. And because I had this really true and clear connection to my audience through music, all the periphery (brand development, photography, lifestyle, sponsorships) developed entirely naturally.

ZJ: When did you begin seeing a significant following on social media, and which platform(s)?

TC: I remember the first month Twitter launched, and I immediately knew it was something that would be GREAT to connect with my audience. It was an extremely gradual build. At first, just me talking to a few thousand followers. But REALLY talking to them, being there every day through their lives. I tried to respond to EVERY tweet I could. And in turn, my audience was there though my life as my music career developed and got bigger. A few years in things REALLY jumped. A few thousand Twitter followers turned into 200k, and then with the success of my music, it became 1.5 million followers today. That translated to large followings on Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Facebook etc.

ZJ: What kind of influence do you think your music has an influence on your fans and listeners?  Do you find this translates over to social engagement?

TC: I think it gives me and my audience a foundation and a jumping off point. As the subject matter moves beyond the music on social media, it is the underlying force that brought us together in the first place. Again, I want to emphasize that because I’ve treated Twitter, unlike any other artist I’ve seen, literally responding to EVERY tweet for years. There is a level of trust and engagement that goes REALLY deep. So yes, we’ve developed an emotional connection, and yes, it translates to engagement.

ZJ: Have brands asked you to promote their products as a social media influencer?  If so, can you share any experience you’ve had and your impression of it?screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-2-28-06-pm

TC: I’ve had many brands ask to work with me via social media. I have chosen a few that I felt fit into the dynamic of what I’ve created and those instances have been incredibly fun, and successful. The first example that comes to mind was the campaign I did with Southwest Airlines.

As I musician; travel is a MAJOR part of my lifestyle, and I’ve worked that into the forefront of my audience engagement over the years. So working with Southwest was a perfect extension of that. It felt real and natural. I participated in an event that showcased a new airplane and performed aboard the inaugural flight at 35 thousand feet! The flight attendants announced my album launch over the intercom haha! It was exciting and different and the engagement was off the charts. Proud to say I have led their campaigns in impressions.

Food has been another part of my branding. I did a campaign for Oreo this summer that had my audience (and me) drooling!

ZJ: How do you see influencer marketing shaping the music industry as a whole?  For example, people making music on YouTube or other social platforms, becoming famous that way instead of the traditional way?

TC: My personal belief is this – an artist can reach an audience through a wide variety of channels. Social media is an obvious path as it levels the playing field and invites the audience to decide on the content they’d like to see. I’m ALL for this type of dialogue! I’m proud to be part of it. And of course, it has completely changed the way a multitude of industries operate – entertainment, advertising are just two examples in a very wide spectrum.

ZJ: Is there an experience you can share about how you have directly helped someone through your music?  Through social media?

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-2-28-38-pmTC:  I ran a campaign for my breast cancer organization called “Todd for Tatas.”  My mom fought the disease, and we raised money for several groups dedicated to breast cancer.

ZJ: Favorite quote?

TC: “Only those who will risk going too far can find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot quotes

ZJ: Daily mantra?

TC: Focus on the big picture

ZJ: What is your favorite thing to do outside of making music?

TC: Travel, take pictures and eat amazing food.

ZJ: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

TC: Doing what I’m doing on an exponentially higher level.

ZJ: What is your biggest dream in life? 

TC: Living it and grateful for it!