(Photo courtesy Carrie Akre)
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
If you don’t quite recognize her name, you probably know of the Seattle-based bands she led: Hammerbox, Goodness, or the Rockfords, and you would definitely recognize her voice; soulful and bluesy, but clear as a sunny winter’s day on Puget Sound.
After a break from the music scene and from the West Coast, Carrie returned to West Seattle this year. We sat down with her at the Admiral Bird to discuss the past few years, and what the future holds, professionally, musically, and personally.
Besides writing, playing and singing in bands Akre wrote and produced solo albums including “Invitation” in 2002 and “…Last the Evening” in 2007, efforts that she says left her “burnt crispy” from exhaustion.
“I’m not good about reaching out for help so I became isolated. I didn’t have the right manager and wasn’t clear about knowing what I needed. It takes a lot of emotional stamina to ride the ups and down in this business and I wasn’t taking the time to fuel myself artistically. I finally just sat down and realized I wanted relief and safety.” She also wanted to raise a family, and experience a more-structured lifestyle.
She adds, “I was burnt out on Seattle. I’d lived here for 26 years and felt like I needed something new to escape the history which was a burden rather than a gift at the time. Plus, Seattle was getting more crowded and expensive. We were upside-down on our house, broke, and stressed, so we decided to leave.”
Akre and her husband sold their house in Highland Park and moved with their son to Minneapolis. Their new city “cradled us and we made great friends. It made us closer as a family.”
It was the 10-year anniversary of the music club Neumos that brought Carrie back to Seattle.
A reunion gig with her “Goodness” bandmates in January of this year made Carrie feel that “it was nice to be back in my community—with fans, and other artists. It was time to come home.”
Among other things, “coming home” meant returning to West Seattle: “It’s the only place I was willing to move to in Seattle! I’ve lived everywhere (in the city) and my gut feeling was to live here. It’s a magical little island that contains everything I want or need — killer small businesses and community and parks. I can get away without getting away.”
Having an existing fan base encouraged Akre to pursue performing again; she played the 2014 West Seattle Summer Fest and has multiple upcoming shows. Her event schedule can be found on her website: carrie-akre.com, and includes shows at West Seattle venues.
These shows will help support her latest musical effort, a Kickstarter project, “Single Each Month Club” aimed at funding her while she writes new music.
Asked why she’s developing new music through Kickstarter rather than an established music label, she answered: “With Kickstarter, the project can be small. With labels you may make one penny off each record sale because you have to pay everyone else first. Think about the number of records you have to sell to make money! Also, I don’t want the kind of fame that will affect my family’s life or take anything away from my life.”
Another reason to keep the music projects smaller is so she can develop her vocation as a Life Coach, which she started to explore prior to moving to Minneapolis and developed while working in the corporate world. “I feel like there’s an epidemic of people who feel lost and afraid. If I can be a person to bring transformation and healing to people through classes or music, that’s the job I want!”
Akre is offering a series of “Creative Classes” around West Seattle which she hopes will evolve into a series of workshops with other coaches. Also on tap: developing a podcast featuring a series of interviews with women who are musicians who also have kids.
Asked about memories that stand out from her musical career, Akre answers: “People say to me, ‘Your record saved my life,’ or ‘Your music helped me get through my divorce.’ A mom wrote me a letter that said, ‘You saved my son from killing himself.’ I kept that letter.”
For “Creative Class”-related questions, email Akre at: Carrie.firstname.lastname@example.org