Carissa Vales’ playlist
After years of hard work, the Montreal-based singer is seeing results in big ways.
A chain reaction was set off after she won over producer Hugo Diaz of the Diaz Brothers who are known for jump-starting Pitbull’s career and for recording Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, P Diddy and 50 Cent.
With Hugo in her corner, Carissa packed her bags and was off to Miami to make an album.
“When I walked into this you can say I was a little intimidated,” she admits. “I knew they were big producers. I was blessed with the opportunity and the team was awesome to work with. Our visions matched and that feeling is incredible. I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”
The final product is Burning Your Love, a collection of pulsating pop songs all penned by Carissa herself.
“It surprises people when they find out that I write my songs,” Carissa says. “It’s funny how we don’t really associate pop music with singer-songwriters. Look at pop artists like Katy Perry. She writes her own songs, and that’s often overlooked.”
Carissa has set herself apart from the average songwriter by blurring language barriers and composing her tunes in three languages.
“Singing in English, French and Spanish can be a challenge, but it’s also natural for me. My father is Mexican and my mother is Québecoise, so I grew up speaking the three languages. It’s always been a part of my life.”
The combo of Carissa’s songwriting skills and raw talent has earned her international attention. The girl even landed TV time on CNN.
The foreign recognition has her heart gushing with gratitude, but she says it doesn’t beat the love and appreciation she is getting in Montreal.
“I’m so happy and touched. The support I’m receiving here at home is amazing.”
Earlier this year Carissa’s video for “Reviens-moi,” the French version of her single “Once Again,” made the Top 5 of MusiquePlus’ Grand Décompte Musimax (that’s MuchMusic’s French language sister station).
“I grew up watching MusiquePlus, so this really is a dream come true. I remember coming home from school and waiting for the top video countdown and if I didn’t make it in time, I recorded it on VHS. Remember those?” she laughs.“Seeing my video played on the station and making the top 5 is really exciting.”
Carissa’s latest payoff for all the blood, sweat and tears is a merited spot alongside multi-million selling recording icon Lara Fabian in Montreal Pride’s The Diva Den showcase.
Carissa also made the lineup for Canada’s biggest hot air balloon festival L’International de Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, an event previously headlined by superstars Rihanna, Adam Lambert, the Backstreet Boys, Meghan Trainor, Ke$ha, LMFAO, Pitbull and Charlie Puth.
“I’ve been working so hard and these outcomes feel so good,” Carissa sighs in relief. “I can see it all happening.”
To match her multi-language album Burning Your Love, Carissa made this trilingual playlist of artists who influence her songwriting.
Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
“James is an Irish singer-songwriter who I wish I could write like. His lyrics are amazing. He is very talented.”
Blue Jeans – Lana Del Rey
“Lana is another singer-songwriter that I admire. She is an inspiration. I love her song ‘Blue Jeans.’ It’s one of my favorites.”
Mappemonde – Les soeurs Boulay
“I love Les soeurs Boulay and ‘Mappemonde’ is a really pretty song.”
Ficelles – Ingrid St-Pierre
“This song is very emotional. I like that about Ingrid.”
A Cambio De Que – Jenni Rivera
“’A Cambio De Que’ is a great song originally performed by Mexican singer Marisela. The late Jenni Rivera covered this song in 2011.”
Como la Flor – Selena
“My all-time favorite Spanish song. I performed an acoustic version that you can find on my Youtube channel. The original is much more upbeat and dynamic, but I wanted to try something new.”
Carissa performs in Montreal alongside Lara Fabian in Montreal Pride’s The Diva Den showcase on Friday August, 12 at 8 p.m. at Place Émilie-Gamelin. Click here for more info.
Carissa also takes the stage with other artists including Redfoo of LMFAO, Metric, OMI, Francesco Yates and Half Moon Run at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu’s International Hot Air Balloon Festival (L’International de Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) on Saturday, August 20. See the complete festival lineup here.