Singer-songwriter and guitarist Mikaelle Cartright was born in New York, and grew up in Haiti, and currently resides in New York. Her low-key jazzy style and her sensuous voice will have you believe that she took voice and singing lessons from an assortment of singing greats like Sarah Vaughan, Etta Jones, Nancy Harrow, and Dina Washington.
Kreyolicious: What if you could create a special board of singers to help guide you and advise you, who would you include, and why?
Mikaelle Cartright: Alicia Keys. I respect her as a person and I feel like she has stayed so true to herself. I want what she’s has, the way she has it. Eartha Kitt. She was so in control. I love her attitude and firmness. I’m a lot like that. You’d be surprised how rough I can be. She always found the right balance. Nina Simone, for all those reasons. Such an amazing sense of self. Pharell Williams. He is his own person. He’s branded himself so well. I want that. To be more than a singer. To be a household name. A brand.
Kreyolicious: What’s the latest with you? Where do you hope to take your career?
Mikaelle Cartright: I am letting myself loose of others expectations. The last couple years in New York have allowed me to find my voice with out the constant, “you need to do this or that” from Ayisyen I was dealing with back home. Sorry, but Ayisyen pa vle kite atis viv [Haitians don’t allow artists to thrive]. They think that they are going to tell the artist what to do instead of allowing what is within said artist to emerge. Since New York, I’ve tapped into what I really want to do. My cup overflowing with songs and ideas has slowly been poured out, creating space for a whole new set of creativity to take place. I’m almost done with an EP that with serve as a showcase of my many talents and whichever sound does best, will give me a better idea of where to aim for commercial success. Honestly, I like the simple things. The shows that require less. But hey, if people want loud and wild, guess what? I can do that too. I want to go far in music, write for films and TV shows, and make a name for myself as more than just a pretty face or voice.
Kreyolicious: Do you think that there’s going to be a time when music will be about everything but the music?
Mikaelle Cartright: Commercial music is most definitely already there. It’s a shame what’s happened to hip hop and RnB. That’s why I’m not aiming for the commercial music radar. Thankfully, there’s a million genres out there. I’ll be very happy to have a few thousand dedicated fans for the next fifteen years, over a stadium full every night for just a few years. There will always be music, just for music’s sake. That’s where we all started. The industry can’t shut that off.
Kreyolicious: What if you could handpick seven other women to create an album with? Who would you include?
Mikaelle Cartright: Emeline Michel, Ti Corn, Melissa Dauphin, Alicia Keys, Dobet Gnahore, Maria de Barros, Maya Azucena.
Did you miss PART I of the interview with singer Mikaelle Cartright? CLICK HERE to read it!