August 31, 2012

Summerfest Sessions: Alexa Carter

Alexa Carter stopped by the UniqueSquared Mobile Studio during Summerfest 2012.

Touring with Staind frontman Aaron Lewis and slated to head out on the road with him once again, big things are happening for singer and recording artist Alexa Carter. With the release of The Ballerina EP earlier this spring, she is headed back into the studio to record her first full length album. Without pigeonholing Alexa Carter into a particular genre, she likes to describe her sound from those artists which influence her like OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles.

For the session we used the Sennheiser e935 Cardioid Dynamic Microphones for the vocals in the tracking room. The guitars were tracked using the Sennheiser e914 instrument microphones. All of the microphones were running into the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 FireWire interface and live sound mixer. The StudioLive was then routed to Pro Tools 10 via a single FireWire cable. Within Pro Tools 10 we used their extensive sets of plug ins but generally stuck to their phenomenal reverb plug ins to bring out the sounds of the acoustic guitar and vocals.

After the session, I sat down with Alexa to talk about studio experiences, touring with Aaron Lewis, and her thoughts on the UniqueSquared Mobile Studio.

So tell me who you are and where you are from.

I’m Alexa Carter. I’m from Biloxi, Mississippi. All the way from the dirty south, and I live in Nashville now. I used to live in New York.

What are you doing here in Milwaukee?

I’m in Milwaukee doing Summerfest. I just got done playing, sweating, and came over to sing a little acoustic version of “Help This Hurt.” Then I’m going to go watch some bands after this. Get my party on.

How was the show today?

The show was awesome. It was really hot and I was sweating like crazy, but the crowd really responded and people actually danced when I asked them to. The whole entire band had a blast and we were just being idiots up there and going crazy. It just took me awhile to cool down after.

How would you describe your sound?

Well I hate genres or when people ask me what genre are you. I really try to just describe the artists who inspire me, like Brandi Carlile and OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles. I guess the easiest way to describe it to people is it’s kind of pop rock and a little Americana.

So tell me how touring is going? What do you have coming up?

Last year I opened for Aaron Lewis and did sort of an acoustical tour thing with him. This year I just found out that I’m going to open for him again. We’re going to New Orleans to start it out and I’m so excited I get to open for him again. Hopefully we’ll go back in the studio after that and work on the full album.

So tell me about your EP?

We finally got, The Ballerina EP out to have something to give to everyone on the road and we’re going to go back in and make the whole album.

Tell me about the experience recording the EP?

In a studio I get into the songs a bit more. You can do whatever you want in the studio. I love a studio that I can feel free to try and hit some notes and I don’t feel dumb if I don’t hit them. I guess I feel more comfortable when you’re recording an EP or an album. You feel like it’s your spot. You’re more comfortable and you can do anything.

What do you think of the UniqueSquared Mobile Studio?

I think it’s great. I loved it when I walked on because it was cold in here, but my band is having a field day with your guitars. This is really really nice. It was not what I was expecting. I don’t know how you guys got this together on the bus but it’s amazing.

What are some of the things you value when it comes to your vocals going through a microphone?

I guess clarity. You know it’s all about hearing myself and hearing my voice loud and clear. That’s all I really look for in it. I don’t prefer one mic over another. I can sing into anything. I feel like I can stop worrying and really sing my heart out and get into the songs. I just get happy that I can lose myself and sing.

To find out more about Alexa Carter, head on over to her website.

To learn more about the gear used in the session, go to