Carmen Smith is the self-confessed funky soul sister who caught our attention with her super-cool singing style on hit TV show The Voice.
After a memorable early exit from the competition – she was disqualified for her performance on Guy Sebastian’s video clip for his track Gold - Carmen is back on the scene with her first funky single They Don't Know Me.
We chatted to the singer to find out how her life has changed after The Voice and where she hopes to take her new solo career.
Congratulations on your first single! How does it feel to have it released?
Thank you, I'm so excited about it. I love the track and what it stands for — individuality and independence. It's been a long, hard road to get here but every hard moment makes it all worthwhile.
They Don’t Know Me is a pretty funky track, what was the inspiration behind it?
The song kind of wrote itself. I heard the guitar riff and beat and just started humming melodies and within a few hours, I had written the song. Trust me, it's not always like that, but some songs are just meant to be written.
How has your life changed since appearing on The Voice?
Drastically. Not so much the fame but it really changed me on the inside. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and respect a part of myself that I had put to the side for many years.
I will always be grateful for my time on the show for that. I am working harder than ever to show people what I am about and that excites me.
You had a pretty dramatic exit from the show, how did you feel about that at the time?
At the time it felt dramatic. I mean, nobody wants to be disqualified from a show, especially at the point where you feel like you are ready to bloom. It was a tough blow for me, but there was no time for self-pity.
I had to get ready to go on the road with Guy. As they say, the show must go on. I felt a change in me when all the drama went down, like an inner strength I never knew I had.
What is it like to be on the road with Guy Sebastian?
Well, I have toured with Guy for years but the Armageddon Tour — his most recent — was especially amazing for me. I mean, Guy's fans seemed to embrace me with such love it was overwhelming.
The moment when we sang Gold together was epic. I'll never forget the roar that song brought from the audience. It was a special time. Guy is a supreme vocalist and talent, but also a great friend. He has always encouraged me and there is a lot of trust between us on stage. I don't trust him backstage, he's a prankster!
Has he heard your new single? What does he think of it?
He has, he sent me a message about it and really, any compliment from Guy I'll take. He does not give them away freely.
Who is your favourite Australian performer to work with?
All of them for different reasons. Guy, Stan Walker, Jess Mauboy, Diesel, I love them all. People know them as faces on television or "famous" but I know them as super talented friends/family.
What can we expect to see from you next?
Well, I have just released my single and EP They Don't Know Me and I'm going to be doing some acoustic shows with my friend Diana Rouvas.
I am working on putting some live band shows together because performing live is what I do best. Whatever I do, I'll be keeping it cool and funky!