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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "I'm Still Here" - Kristin Carter

After stomping and belting through fiery country pop between 2018 and 2020, Kristin Carter spent the past three years quietly pouring her heart into songwriting. Now, the Vancouver artist returns with her first offering of new material. "I'm Still Here" is a delicate rebirth, yet resists ephemeral haziness with her transfixing voice. Ironically, Carter's pop ode to resilience in the face of struggle forged its style from tribulation. After realizing the original instrumental for "I'm Still Here" was unusable, the Canadian singer/songwriter recorded layers of vocal instrumentation in her bedroom. The purely acapella track finds its strength squarely from within, proving Carter's indomitable spirit. The background vocals swell like a church organ in the opening verse, guided by a ringing falsetto. As the contemporary pop artist wields her powerful, choir-trained voice with passionate control, "I'm Still Here" transcends the presumed limitations of an acapella track. Even when you have to throw out everything you've worked on, the act of persevering means you've lost nothing.

The universal appeal of Carter's writing evoke an anthemic quality. "A phoenix from the fire, flying higher and higher," she sings with enough passion to match the mythical iconography of resilience. The declarative force behind the titular phrase could easily be imagined as a roaring cry over booming drums and guitars. But over gentle beds of vocal harmonies, Carter lets the power radiate from her words rather than squeezing it out. "I'm enough on my own!" Each line practically glows with reverence, a quality not possible with conventional instrumentation. "I didn't think that I could reappear," she sings. Her voice glows with a quiet pride, knowing she'll never doubt her own endurance again.

"Full Bloom" is the title of Kristin Carter's upcoming, debut album, reflecting the artistic blossoming she has undergone over the span of her life. The 12-track project arrives in the spring of 2024, featuring an ambitious spread of contemporary pop-leaning songs. Growing up in a choir, Carter trained her voice to be the powerful and versatile instrument it is today. After she began writing music of her own, the Vancouver-based artist made a name for herself in country music through Sirius XM's Top of the Country contest. After her second year ranking as a semi-finalist, Carter released her debut single, "Karma," to fast success. "I'm Still Here" represents a revitalized spirit, ready to showcase her wide-ranging talent on her most ambitious project yet.

Written By Andy M.

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