Musicians are creative people. To take notes and mix and meld them into complicated simplicities takes talent, but doing so using an instrument usually slotted for one genre and incorporating it into many others takes more than talent—it takes passion.
“The passion has to be there or else I wouldn’t be able to do this,” says Regina Carter, a Grammy-nominated violinist. “To be a musician, the passion is vital, especially playing music that’s not pop music or part of popular culture.”
Regina doesn’t refer to herself as a jazz violinist. Instead, she embraces nearly every instrument and sound she can get her ears around. As a result, she says, “I have been able to include the love I have had inside jazz with other things.”
Telling stories through music
Regina has studied with violin masters like Itzhak Perlman and Yehudi Menuhin and accompanied such legends as Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton and Max Roach. And throughout her remarkable career, Regina has followed her own path and told her own stories.
“We all have our personal stories,” she says, “and that is kinda the object here—to tell my stories and to encourage others to look into and share theirs. It’s easy to look stuff up, but I want people to get away from their computers and find their stories.”
On her latest album, Southern Comfort, Regina brings her international ideas home to her grandmother’s house in rural Alabama. She tells so many stories in so many different styles that her fans often have to be just as flexible.
One thing is certain: Whatever story she’s telling, she’s telling the truth. “I do what I love and what I feel is in my heart because that is honest, and I want to be completely honest,” she says.
“I think because I have been doing it for so long, people can trust that I am doing it for love and not just to make a buck. I love music, but not if I [have] to sell my soul.”