Carley Varley spreads her wings with "Miss Me"

December 07, 2021

Picture by Charlie Anderson

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Ah, Carley Varley. Long story. I would be lying if I told you that Carley hasn't been part of my daily life for almost two years. It was in January 2020 that I featured for the first time this young English girl with "Found", single from her "Captured Memories" EP. And indeed, memories, Carley Varley sowed more than one on my course. Whether it's with "Since You Left" in 2020, or "Dirty Laundry" and "Going Under" in 2021, she has always been a part of my soundtrack. If you walk through the door of my office, as my girlfriend sometimes does, you are very likely to hear the same artists quite often. Those of the IMC Family, of course, but also other recurring artists on IMC like Flo Chase or Kolby Knickerbocker. And Carley Varley is one of them.

I often write on IMC that the universe is sending us signs. In 2017 I visited the UK for the first time, and the town I stayed in was Bournemouth, a lovely seaside resort on the South Coast. When I was there the IMC project had only just started and I thought "it would be great if I knew some artists from here, I could have visited them". But I didn't know any at that time. When Carley Varley sent us her first submission in January 2020 for "Found", and told me she was from Bournemouth, I understood what "sign of the universe" meant.

What makes me happy today is to be a privileged witness. Yes, it is a status that may seem strange to you, but in the world of music bloggers, it is a bit of a holy grail. Being the privileged witness of the birth and then of the evolution of an artist is priceless. Because for two years, Carley Varley has never ceased to amaze me.

Some might think that songs like "Found" or "Since You Left" sound a little cheesy. Yeah, probably. Looking back, I think if I was offered the same songs in 2021, they probably would have been declined. But on the other hand, I think you have to start somewhere. Being a songwriter myself, trust me, I'm not very proud of my early tracks. This is the case for many artists. But these early drafts often leave the field open to constant improvement, through hard work and willpower. And rather than the innocent side of her early songs, I'd rather take from Carley Varley her persistence and hard work, which in my humble opinion are starting to pay off.

I felt that the artist had already taken a turn with "Dirty Laundry". Because over the releases and years, her writing has improved. And this song really struck me because every word matched the melody perfectly. And each word carried enormous weight. "I'm running for the door" is probably the line that struck me the most. The song featured a powerful bridge, with a very punchy message "The skeletons are dancing in the closet, they only do that when you're dishonest". Hammered several times, each time a higher tone, showcasing the singer's vocal abilities. Because, yes, Carley has this unique voice that allows you to recognize her in just three seconds. This is not the case with all artists, and it can be said that at the start line, knowing that 60,000 new tracks appear on Spotify every day, Carley starts to run with a serious advantage. Writing and composing a bridge is always a challenge in creating a song. Each songwriter will be able to confirm this to you. And yet, it is precisely this part of "Dirty Laundry" that I had preferred. Well done, Carley.

But our pretty blonde really showed off in "Going Under". Completely the opposite of her previous releases, which were essentially acoustic-oriented, "Going Under" is a pop gem with a catchy chorus that is able to run through your head for days on end. And when it was released, I was like "this is it, the bird leaves the nest and flies away. Carley is ready for big things". Because the characteristic of a talented musician is to know how to explore musical genres without forgetting to take the most important in passing: pleasure. And she had a lot of fun on this track, you can hear it. The interpretation is absolutely fabulous.

I think it was from this single that Carley understood that releasing acoustic breakup songs wouldn't bring her great notoriety. Her writing had refined, her sense of melody became more than prolific, it was time to get down to business. Then comes the subject we are talking about today, "Miss Me", her latest single released on November 26th. The artist tells us a little more about this little gem:

"It is a song I wrote about a relationship or a friendship that has drifted apart. From the person's perspective, they wonder if they ever had something special, as the person seems to have moved on unaffected by the fact they aren't in their life anymore. It is a very emotive song and I think people will really relate to it."

If I were just curious, happy to discover new artists every day, but didn't know Carley Varley before, I would just tell you that "Miss Me" is a very good song and even a masterpiece. But having had to swallow a few thousand submissions this year, celebrating this week my 20 years in the musical promotion, and knowing the artist for two years, I can say that it is much more than a "good song".

I can feel in Carley's voice all the steps she has taken, all the strength she has accumulated in recent years, from livestreams on Youtube to real concerts, the young woman has been built and strengthened. She provides video advice for other artists, she is close to her audience (whether real or virtual), and she is always open to a real conversation. The little artist from Bournemouth has grown up. She now knows what she wants, and above all, very precisely, what she doesn't want. In "Miss Me", the writing is no longer just "refined", it is absolutely perfect. Songwriting at its highest possible level.

Evoking a complicated relationship, whether as a friend or as a lover, "Miss Me" confronts us with our many contradictions when we know that the boat is taking on water but we do everything to save it. Yes, it's still a breakup song, but it contains everything that was lacking until then in the musical universe of Carley Varley: nice percussions, magnificent vocal harmonies, power ... And I think I'm not mistaking if I say that ... (please, Carley, correct me if I'm wrong) you can sum it all up in one word: self-confidence. Yes, the track gives off something unique, an incredible emotional power that probably wouldn't have seen the light of day if the artist hadn't trusted herself. I know that, like many artists, she went through difficult times, wondering why she was still making music. But she did well never to be discouraged, to continue to get up with each fall because the result is there today. She just released her best song ever. Her “Seasons” EP has been delayed due to the pandemic, but I'm sure it's going to be amazing. At the height of this incredible artist.

In November, I took a break away from social media. It made me realize that it wasn't good for me. This virtual universe where we constantly compare ourselves to each other can have an essential role in what we become. Or what we don't become. I don't blame social media because it keeps me in touch with fabulous artists all around the world. And it even allows me to put them in contact, which sometimes gives birth to incredible collaborations or joint projects. I also believe that seeing two of them in the same picture or doing a live stream together is my greatest reward. But the fact of having left social networks allows us to take back what they have stolen from us: our time. Do you think I would have been able to write such a long article if I was bothered, as I was just a few weeks ago, by 600+ notifications per day? What I'm just saying is that a number of likes on a photo or a number of "monthly listeners" on Spotify don't mean anything. In any case, nothing serious. You have proof of that here. Because Carley Varley, despite having finally achieved her goal by releasing her best song ever, only has 153 monthly listeners on Spotify. So there are two ways to interpret this number. The first, the most classic and unfortunately the most widespread, is to think "oh, so few people show interest in it, it's not worth it". And the second, less common but so much more logical, will rather make you think "oh, this artist is really underrated but I am so happy to have discovered her before everyone else, I wanna help her!".

If you had used the first method of interpreting a number until then, I invite you to quickly change your way of thinking and to remember that quantity is not quality. I've said it enough, but I'll keep saying it, over and over, until everyone gets the hang of it. Just because your photo has only had 3 likes on Instagram doesn't mean your life sucks. And just because you only have 153 monthly listeners on Spotify doesn't mean you're a talentless artist.

What I'm going to say now is quite contradictory, and suddenly this article takes a pretty funny turn. But this is the fifth time Carley Varley has been featured on IMC. So if you are a loyal reader you know what that means. Yes, Carley Varley is now part of the "IMC Family", and will be able to benefit from the support of our other artists. Please, Carley, keep making us dream. Keep believing in yourself. "Miss Me" is only the beginning of a long adventure.


Written with love by Niko. "Miss Me" has been added to our "Fresh Indie" playlist on Spotify.


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