Taken from Longmont Times-Call (Feb 17, 2012)
Lafayette's Jaden Carlson wows on rock guitar
10-year-old girl already has played in Telluride and at NedFest
by C. Alan Crandall
Jaden Carlson knew she wanted to play music and perform when she was 6.
Kelly Carlson, Courtesy photo.
Jaden performing with a signature black hat.
She had found her muse a few months earlier at a Michael Franti concert while watching bassist Carl Young. She started practicing classical guitar and took lessons daily. Now Carlson, who performs as simply Jaden, has blossomed into an impressive young artist who has played with Michael Franti and Spearhead, the very band that initially inspired her to perform.
In fact, she has accomplished much more than that. Jaden, now 10, has two CDs to her credit and has played at multiple festivals, including Doug Fest, Desert Rocks, Telluride Blue & Brews Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, Harmony Fest, Knock the Blues out of Hunger and NedFest.
She has played throughout the Front Range with her trio, which features The Motet's Scott Messersmith and Garrett Sayers, including at venues such as the Gothic Theatre, Cervantes and Fox Theatre. Jaden, who takes her inspiration from such acts as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Lennon and U2, opened Michael Franti's headlining set at 2010's Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco, where she performed in front of an audience of 80,000.
"She just wants to be a musician," said her mother, Kelly Carlson. "She loves to play in front of real people, real music, no fake stuff, no dolling up."
Jaden is working on launching her next project and is offering her fans an opportunity to help. She has teamed up with Kickstarter.com, a funding platform for creative projects through which people pledge various amounts of seed money in return for rewards. Donors can pledge as little as a dollar. In Jaden's case a pledge of $10 gets the donor an autographed advance limited edition EP, and it gets her a little bit closer to the goal of $2,000.
"I am trying to raise money for this EP I am doing with Scott and Garrett," Jaden said during a recent school break in Boulder. Jaden is home-schooled by her mother.
"Two thousand is not going to cover it -- you have to do anything you can to cover cost," Kelly said. "It is the nature of the music industry that artists have to do a lot more themselves to be able to keep control of what they have, to maintain integrity and the focus of what they want to be."
Jaden's reasons for adding a third CD to her discography are several, Kelly said.
"Aside from the guitar playing, Jaden's songwriting is really great," Kelly said. "Folks don't believe she writes her own songs. She has been working with a vocal coach and her singing has improved stratospherically, and when you are this young I think it is better to hear where she is now."
Sayers, bassist for the popular Lyons-based funk band The Motet, has been tapped to produce the EP project.
"I am really excited about this project, and I think it is going to be great," Sayers said. "When Jaden's mother, Kelly, came to me she wanted someone who understood Jaden's songwriting and understood that as a producer she was looking for someone that would not change it too much or attach it to some kind of formula ... With Jaden, she's already writing all of her own music, something that most young artists don't do, and she really is a very capable performer, and I think it is even more impressive to see a young person like Jaden stand up there, behind her guitar, with just a trio and really blow people away."
When asked about performing with Jaden, Sayers said: "I was first struck by her guitar playing. As a side man I play with a lot of different artists, and her sense of timing and her awareness of what's going on in the band is way beyond her years. Even in the last year her vocals, which already were impressive, have just blossomed into something really amazing, and she is one the fastest progressing musicians I work with, and it is really fun to see that unfold."
Jaden is just like any 10-year-old in other respects and loves to ski when not performing.
"I love Nordic skiing," Jaden said. "Oh my gosh! I race and I am on the Boulder Nordic Junior Racing team. I have had a pretty good year so far. We are up there six or seven days a week skiing for an hour and a half, and I have won or placed in nearly every event this season."
On the way up to ski she listens to groups like George Porter Jr., The Meters, Juno What?! and The Motet.
Jaden's Kickstarter campaign ends on Feb. 22, her birthday. More information about the campaign may be found by searching for "Jaden Carlson" at Kickstarter.com.
When asked about plans for her future, Jaden said, "It is my goal to play Madison Square Garden with Scott and Garrett, and Red Rocks would be cool also."
In the meantime, her next Front Range show is scheduled for March 2 at the Pioneer Inn in Nederland.
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