Carys is an autistic singer songwriter based in Suffolk with an enthusiastic and evocative stage presence displaying a natural charm that has won her many admirers, not only within the folk scene, but also far beyond it. She knew from the age of sixteen that she was going to sing professionally.
Her musical partnership with UK synth veteran David Wright and the avant-garde rock band Code Indigo have won many plaudits from fans and media alike. The CDs ‘Take the Money and Run’ and the critically acclaimed 2017 release ‘Prophecy’ were followed by a series of successful UK and European concerts, including two nights supporting the German music legends Tangerine Dream.
As a child, Carys was fascinated by nature and would insist upon “visiting a forest” on every family holiday (whether the forest was indeed a “forest” or a dozen trees next to a layby on a Welsh hillside), utterly convinced she was going to see deer and badgers around every corner. “My parents’ house was detached and had a large garden, which I still miss. I spent a lot of time as a child lying under the lilac tree reading. I didn’t have many friends, but I did have my imagination, and that could take me anywhere I wanted to go.”
Coupled with autism and anxiety disorder, she came to realise that her mind has a unique way of producing some interesting songs. Her first solo album ‘A Different Kind Of Normal’, produced by David Wright, certainly reflects that with its roots firmly in folk, but also dipping into rock, pop and em. And as she explains with a smile when discussing the album; “The title describes me perfectly”.
Despite being a natural performer, appearing at festivals and venues all over the UK, and teaching songwriting workshops, creating her own music didn’t come naturally and Carys has honed her craft over the past two decades. One hears talk about autistic ‘super powers’ but the truth is, while some people on the autism spectrum do seem to have unusual abilities, with these come the communication difficulties, the sensory processing disorder, the inability to blend in with conventional society and myriad other issues.
Carys’s ‘super power’, if such a thing exists, is memory – she can replay conversations word for word, recalls events and the dates on which they happened (for example she began writing her first song “Siren Call” from the point of view of the mermaid who is trapped by her own nature, on May 7th 2004, though it first song wasn’t completed until the following year), and even remembers really useful things like the latin names of every big cat species in the world. “Despite all this, I didn’t receive my official diagnosis until I was forty, but now I know why I am a Different Kind of Normal and this has explained a lot of my early life.”
Unsurprisingly, Carys’s songs rarely feature traditional subjects. Her pagan beliefs feature heavily in her music, together with her own unique outlook on life. You will struggle to find songs on conventional themes such as love and romantic relationships, instead she writes about nature and the seasons (“Litha”, “Gather In” and “The Season Turns”), folk legends and faerie tales (“Child of Green”, “Rewritten”, “Black Dog Rides Tonight”), autism (“13”), songs from the viewpoint of a Yew tree in a cemetery (“The Sentinel”) or the entire universe (“Apocalypse Dreams”).
“People always say you should write what you know – well, I know foxes and the moon far better than humans” she explains. Indeed, foxes feature in at least three of her songs to date – “Beating the Streetlights Home”, “Reynardine” and the future single “Fox on the Marsh”.
Carys released her second solo album “WolfSong” during the first lockdown in Spring 2020. She was in the studio with David Wright when the prime minister made the announcement and a lot of the mixing of “WolfSong” took place remotely. “It was certainly a learning curve – although I’d watched how David works for several years this was the first time I needed to really think about how to make a track sound the way I wanted it to! David and I often joke about a ‘psychic link’ because of how regularly we text each other at exactly the same time when we’re working on a project.”
“WolfSong was and is very close to my heart. It contains “Bastet”, a hymn to my patron goddess and probably my most spiritual track, “Gaia”/”Gaia Dreaming”. Gaia started as a song for the earth but soon morphed into something much more, firstly because the line “whichever name you know me by, call and I’ll be there” reminds me that whatever our beliefs, we all share the same earth. Secondly, when I played my livestream album launch and reached the line “in the midst of loneliness, know you’re not alone” I was reminded again that we are all part of the same world.”
Carys is a unique talent, beautifully interpreting her own composed material and traditional songs alike as well as showcasing her beautiful and evocative vocal textures within ambient electronic music. Her latest single, “Blackberries and Butterflies”, was released as a free download on 2nd December.