Meet Sydney's Cap Carter, who makes empowering R&B with his debut, Relapse
The Western Sydney musician fuses R&B with empowering songwriting for a debut single amongst the year's best.
If first impressions are indeed everything, then Cap Carter is someone bound to blow up in 2021. The Phillipines-born, Western Sydney-based musician is today making his entrance with his debut single Relapse, and it's the type of single that makes you feel like you're being introduced to someone that's going to dominate the year ahead; a bright, quick-rising trajectory easily envisioned for Cap Carter even with just a brief introduction behind him.
There's a lot that fuels Cap Carter and his music; something that will immediately strike you from the single's opening moments. Growing up in a rough patch of Western Sydney after moving there following a family split, music was a source of cathartic release and processing as he found his feet, allowing him to explore the emotions attached to his turbulent upbringing. "I can't write anything that's not lived," he explains. "There had been instances where I've been writing and I can't tell whether it's destructive or healing. But for the most part, in the last few months in the lead up to this project, I felt it's healing. And I felt like it's a lot of light."
Relapse is a single that shows this brilliantly, so much so that it feels like the perfect introduction to Cap Carter and everything the musician stands for. It sees him break down a battle of addiction and turn it into emotively striking R&B, stripping things back to a level where Cap Carter and his songwriting take the centre stage, and you're almost forced to listen to every word - every syllable - of Cap Carter and the story he tells through Relapse.
"Relapse is a story of addiction," he says on the single, which was originally shared as a stripped-back demo before being re-recorded for its official release today. "Through rehab I’ve learnt that my addiction stems from childhood trauma - specifically the day Ma left and the year’s spent thereafter."
It arrives with a video by Maddy King, which brings the story to life through the visual means. "The music video is quite literally a look at the days leading up to the breakdown of my parent’s marriage and the day that would come to forever change my life. I wanted the story to be told in such a delicate way that it would respect both of my parents and not in anyway dishonour my family. From the start I knew that if we couldn’t achieve this then we shouldn’t touch on this particular chapter of my story."
It's a sentiment Maddy shares, as she explains. "The video is loosely based on Cap’s childhood which we wanted to explore from his Mother's point of view," she says on the song. "It was interesting figuring out how to convincingly sell a love story without having the actors kiss because we shot during COVID. We also had a scene with butterflies which I wouldn't recommend because they flew after the first take."
Take a dive into the video clip below, and underneath, introduce yourself to Cap Carter as he eyes off a big year ahead with plenty more to come.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m the son of a DJ and a US Navy sailor, we moved to Australia when I was 3 - I was always a part of two different worlds. Lowkey, just a Filipino kid from western Sydney slangin' sad tunes. Been through a bit of a rough patch and trying my best to give life and music a go. My Ma thinks I’m cool.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
Street meets heart. That’s probably the best way to describe it. It’s like having a kebab at 2AM after a night of drinking cheap whisky with the boys, failing to understand the intricacies of life at 21 and saying goodbye to the only love you’ve ever known - all whilst listening to the rain hit the windshield as you spill chilli sauce all over your favourite Tupac t-shirt.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
There have been moments when I don’t know whether or not writing has been destructive or healing. I like to think it’s been more healing. I wrote to stop the bleeding, sometimes to quiet the voices. Sometimes I feel like some songs are caged in you and it’s so freeing to let them go.
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Relapse?
It’s a song I wrote three years ago. When I first wrote it I was in a bad spot in life. Three years later I’m in rehab and recovery and singing it from a place of healing rather than brokenness. This song saved my life.
What do you have planned for 2021?
Hopefully a national tour, atleast the east coast if covid allows. Looking forward to writing new songs and releasing the EP.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I want people to hear my music and I want them to feel like they’re not alone, that the songs would be a sonic hug to those at their lowest and darkest.
Where can we find more of your music?
All major streaming platforms.