Acoustic pop artist Carl Wockner is a one-man musical show who uses complex live looping gear to create the sound illusion of an entire band performance. His soulful music style and audience engagement make you want to get up and dance or sing along. His upbeat rhythm and powerful hitting vocals along with his amusing sense of humor offer entertainment that will accommodate almost any audience.
As an individual entertainer, Carl’s live performances beckon to be remembered. His signature red-rimmed glasses, incredible vocal range, and bold personality combined with the energy and complexity of what he offers in a show make him extremely memorable. Although this all-in-one musical beatbox and musician recently gave up his iconic dreadlocks, his music has always stood on its own both for its toe-tapping appeal and lyrical content.
Carl was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on the east coast of Australia. His mother played piano and sang and his father, a builder, loved listening to all kinds of diverse music. In grade school, Carl and his siblings had the option to play one sport and choose one musical instrument to learn how to play each year.
At the age of 7, Carl chose violin lessons, then piano at the age of 10, and guitar at 15 years old. He then started playing in various bands but never really considered making a career of it. When he picked up a gig at a local country club and surprisingly got paid after the show as a teen the idea of making money playing music sparked his interest. He went on to college and received a teaching degree but realized he was already making more money playing music than he could as a teacher. At that point, he set out to grow his career as a musician, performer, singer, and songwriter.
For a few years, Carl toured around Australia, playing at clubs, festivals and events. In 2010 he visited Nashville for the first time after meeting music producer Michael Flanders at an event in Australia. He struck up a conversation with Flanders, they hit it off and Michael invited Carl to visit his Nashville studio. Michael set Carl up on several co-writes with some prominent writers over his ten-day visit allowing him to complete 20 songs during his visit. Five months later Carl traveled back to Nashville to record his first album with Michael as his producer.
In 2016 Carl, his wife Karli, and his two kids Goldie and Alto packed up and relocated to Nashville to see if he could grow his career as an artist. They sold everything and relocated to the US to start their new musical journey.
Carl hired an agent prior to his move in order to have some steady gigs set up when he arrived in the US. Unfortunately, when he got into Nashville, he found out that the agent hadn’t done what he paid for, the cost of that experience took years to settle financially. Carl found himself having to hustle playing venues and bars as he had earlier in his career to make ends meet. It took two years of hard work growing his fan base before he was able to establish enough steady gigs at events and house shows. Those higher-paying opportunities allowed him to walk away from the small lower-paying gigs at the small local venues.
“I’ve realized that no matter what happens, when you look back on something you never regret anything that happened because there is always something amazing that is going on right now that you wouldn’t trade anything for, Carl admits.”
What makes Carl different from most musical performers is his ability to use live looping gear to create multiple instrumental tracks within each song while performing in front of a live audience. Using a special looping pedal he singlehandedly creates all of the musical parts during a show, the lead vocal, harmonies, bass, guitar, keys, and even drum beats. With each repeating loop using only his voice and small body Maton guitar, he creates different instrumental layers as he plays, building what eventually sounds like a full live band performance. He stumbled across the looping process when he borrowed a friend’s setup for a show years prior to moving to Nashville. Wanting to offer something unique as a new transplant to Music City where there is a saturated music market, Carl found that there was no one really using the looping process. He perfected his technique deciding to grow his reputation in the US as a looping performer.
Years ago in a sold-out arena, Ed Sheeran performed alone in Nashville using a looping pedal. The fullness of sound and the complexity of the looping process were impressive and extremely entertaining. Watching Carl play using the same technique recently at the private Nashville event, Bands In The Barn was just as exciting, you can listen to the whole show here.
Carl Wockner knows his gear and works hard to challenge himself as he grows into larger event performances. He thrives in playing private house parties and large events expressing how much he loves the intimate experiences and relationships that often result from those shows. While he has the ability to play almost any cover his desire is to produce and play his own music, that alone fuels him to cultivate his creativity along the way.
In the studio, Carl still works occasionally with producer Michael Flanders on projects but in the past few years, he has become great friends with Michael’s son, Ben, an incredible pop music producer. Together Carl and Ben have worked together challenging each other through the creative process that has resulted in several singles Carl admits would never have been as exceptional had he done them alone. The way they push each other in the studio is something Carl believes every musical creative should experience in their career.
As a father, Carl has a deep belief in family values and is very close to his family back in Australia. He spends quality time at home with his wife and kids and wants to be sure that they see him living his dreams so they will be inspired to live their own. He says that his kids often inspire many of the songs that he writes. His wife Karli is a classically trained cello player, reads sheet music, and also sings beautifully Carl admits. He has always played music by ear so when he and Karli worked on a song together called, Husband To Be, that he wrote for their wedding day, the experience was ambitious for both of them. Each had to step outside of their comfort zone in order to learn how to work together. His ability to create music by ear and hers to create by reading chart music was challenging but the experience and the outcome is something uniquely special.
*Carl explains that process and how he rigged her cello so they could play live in the YouTube interview if you want to hear more.
Musically Carl has influences in all genres of music. He resonates with the tonal parts of songs that he likes and that inspires his creativity rather than the genre of music itself. Some of his influences include artists like John Mayer, Maroon 5, Jason Isbell, as well as other music genres like R & B, Soul, 90’s Rap, and Pop. He believes the proper beat of a metronome is the key to staying in a perfect rhythm, not the internal metronome many performers often use when creating.
In 2015 he was awarded as the first Australian to win Top Honors at the 2015 International Acoustic Music Awards for the release of his album, Crayon Days, he was also voted as Best Soloist by Scope Magazine. His first two singles gained national radio play on the Billboard Charts both in the US and in the UK. In 2016, his album, Better, received a nomination for Best Adult Contemporary Album in the Independent Music Awards. Recently he was awarded Musician Of The Year 20/21 for the QLD Prestige awards.
When COVID hit all of Carl’s live performances stopped. He was forced to find online ways of creating income so he dug into virtual shows for private and corporate events, he also worked at growing his original shows on his YouTube channel. The downtime allowed Carl to look at where he was in his career and refocus on the content he enjoys creating. He was able to set new goals and started developing more of his own music in the process, he explains,
“I spent a lot of time building my YouTube channel doing live shows and growing my audience during COVID. Moving forward I would like to keep being a musician, to tour and play as many original shows as I can while being able to afford recording and releasing original music.”
His goal for his music is to grow his fan base through house shows so at some point he can have a booking agent to take care of that part of his career so he can focus all of his attention on his music. Being a solo artist and running the business alone often takes away from his creative time. Before he can afford an agent he has to be sure he can make enough money to support his family and to pay for the cost, it takes to produce and record new music.
“I feel like any good business needs really good people on your team, I want that someday with my business, Carl says.”
Carl’s diverse style and strong work ethic combined with his love of music continue to drive his career allowing him to grow as an independent artist despite the competition in Nashville. His music is organic, nostalgic, and peaceful and his live performances are family-friendly. His songwriting abilities have allowed him co-writing opportunities with other well-known writers such as Greg Barnhill, Kim Tribble, and Chase Flanders. He continues to work with other writers and enjoys the energy and talent that is available in Nashville.
“Something that I have realized with my music and that I am humbled by is that it has reached a point that it is beyond me. I am very fortunate to have people and fans that get something out of my music that is different from what they can get somewhere else, says Carl.”
In business, Carl feels his marketing works best when he is genuine with his feelings yet positive in how he shares them. He enjoys connecting on a deep level with his followers and is active on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok on a regular basis interacting with his fans.
As a father, the most important thing Carl says he wants for his kids is for them to see him as a positive role model and for them to pursue something that they themselves are very passionate about. In his career, he says that they give him more strength than they ever could as a limitation and that alone is a true gift.
Carl says in the end he and his family will return to Australia because they miss their extended family but he doesn’t see that happening any time soon. For now, he is in the US and charging ahead pushing himself to get better at writing, singing, performing, and looping. His music is the perfect fit for anyone looking for a talented live entertainer that can interact with an audience through intrigue while belting out upbeat tunes guaranteed to make you want to get up out of your seat!
If you would like to see more about Carl’s music you can visit his website or his Instagram page. Be sure to listen to Carl’s recent podcast artist interview on The Creative Push and there is also a special accompanying BONUS podcast showcasing the live show that you don’t want to miss!
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