Country artist Rich Carroll was the winner of Making Music’s most recent Community Video people’s choice competition. His video for the song “Lifetime” received more than twice as many votes as the runner-up.
That song — Carroll’s first professional recording and release, which he also co-wrote — is about “the rise from a hard fall and everything in between,” he says. “We’ve all been through a lot in our lives, experienced many ups and downs and, at our lowest, we realize that the life we have lived is rich and full of life.” And that, in a nutshell, is what Carroll wants his music to do: lift people up. “I want it to lift so much spirit to maybe put some pep in their step, to give them hope, to give them a little bit of peace,” he says.
Carroll has been singing since he was a 10-year-old boy in church. Going through what he says was a traumatic childhood, he found that music is what brought him peace. Sometimes he would go out to the mountains (the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia where he was raised) by himself and sing. That would take the pain and hurt away, keep the fears at bay, bring him joy and lift his soul, he says.
By the time he was in his 20s, Carroll was still singing and performing, part of a country band called Steel Country, traveling locally around Orlando, Florida. When he was about 28, he was saved and gave his life to God, which caused him to take a step back, examine his life, and consider if he liked what he saw. He decided to step off the stage for a few years, but ultimately continued to fill his life with music by singing in — and eventually leading — his church’s choir.
He did that for about 10 years, got divorced and remarried, has three children, and worked days as a carpenter and handyman. But his love of music was always there. He grew up on country, and still describes himself as a regular “country boy.” His influences are the classic country singers: Merle Haggard, Randy Travis, Patsy Cline, George Jones, and the like.
One of his favorite artists is Josh Turner, a country and gospel singer. “He and I both believe in the same God, and he’s never sang a song that’s taken glory from his faith or from God, or has damaged in any way or disrespected his wife, his children, or his life,” Carroll says. “So I would say he’s kind of got a genre all his own, with exception to me; I’m trying to step into that same little pocket there.
Carroll says he is not a Christian artist — he is a country artist who happens to be a Christian. “I’ve got a classic country voice and I’m going to sing about things relative to today with a modern sound,” he says. “I will never record music that advocates alcohol, drugs, casual sex or anything that dishonors my Savior, Jesus Christ.”
While “Lifetime” is Carroll’s first professional recording and release, he has a second song, recorded at the same time, called “I’m Not Going to Cry in My Beer,” that is also completed. He had over a dozen songs ready to record, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of recording studios put that on hiatus. Those songs — written by someone else — are no longer available to record, Carroll says, so he has connected with another songwriter to collaborate on new material. The hope is that recording can start again this November. He also has plans to make a second music video, this one for his song, “I’m Not Going to Cry in My Beer.”
In the meantime, until the COVID quarantines are fully lifted for musicians, Carroll continues to love his family, praise his God, and work his day job. And create his unique style of music. “Music is a very great part of God’s kingdom,” he says. “Music, when you think about it, can do anything. It can entice anger; it can incite happiness and joy; it can make you start tapping your feet; it can make you laugh and cry. That’s what I want my music to do.”
If you haven’t seen Rich Carroll’s video for “Lifetime,” check it out below:
You can also find more information about Carroll on his website.