These peaceful three-a-day walks by her Golden Retriever deep into the pandemic have helped singer Carla Bianco find the clarity to write lyrics.
Although the Center Township native sought greater power to bring her contemporary Christian songs to light.
âOne day, while walking my dog, I said, ‘God, I don’t know what you want me to do with these songs. If you want me to put them out to the world, you’re going to have to do it. ‘
âWhen I woke up the next morning I had the whole arrangement in mind for the song that became ‘Vessel of Your Love’,â Bianco said. “It opened up a whole new world with day after day demos for these new songs. I just heard them in my head.”
Music fans can hear Bianco’s first full foray into religious art, starting on Friday, when the former Broadway star releases “You Love Me As I Am,” his seven-song EP of original material.
The title track has now been released as a single, with a music video featuring Bianco in an elegant white gown, wading through the waters of the picturesque Quakertown Falls near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in Mahoning Township, in. Lawrence County. One look at this awesome video backdrop, and you too might be planning a hike to the hidden oasis 100 yards up the road in a tree-lined gorge.
âThe location itself was quite difficult to access,â said video director Peter Guellard. âIt took some hiking and rock climbing with movie equipment. The extra effort paid off with unforgettable footage of Carla performing her song under that beautiful waterfall. It wasn’t just another music video. , it was an adventure. “
“I can’t believe I’ve never been there before,” Bianco, now of Moon Township, said last week in a telephone interview. âI just had to take (Interstate) 376 past Chippewa. It’s not like there is an easy trail; we had to climb all those boulders and then I had to put on my dress. It was a little exhilarating. when I was standing in the water looking at the waterfall. I thought it was a beautiful experience. “
Beautiful experiences, drawn from a religious perspective, abound on “You Love Me As I Am,” produced by Sam Hart, who worked with award-winning contemporary Christian singer-songwriter from Beaver County, Aaron Shust of Hopewell Township.
Bianco’s new song collection has brilliant production values ââand high-level vocal prowess reminiscent of her earlier work as a contemporary / adult pop singer. As a songwriter, Bianco takes the same approach she refined during her successful Broadway career, including playing the role of Maureen on Broadway and on the original “Rent” tour of the West Coast.
âAll of my songs convey the heart of emotion, just set back,â she said. “It’s about finding the fabric of connection to get to the root of the emotion.”
The founding artistic director of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, the longtime Christian began her evolution into religious music five years ago, while still battling the passing of her parents,
âIt was kind of an a-ha moment,â she said. âI did this spiritual retreat because I wanted a moment of calm and to see what my next move was and pray about it. And that’s when I felt the love of God in my heart in a way deeper than ever. I had never really received it like that in my heart. I started to cry and cry. It was a very healing experience.
âI didn’t realize how much of a burden I carried, with a lot of self-doubt and condemnation that we’ve all had in one form or another,â she said.
Like the artist that she is, she has decided to reflect this vocation in her creative work.
Ideas for songs and lyrics came to mind, often during those serene walks with his dog.
This led to a Zoom meeting with producer Hart and the start of their collaboration.
Bianco’s lyrical ideas such as âWhen the questions you’ve asked go nowhere, love is the answer,â have carved out songs like his power-pop-ish statement of faith, âLove Is The Answerâ.
“You Are My Hope” is a testimonial on the piano; “All For Your Glory” brings exhilaration to pop rhythms. His Nashville public relations firm boasts of “All For Your Glory” pleads with an audience singing “and could easily find its place in contemporary church services on Sunday mornings.”
As an adult pop singer, Bianco is said to have sparked vocals in jazzy living rooms.
She doesn’t know where her live audience will be now.
âIt’s something that I explore as I go,â Bianco said. âI guess churches, events and festivals. It’s not so much the bar scene anymore, but the places where people go to be inspired and renewed and to have an experience with God and to feel love and goodness. . These kinds of events. “
Bianco’s “You Love Me As I Am” recording arrives digitally on October 8, with a physical EP on October 29, via Ivory Note Records / BFD / The Orchard, a subsidiary of Sony Music.
“I wonder how people are going to receive it,” she said. “This is where I was called, and this is what I know as an artist, to be where the calling is
“I am delighted to finally share this music which has been close to my heart for more than five years now,” she adds. “I think this comes at a time when the world needs to know more than ever that we are loved.”
His peace promotion “Love Is The Answer” is a song that resonates with the mood and current events.
âThis is one of the songs I wrote with Sam when the COVID restrictions were lifted in May,â she said. âThis really goes to the root of the fact that people have so many different beliefs, opinions and principles and it can create divisions and cause us to judge. For me, love is the only real thing that can unite everyone. Because we are all loved, and we all love someone, and we know from this experience that they replace everything. ”
Since its release on September 10, “You Love Me As I Am” has gained profiles in national publications like CCM Magazine and Christian Beat, has appeared on 20 radio station playlists, recorded 25,000 digital streams and has Bianco landed on international podcasts like World Christian Broadcasting.
The show “Inside Pirates Baseball” on AT&T Sportsnet featured “You Love Me As I Am” as the theme song for a special episode about the charitable work of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the pandemic.
Bianco’s husband, Jack Becker, produces “Inside Pirates Baseball”.
The couple have a son, Luca.
In November, Bianco returns to television as a guest on Cornerstone TV’s “Hope Today” where she will perform live.
Bianco hopes to inspire young artists as a voice teacher and founder of a new nonprofit Hearts on Fire “which emphasizes uplifting young people through the arts and a faith-based message” .
She said: “We are raising funds to acquire ukuleles for our music program,” at heartsonfirepgh.org
For more information on Bianco, visit carlabianco.com, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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Scott Tady is the local entertainment reporter for The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He is easy to reach at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @scottady