Featured Photo by Anna Leadingham
Story by Anna Leadingham
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but the University of North Texas was too small to hold back one of the most staggering songwriters and performers, Carter Elliott. He performed an acoustic show at the Sunset Showcase in the Student Union on Sept. 27.
Eliott is a natural, looking more comfortable on stage performing than off stage doing anything else. The setlist he set up for the show held 13 songs and an encore of “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carol King. With a set of mostly originals, it was a show just as unique as Elliott himself.
Since he was a baby, he can recall music being played in his everyday life. The only way to get him to stop crying as a young boy was to play James Taylor.
Elliott recalled the real-life event of his parents’ home losing power during Hurricane Katrina at 2 years old.
“They had to go find the battery-operated CD player and put on “You Can Close Your Eyes” to get me to shut up,” he laughed.
Taylor has been so influential to Elliott that his thesis is over the lyrical innovations of the songwriter. Some other artists that have influenced Elliott are Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Joni Mitchel and Father John Mitsy among many others.
At 4, he began to take piano lessons. He was gifted a Baby Taylor for Christmas and began playing right before he turned 7. At 17, Eliott made the move from Mississippi to Denton, Texas to attend the University of North Texas for jazz performance in 2020. Elliott, having moved during the height of the pandemic, attended mostly hybrid classes. He said even though he now is a Middle Tennessee State University student, he does not regret going for UNT jazz program as the program allowed him “to let loose and be more creative with improvision.”
Elliott ended up moving to Tennessee for the songwriting program to spread his creative wings and grow more as an artist. He had many friends who encouraged his dream and he knew where he needed to go. Carter explains he feels more at home here. There are many “likeminded people, more engineers, more producers and the school feels much more diverse.”
He signed with MTSU’s record label, Match Records, this semester and released a brand-new single called “The Closest and the Farthest” that he played at the Sunset Showcase. The engineers on the single are Izaeya Vaughn and Jacob Dillard with Elizabeth Lindgren as mastering engineer.
He explain that the song is about his friends who he had to leave behind to come to Tennessee. The song took less than an hour to write and the next day he wrote a guitar solo for the song. He shelved the song deciding he wasn’t impressed with it until Peter Gabriel came out with the song “Playing for Time.”
He realized how much he missed his friends. After playing the song at writers’ rounds and hearing the positive feedback, Elliott found that he liked the song, too.
“It felt good to play because I am talking about people that I love to bits here,” Elliott said.
Passion is evident in his music.
“Music to me is everything. Music is the way I express myself. It is how I channel my emotions. It is my catharsis. It’s how I have fun. It’s been a roadmap for life for me.”
Elliot is playing at various events on and off campus this year. His newest single “The Closest and the Farthest” is available on Spotify.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.