One NY Artist: Carla Duren

Saturday, February 02, 2013

There are thousands of artists in New York City scratching out a living while perfecting their craft in studios, basements and on stage. WNYC is bringing some of them to the spotlight, in their own voices.

Actress, singer and songwriter Carla Duren plays the title role in the opera "Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunter," which portrays the life of the renowned African-American painter from Louisiana. Here is Duren talking about Hunter, and about her own career.


Carla Duren in a scene from Zinnias.

Photo by Stephanie Berger



Photo by Stephanie Berger/Montclair State University
From left: Robert Osbourne, Karma Mayet Johnson, Carla Duren and Darynn Zimmer

"I was in a play in school called the little star in which I got to play the little star. And it was completely the highlight of 3rd grade."

Photo by Stephanie Berger/Montclair State University
Carla Duren and Darynn Zimmer

"My dad was the choir director of the church where I grew up and I started singing in the choir probably before I could remember. And he’s a songwriter as well, so I think that helped to encourage me to write songs because it was a part of him. So it just became something. I think it was something I always did."

"I started writing songs in my teens. I remember hearing a song in my head, I was walking home and it was just this repetitive song going around in my head and it felt so familiar that  ... I remember calling my father and singing it him and I said does this sound like something that you’ve heard before and he said no. and I said it’s just going on in my head and he said that’s how you write songs and it just never occurred to me that this was something that had come from me."


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