Carla Gamble talks inspiration, legacy, and her new project 'Soulsthetic' - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Carla Gamble on WXPN Local

If you’ve been around the Philly open mic scene, you’ve heard local singer and songwriter Carla Gamble. And if you’ve heard her, you’ve been impressed.

This fixture on the local music community stays productive as best as she can, and just released her latest EP, Soulsthetic. In a conversation on WXPN Local, Gamble and I talked about her creative journey that began with writing a poem at age nine — it was called “I Never Knew A Man Could Cry,” and was written for her father — and was fueled by classic soul records played around the house, Def Poetry Jam soaked in on the TV, and eventually, getting out in the scene and fusing words and sounds in her own unique way.

The next couple months, Gamble is very busy. She’s playing Fly Girrl’s Sweet Love party at Silk City on Valentine’s Day, alongside Queen Jo, DJ Aktive, and Suzanne Sheer. Then her Voices of Philly Soul series kicks in, where Gamble curates shows around different groups of creative women in the Philly community — comedians, poets, musicians and more.

On February 25th, Voices of Philly Soul’s first comedy showcase happens at Punchline Philly with Chanel Ali, Shanell Renee and more. Next up, on March 16th, the Voices of Philly Soul Mental Health Panel brings together Dyana Williams, Ursula Rucker, and more at Friends Center in Center City. And on March 21st, the Voices of Philly Soul music showcase returns to World Cafe Live, with Gamble, Chioke, spoken word artist LadLady Sarkazym and more.

Get tickets and more information on the Voices of Philly Soul series at Carla Gamble’s website, listen to our interview above, check out her new Soulsthetic EP, along with some interview excerpts, down below.

…on finding musical inspiration from her father.

My dad used to play Al Green a lot, my dad used to play Earth Wind and Fire. So the vibe of live bands has always been in my spirit. A lot of Aretha and Bill Withers. All that good music that I was raised on, and he definitely inspired me to have this creativity that flows through me and never left.

…on how she’s grown from her first project From My Lips To Your Ears to She Is to the new Soulshetic.

It’s a sense of ownership, I feel like owning exactly who I am and speaking my truth and being present in my own moment. You can’t take my moment away from me. This is my moment, and I create these experiences for myself and my audience. And my growth is, I’m only going up. The universe works that way. And Soulsthetic is like a breath of fresh air for me.… it’s like, “aaaah.” It’s an original word that I made up because I want people to understand the beauty of music and how this soul music floats and flows through you. Growth is essential, and if you’re not growing, what are you doing?

…on a Philly soul album that inspires her.

Kindred The Family Soul’s first album [Surrender To Love] got me through a lot of tough times. Just identifying as an artist who I was and what my sound was, because I love their sound so much. When I’m talking about neosoul I’m talking about Floetry and of course our Queen Jill. The artists that have created this soul, coming from being inspired by soul music itself before then…once you’re in it, you’re in it. It’s a sound, you can’t deny it.

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