More. This is where Carey Ott lives. Do more. Give more. Grow more. In all ways, for himself and for others, to live and be more. It is no surprise, then, that with just 2 albums Ott has established himself as a leading singer/songwriter who has earned his stripes and is, well, reaching for more. With an intelligent, evocative pop/rock style and truly monster hooks in the vein of Thom Yorke, Jack Johnson, and Coldplay, Ott is a perfect fit for today’s creative and human landscape. Fueled by his genuine love of people and the desire to serve and help them, Ott is certainly more than great musical talent.
Growing up in the Chicago-adjacent town of Ottawa, IL, music first found Ott in the home. From a 7-year old fascination with the piano at his grandparents’ farm to pretending he was Prince on his Uncle Lanny’s string-less blue guitar, home is where he fell in love with melody. Then at 13, as little brothers will do, Carey began quietly
eavesdropping on his older brother’s guitar practice sessions, and sneaking in to pick up where his brother left off when he was done. It wasn’t long before Carey was shredding on Skid Row and Poison guitar solos, with mega-hair dreams and obvious guitar chops ablaze. When he was caught practicing in his brother’s room, his brother made the obvious move: he asked Carey to join his band.
The 7-year period that followed, and was so vital in putting Ott where he is today, included a move to Chicago with his brother Chris and their band Torben Floor (the name of their Danish grandfather), recording with Steve Albini (Nirvana, Bush) and Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine), doing national tours and countless live shows,several almost-signed record deals, getting his college degree, waiting tables, endless songwriting, getting jaded, getting tired, and getting out of music to work as a banker in the Sears Tower. As far as he was concerned, Carey Ott was done with “professional” music. Ray Kennedy and Dualtone Records didn’t see it quite the same. Blown away by the demos that Carey had recorded in his Chicago bedroom on a Tascam Portastudio 4- track, Kennedy asked him to come to Nashville and record his solo debut album, which was given the fitting title of Lucid Dream. Needless to say, Carey said yes.
Much like his musical heroes, which include John Lennon, Cat Stevens, and Bob Dylan, Ott has an intrinsic sense of melody, and a gift for writing lyrics that open a port into humanity, like popping a cork from a wine bottle. The desire to truly connect, to touch that sentient part of a person where their life is hard-fought and deeply felt, is the hallmark of Ott’s songs and the soul of his latest record, Human Heart. Released in November 2010, this impressive 20-song album steps up to real-life questions, universal fears, and new discoveries with Ott’s sense of humility and gratitude. “I wanted to empathize and reach out and have something more to talk about, besides ‘my music’ and ‘my album’ and ‘my life. I want to start a dialog about people and issues and causes that I'm passionate about.” Recorded at home in Nashville and with co-producers Terry Carleton in San Jose, CA and Ben Pelchat in Toronto, ON, Human Heart has Ott sitting right in the center of his signature pop/rock sound on the Paul Simon-esque title track and the first single “Anyone,” which has already been featured on the ABC shows The Gates and Make It Or Break It. As with everything he does, Human Heart is not just a landmark collection of songs. It’s more. “A lot of these songs started as me giving myself advice, like some wiser part of me speaking through the songs," he says. "Now I feel compelled to start following some of that wisdom, and encouraging others to join me."
With his Human Heart and 20 new songs in hand, Carey Ott is working and loving and serving. From his home base of Nashville, he is making his mark with songs featured on hit TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Kyle XY, and songwriting collaborations with Eddie Schwartz ("Hit Me With Your Best Shot"), Roger Cook ("Long Tall Woman in a Black Dress," "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing”), Iain Archer (of Snow Patrol), and Anthony Krizan (of the Spin Doctors). Climbing the charts, yes, but he’s always keeping a hopeful eye on his big dream of starting a non-profit organization that provides for people in need. “I believe everyone is equal. All sentient beings have
sacred value and worth, and I want to pass on the opportunities and love that I am given everyday.”
Given his life and work thus far, music is much more than a job for Carey Ott. It’s his love, his food, and most importantly, his doorway to being human. “I know I'm sensitive and deep and silly and weird. But I'm in love with life, and that's pretty much what all my songs are made of.”