Isaac Carree shares musical tastes, transition to radio host, thoughts on first album in 7 years and coping through the pandemic.
Isaac Carree is the embodiment of an artistic ‘Renaissance Man’. Making the most of every opportunity on stage and in the studio, Carree has carved out an incredible career as a steady background vocalist, lead singer, skillful songwriter, actor and most recently, animated on-air radio host.
Isaac is in fact the ‘Jack-of-all-trades’, showing an unfettered command for music, ministry and media. Carree continues to display boundless passion for the arts in his latest release, No Risk No Reward, a collection of new songs that merge his devotion for the Master and his love for his wife on to the same disc.
Isaac shows the uncanny ability to drift from genre to genre so seamlessly, taking musical and lyrical risks, in hopes of the big payoff…impacting multiple generations and genre-lovers of all sorts, on all platforms. In a recent interview for BlackGospel, Isaac Carree shares his musical tastes, his transition to radio host on SiriusXM, his thoughts on first album in almost 7 years and how he’s coping through this pandemic health crisis in America.
Isaac Carree: I listen to all music. I really enjoy Kierra Sheard’s new music. I also listen to Eminem, Jay Electronica, Justin Beiber. I pulled up all Mary. J Blige’s old albums and Kanye West’s Jesus is King. I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff to see where music and culture is going. I try my best to stay connected, whether it’s pop, gospel, hip hop, RnB…it doesn’t matter. Every gift of music comes from God and I’m able to appreciate all styles and genres of music. There are a lot of great artists out there.
Christopher Heron: You’ve been a cameo artist for several artists, from Snoop Dogg to Kirk Franklin to John P. Kee. What’s your favorite cameo?
Isaac Carree: I’d say my cameo on Kirk Franklin’s Something About That Name Jesus, along with the Rev. Rance Allen. That song really took me to a place that I never dreamt that I’d go. That’s one of my all-time favorites.
Christopher Heron: You’ve become a well-known radio personality, since joining Kirk Franklin’s Praise on SiriusXM. What made you add disc jockey to your resume in ministry? And what have you learned and enjoyed most about being on radio?
Isaac Carree: I’m always trying to diversify. There’s more to me than just singing. I have a personality, I’m funny, I write, I act, I love fashion, I love sports. Radio was an opportunity for me to sit at the fire. For most of my career, I’ve been on the other side of the mic. But now, I’m the one interviewing people, choosing music, helping people through traffic or through their day. It’s intriguing to me. It’s fun. I’m having a great time. I have huge plans to take it even further. We’re just getting started. We’re taking baby steps right now but we’re having a great time.
Isaac Carree: Honestly, music has changed. My first two albums were independent because it was safe to be an independent artist at the time. I had great success at it. Now, we’re in the digital age. I also wanted to join a label that believed in what I wanted to do. Shanachie came to the table. They’re risks but we believe there will be rewards, too. I’m grateful for the label.
Christopher Heron: Yes. Your first single was a tribute to your beautiful wife. Why did you make the first single a love song?
Isaac Carree: Because love is ordained by God. God created love and God created marriage. In church, we always sing about our love towards God, but we barely get to hear songs about our love toward one another; especially your spouse. I want to be intentional about singing a love song to my wife. We’ve been married 16 years and I wanted men to be able to say, “Hey, I want my wife to understand I feel the same way about her.”
I feel that if you can’t talk about love, it’s impossible to talk about God because God is love. I was very intentional about doing something different. I’m a believer that you can’t take a seven-year hiatus from recording and come back doing the same thing. You’ve got to change it up and try something different. You have to offer something different to intrigue people.
I have several love songs on the album and then I mixed in things that people know me for to make it a well-rounded, well-diverse album. God is love and a lot of things fade away, but love is always there. People always want to be loved or find love. I thought the message of love would be beneficial.
Christopher Heron: You’ve lived life with an element of risk, as an independent artist for many years. Is No Risk No Reward, the title of your album, also your personal testimony?
Isaac Carree: If you’re not willing to take a risk, you’ll never know what the ultimate reward is in life. Sometimes we live life so safe and we’re afraid. We don’t live outside the boundaries. But I believe if you want to experience things that you’ve never experienced, you have to do things you’ve never done. Sometimes, that means taking a risk even if it’s a calculated risk. The Bible talks about launching into the deep. If you fish in the pond, you’re going catch goldfish but if you launch out into the deep, you never know what you’ll get.
For Apostle Peter, the risk was getting out of the boat. But the reward was when Jesus took care of him. With the woman with the issue of blood, the risk was pushing her way through the crowd. She could have been killed, but the reward was when she touched Jesus, and he healed her. Everybody in life must take a risk to get the ultimate reward.
In my case, the ultimate reward is for God to say well done. I must be willing to do things I’ve never done, say things I’ve never said, sing songs I’ve never sang, try things I’ve never tried, so that God can get the glory. I don’t want to live my life scared. That’s not the life I want to live and that’s not the life I want my listeners and fans to live. I’m encouraging people to take a risk. No risk no reward.
Christopher Heron: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the economic impact this health crisis is having on Artists. The inability to tour, to perform its devastating. From your point of view, what do you see for the next three to six months and what advice would you offer as an Artist who works full time in artistry?
Isaac Carree: I believe this is a time to live what we’ve been singing about. We must trust and believe what we’ve been telling everybody else. It’s easy to tell somebody else to trust and believe when you’re fine. But when practice what you’ve been preaching, it’s harder. It’s time for us believe and apply what we’ve been singing because it’s scary times.
I would even go as far as to say that Gospel music will take a huge hit because our income and livelihood is connected to engaging people, touching people and being able to sing in front of them, buying tickets to concerts, streaming and purchasing music. It will be a long time before this thing turns around. I also believe God has never failed me and I know He never will. It’s just the waiting process.
In the meantime, this is when we need to practice reinventing ourselves, merging ourselves into culture. You can’t live life like a dinosaur anymore. Things that you said that you wouldn’t do, you must try. You must become more educated about the internet, streaming, social media, about how to be creative and ways that could possibly generate income, anything. We just have to be creative. We’ve never seen anything like this before.
I also think it’s God slowing a lot of us down saying, “You’ve been complaining about what you want but you’ve also been saying you don’t have the time to do to. Now I’m giving you nothing but time. Get it done.” It’s a challenge. We must walk, not in fear nor in foolishness. We must be wise. We must be creative. That’s what I would say to people. That’s what I’m doing.
I’m trying to be creative; I’m trying to be wise, I’m reading, I’m paying attention to the news, I’m thinking, I’m strategizing, I’m praying, I’m doing everything I can because my family depends on me. I have people depending on me. I always tell my wife, “Until you see me worried, don’t worry.” I’m going to stay in faith and believe that God is going to bring us out. What’s coming is better than what’s gone. I believe when He turns it around it will be a greater time and a greater testimony. All we to do is withstand the storm.
(Isaac Carree is a product of Greensboro, North Carolina and the son of Pastor Nancy Wilson from New Beginnings Community Outreach Church & Isaac Thompson Carree, Jr. Isaac Carree has amassed a distinguished artistic career as singer, songwriter, producer & actor, spanning over 25 years. Carree is also the proud husband of Dietra Carree and father to 3 children.)