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Art & Life with Jonelle Carter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonelle Carter.

Jonelle, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
River Road is an acoustic trio hailing from the southwest suburbs of Chicago IL. Singer songwriter Jonelle Carter joins band mates (and husband) Terry Carter and Kyle Ripsch in an intimate combination of smooth harmonies and deep, soul stirring lyrics. Jonelle Marie broke onto the airways in 2004 with her first album “Listen” receiving over 200,000 downloads of her first single, “Not Your Doll” and becoming DSN’s top downloaded artist of the year in 2005. Her husband and guitar player/ vocalist, Terry Carter, adds a unique playing style and incredible vocals. Terry has toured with artists such as country superstar Sammy Kershaw and the Chicago area smash 90’s band “The All-night News Boys”. Kyle Ripsch brings his incredible talent as a piano player/vocalist to the stage with a rich history including 10 years with country indie band “The Cattle Bandits” and multiple studio appearances throughout the Chicago area including many country and gospel albums. The three members of River Road Trio met while playing with (and currently are still playing) The Clients Band, a cover band in central Illinois.

River Road Trio was formed in 2011 with the intention of playing acoustic music, writing and releasing original music. Terry and Jonelle have are married and have been best friends with Kyle Ripsch for 10 years. A month after the band was formed, Jonelle, the lead female singer and writer were diagnosed with a rare type of cancer in her throat. After undergoing intensive surgery and healing for over a year, Jonelle was ready to sing again and would go on to release the trio’s first album, Unloaded, followed by singles “21 Down” and “This Town”. River Road is currently playing in several states across the United States, locally and working in the studio on new material to be released over the next few months.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Music is our art. My goal as a writer is to touch as many people as possible with music. Music is healing and I credit it to my healing. I want to write songs that people can relate to. I want the music to make their memories come alive. I want them to be able to smell the green grass of the small town they grew up in, to feel their first heartbreak all over again and then feel it heal all in three minutes or less. I want to use my experiences to help others through a hard time or create a new joyful memory. We also feel that being married ( Jonelle and Terry) is a really neat element in our writing and performing. All three members have a loving family feel on and off stage. Music is being played at our home constantly. All three of us grew up in homes where music was the main focus. I started writing poetry at the age of 8, Terry and Kyle both started playing instruments at the age of 5. We harmonize like siblings, fight like siblings and love like siblings even though we are not related (except for the marriage part of course)

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
One of my dear friends who is a talented producer and recording artist gave me great advice when starting out. Do ONE thing a day for your craft. Write one line if you are a writer, paint one stroke if you are a painter. Contact one person to market yourself. Don’t let days go by in between working on your art.

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Image Credit:
Jacquelyne Rochelle Johnson

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