Exclusive Interview with Carman: His Return to Music Amid Ba
Exclusive Interview with Carman: His Return to Music Amid Battling Cancer
by Aimee Herd, Breaking Christian News
I've always appreciated Carman's unique ability to engage his listeners or audience in a dramatic depiction-in-song of the power of God and the Gospel. I know I'm not alone in that, and now Carman, himself, knows just how many have not only valued his gifting, but are willing to sow into it for even more.
I'm referring to the Kickstarter campaign Carman Domenic Licciardello began a couple months ago that took off like wildfire.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself...
Rewind to February of this year, when the creative and charismatic singer/songwriter was diagnosed with "incurable" cancer in the form of myeloma — his doctor gave him a 3-4 year window before it would take its toll.
I asked Carman about what that prognosis did to him, not just physically, but also spiritually.
Carman: Well, it didn't shake me up too much, contrary to popular belief. I hadn't been doing anything really significant in the ministry for 13 years; I wasn't recording or touring. I just felt like I was sort of fading. [When I heard the news] I just figured this is how I make my exit. I really wasn't upset about it; I was just going about making plans to get my affairs together.
BCN: What caused you to want to change your mindset?
Carman: Well, the thing that got me back in the swing was when I put a post on Facebook, so my family members wouldn't hear crazy stories — I would clear up any mystery about it. What I thought might get a few hundred posts, got 18,000 posts.
I was like ... who are all these people and where did they come from?! I didn't think anybody really remembered me, or cared, or that I was on anyone's radar. It was a shocker to me. I didn't know what it meant, because when I see something like that, I start to think of it in spiritual terms. What is this all about? What does this mean?
The only thing I could come up with was that maybe the Lord wanted to give me a "fond farewell" and people would say a few things before the worst comes. I understood that. And then I got a phone call from an attorney I used to work with 20 or 30 years ago, in Nashville. He said, "Maybe you should think about putting some music back out there."
I told him that I'd been wanting to for 13 years but that no record company would come near me. I think once you get a certain age it's time to move on and find another artist. But he said, "Why don't you circumvent the record companies and go directly to the people. The people may want it, and they may fund it. If they do, would you be willing to put something back out there?" I told him if they fund it, then yeah, of course. So he hooked me up with Kickstarter.
We considered all the costs and put our Kickstarter amount at $200,000 for a 60-day campaign. In less than 30 days in, we had met our budget! I was completely shocked.
BCN: And now you're over another hundred-thousand more than that.
Carman: It's crazy, but if the people want it, and God's in it, I'm in — I'll do it. For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain, but if He's gonna give me something to do, I'll do it.
BCN: That had to be a huge encouragement for you.
Carman: Yeah, it got me back in the game for sure. I've been writing songs, for me — music has to come to me, I can't go find it. But sure enough, melodies and ideas started to come, and choruses, it's like "back in the day." And the money that was raised over our $200,000 will now go into the tour. Because if you have a record, you've got to have a tour to go with it.
And the thing is, I've got to be somewhat healthy to be able to do all this stuff so, there's got to be some kind of physical reversal to accommodate all this that's coming my way. So, that's kind of where we're at.
BCN: Carman, as you consider all that has happened to you in the last few months, what has God been speaking to you?
Carman: Well, up until this recent decision to move ahead with music, I was just fading off into the sunset. I wasn't shaking my fist at the sky — I've done that and it doesn't get you anywhere. But now, I guess I have more to do. There's stuff that's still unfinished. There are some things that don't make sense to me — like what were the last 13 years about then, but I'm not asking [for an explanation]. If the Lord wants you to know something, He'll show you — if He doesn't, you can cry all day long, you're not gonna get anything.
I wish I had some big spiritual anecdote: "Here's what God is showing me..." But I don't know. We're all just guessing. I just know what I have to do next.
BCN: How can the Body of Christ be praying for and supporting you?
Carman: Pray that I stay healthy so I can pull this off. That's the big one right there.
BCN: I'm sure I speak for many when I say I'm really looking forward to hearing these new songs that God is giving you.
Carman Domenic Licciardello is an enigma in Christian music, often described as part evangelist, part Vegas Showman. His concerts were more like a rock and roll Billy Graham Crusade than a Christian music event. After all the singing, dancing, clapping and preaching, throngs of people would stream down to the counseling area to accept Christ-many times as many as 5,000 in an evening. Admission was usually free, a simple offering taken, similar to 30,000 churches on Sunday mornings. And he filled the largest stadiums the world over. In fact, Carman holds the record for the largest Christian concert ever in Dallas, Texas.
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