Karla Davis on Her Soulful Tone and Love of Acoustic Guitars

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Photo provided courtesy of artist

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 10 – Winter 2019 – Acoustic Artists

Karla Davis filled Guitar Girl in on her admiration and love for acoustic guitars. Davis, who got her start on YouTube, moved to Music City in 2009 to pursue her music career and has since performed on iconic stages such as the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry. Preparing for an album release is spring of 2020, Davis spoke with GGM about her love for acoustic guitars, how influential Bonnie Raitt has been towards her sound and career, and what performing on some of the worlds most renowned stages has taught her.

With such a vast and extensive résumé of accomplishments in the music industry, what was it that inspired you to become a musician?

I started posting videos on YouTube and realized I was starting to grow a pretty decent fan base. I was contacted by a few writers in Nashville, encouraging me to make the move to music city, which was in 2009. The rest is history!

Which female artists have inspired you and your soulful style of songwriting/playing?

My ultimate inspiration is Bonnie Raitt. It’s her soulful voice and style of guitar playing that always seems to bring me back to center. She has made her career exactly what she wanted it to be. She never gave in to commercial pressures, and she continues to sell out her tours. She is a constant source of encouragement for me.

Is there a specific brand of instrument you prefer to use when performing/recording? 

I live and breathe Takamine for my live performances. The on-stage electronics are top-notch for live sound. I use Takamine and Bedell in the studio for acoustic needs, with Fender as my go-to for electric purposes.

What is it about the acoustic guitar that resonates with you?

I have always preferred acoustic guitar. I like to hear the intimate tones and movements along the fretboard. I feel that the acoustic guitar works best with my style.

What advice would you give to young women who want to learn how to play the guitar?

I would say try and keep trying, practice and keep practicing, have fun and keep having fun! I still learn something new on guitar every day. Playing guitar makes me feel like my truest self. I hope girls learning to play guitar will allow themselves to fall in love with it in the way that I and so many others have.

What does the songwriting process look like for you? Where do you pull inspiration? 

I pull inspiration from a lot of book titles and everyday conversations. I’m always acutely aware of title opportunities in everyday life. It has become a kind of second nature to me at this point.

You’ve performed on the stages of NBC’s The Voice, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Ryman. What do these experiences mean to you, and what lessons were you able to take from them?

Each of those experiences has made me better, helping me to hone my craft and to better see my strengths and weaknesses. I do get kind of excited at the thought of telling my daughter about some of the stages I’ve gotten to play on in my lifetime. It’s something I’m proud of and each has taught me something different. For instance, the Voice was my ultimate lesson in not letting my nerves get the best of me, while the Ryman taught me to simply take a step back and enjoy every second of an important experience.

You’re single, “Wearing Me Out” is such a feel-good track. What inspired that song and how much fun was it filming the music video?

I love this tune! I wrote this with Gordon Kennedy. It came from a title track idea that I brought into the writing room. Gordon is such a great writer; he was quickly able to craft a melody. We had ourselves a song within an hour or so! The video was a blast. Any time I get to include my dog in a shoot, it’s a successful venture. We wanted a feel-good video to match the upbeat tone of the song.

What can fans expect from you in the near future?

I’m writing and recording for a new record right now, hoping to have it released in the spring of 2020. My fans can follow me on my journey on social media @karladavismusic.

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