“I hope to play Coachella,” says 22-year-old artist Taisha Bethea. “That’s the goal.”
Bethea, who grew up in Concord, N.C., and was singing since the age of five. “I met them all during high school,” she said when asked how she became the lead singer for local alternative rock band, Carson. “I was already friends with Ben and Peter. I would sing all the time around school,” Bethea says. “They needed a singer so Ben messaged me on Myspace,” she laughed. “Totally 2008.”
Being a black, female singer for a rock band, Bethea received lots of skepticism for not fulfilling the stereotype. “I mean, of course people were always saying something about it, which is so dumb if you ask me,” she says.
“I love all different kinds of genres and it’s so fun to be able to do it all. We always got the whole ‘black girl rock band’ thing and that was always pretty lame but … it’s not that big of a deal. I sing what I want to sing with hopes that at least one person will love it, black or white. Who cares?” Bethea laughed.
While she sang for Carson, she looks at the experience as highly successful. “We got to play [Vans] Warped Tour a couple of times. We went to Chicago for a Victory Records showcase,” she recollected. “[The band] made me the musician I am.” Regarding the band’s recent breakup, Bethea says that she was expecting the split. “We were all just growing apart musically, you know? We were a band for six years and that’s a long time.” She admits that she didn’t realize before how much work had to be done to keep the band successful. Bethea says that she was, “just a girl in a band who sang and wrote. That’s it.”
The band split up shortly after she auditioned and made it to Hollywood to participate on American Idol. Bethea had no prior ambition to participate. “[It was] totally spur of the moment. A friend messaged me a few days before, and I was having a crappy day and was just like, “You know what? Fine. I’ll do it,” she laughed. The auditions were recorded at Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord, just minutes from the University. She describes the opportunity to be on American Idol as “rad.” Her participation in Hollywood was also the first time that she had ever flown on a plane. When asked about something that the audience in front of the television may not know about the show, Bethea stated that she wasn’t allowed to share. She just knows that she’ll “never try out again.” As for her performance, she tells us that she lasted three days and ended up top 80 overall, and top 40 girls. “Live shows start at top 20.” Exhaustion is what Bethea blames for her being sent home. “I would’ve rested more,” she said. “I was too hype.”
After returning to North Carolina, Bethea continued to work multiple jobs to record and produce her musical endeavors. She says that after leaving American Idol, she realized “how easy it is to achieve what you believe if you just try.” Hollywood left her excited and driven to finish recording her first album, which she did within the past month and will be releasing independently. A release party is in the works and hopes to begin playing shows once again, this time as a solo artist. She describes her sound as “really experimental, soulful hip-hop.” Not confident in her claim however, Bethea suggests “listen[ing] to it yourself to find out. It doesn’t really fit into any genre because it’s a mix of a lot of different sounds.”
Category:Arts and Entertainment