*Prologue re-written & content updated October 2017*
*October 2017: Reeve Carney is presently in Edmonton, Alberta for the pre-Broadway run of the musical: ‘Hadestown’ at the Citadel Theatre (tickets can be purchased here). The show runs from November 11th – December 3rd, 2017. recent article on this is (here).
Since October 2016 when New York-born Actor and Musician Reeve Carney released his solo debut album ‘Youth Is Wasted’, to this very moment in time, I have probably listened to the whole thing in its entirety almost daily. Not only this this album a magical adventure from start to finish, the music and lyrics have even inspired my own artistic creativity with storyboard visuals for a book I am currently writing. How does this happen? It’s the ‘Carney magic’, that’s how! In fact, this is a family of exceptional talent: Reeve is the oldest sibling to Zane (also a fantastic Musician), and Paris (who has recently launched her Music journey as O’neill Hudson! (See her Spotlight here) and their mother, Marti Heil is the genius behind Fables by Marti Heil (links on the front page of our website – her website is here), an exquisite jewelry line which has also been featured (The Coffin Ring) in Fox’s ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ on Reeve (who played Rif Raf – see below).
When we delve into the filmography history of this talented Actor, there is an impressive roster of film and television roles he has starred in. From his early role as a teen in ‘Snow Falling On Cedars’, to playing the bad boy in Taylor Swifts’ ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ music video, his role as Dorian Gray in ‘Penny Dreadful’, and even his latest as Rif Raf in Fox’s ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’, Reeve has proven he can evolve flawlessly and is rapidly proving to be of the greatest Actors of our time. He has also played Peter Parker/Spiderman in the Broadway musical: Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. In this time, he met and recorded the song ‘Rise Above’ with U2’s Bono for the musical (see below). Reeves’ earlier music career with his brother Zane was ‘Carney’ and is a true reflection of the creative versatility he has as a Musician. Songs like ‘Love Me, Chase Me’, a music video which is fantastical visually, is a clever play on the ‘Carney’ name with a vintage circus theme. Even the street performance acoustic video for this song is phenomenal (prompting me to research Reeve’s career further – see both videos below). This then delves into the genius name for Reeves’ publishing and record company ‘Scissorhand Songs’, derived from his favorite Tim Burton film ‘Edward Scissorhands’.
On October 14th, 2016, the ‘Youth Is Wasted’ album released followed by a successful 13-date North American tour on the heels of the October 20th premiere of Fox’s ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’. The album itself is a unique masterpiece defining Reeve Carney as an ‘Imaginative and Magical Creator’ demonstrated through carefully thought out lyrics paired with enchanting instrumentation that reflect his prevalent experience on Broadway. My personal favorite is ‘Think Of You’, a song which can be interpreted as a ‘romantic balled’ but after listening carefully to the lyrics, talk about the Artists spiritual connection and faith. Other songs on the album like ‘Happiness’ and ‘Looking Glass’ have that magical element aforementioned. There are other elements of passion and intensity with songs like ‘Truth’, ‘Intention’, ‘Geronimo’, ‘Resurrection’, and ‘Youth Is Wasted’. These are songs that, thematically, talk about very real topics we all face and are delivered through Reeves’ discernible vocals and cleverly written lyrics. The album in its entirety has a unique jazz and blues sound genre-wise, reflective of his earlier work with Carney, but, evolved.
We predict great things for Reeve Carney in both music and film and will continue to follow his journey on our SMC Spotlight Numbered Series. If you would like to find out more, check out and subscribe to his socials below our exclusive interview.
Exclusive Interview SMC Spotlight ‘Youth Is Wasted’ interview | Oct. 21st, 2017
SMC – Hello Reeve! We are very excited to have you on our Starlight Music Chronicles Platform. I have been following your music and acting career for quite some time now. It’s very impressive! The ‘Youth is Wasted’ album is absolutely phenomenal.
Reeve – Thank you so much! You listened to the album?
SMC – Oh yes, I bought it right away!
Reeve – Thank you. That’s so amazing.
SMC – I have to be honest with you Reeve, I am very selective with who we interview for the SMC Spotlight. It must be exceptional and nothing less….
Reeve – Oh wow, thank you!
SMC – You’re welcome! Hearing this album was like magic from start to finish.
Reeve – Thank you so much. I put my heart and soul into this so I really appreciate that.
SMC – Yes, I can tell. It’s a work of art for sure! So, let’s get right into it…I connected to you via your mom on twitter and I had noticed that you have been wearing her jewelry (Fables by Marti Heil) – it’s gorgeous! I also heard Tim Burton referenced there. What’s the correlation between the jewelry and Tim Burton?
Reeve – Edward Scissorhands, for me, has been hugely influential in a lot of things in my life artistically. It’s the first time I was introduced to the music of Danny Elfman (American Composer, Singer, Songwriter, and Record Producer). I am a huge Tim Burton fan, and a fan of Johnny Depps also. Everything about that movie I found to be really inspiring. What happened is, I started wearing that cuff and because of that connection, we thought it would be a good thing to call it that (The Scissorhand Cuff – purchase here). I think what it was….my publishing company is called ‘Scissorhand Songs’ and now my record company is called that as well. Technically the order is: publishing company, then my mom named the jewelry piece, and then I named the record company.
SMC – We actually had the Hollywood Vampires in the first edition of Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine. For us, it’s lead us from one Artist to another and in some profound way, its lead us to you. I’ve seen that you were also in Taylor Swifts’ video ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ – how did that come about?
Reeve – In October 2012 I received a phone call from my Manager letting me know that her Manager called and asked for me to be in her new music video for the single ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. I had no idea how I landed on her radar but upon meeting her, I asked her ‘How did you become aware of me?’ She said, ‘Oh my gosh, I am such a huge fan of your band Carney. I loved the music video for ‘Love Me, Chase Me’. I really didn’t think someone like Taylor Swift even knew who we were.
SMC – Your role in the video was fantastic. It was perfect!
Reeve – Well I was doing Spiderman on Broadway at the time and I am glad that my stage managers were not aware that I took 2 days off for the video because they would have been upset. We filmed it in Los Angeles and then as soon as it was done I went straight back to the show. It’s a good thing I didn’t injure myself doing some of those stunts because I did actually stand up in that car while it was moving. It was really fun though!
SMC – Yeah, that was great! I have seen you in Penny Dreadful (he plays Dorian Grey), and I have now seen you as ‘Rif Raf’ (Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show released on October 20th, 2016). You did that tole justice!
Reeve – Oh awesome! It played in Alberta?
SMC – Yes of course! We got it up here. You did fantastic! What lead to that role?
Reeve – I met Kenny Ortega (American Producer, Director, and Choreographer) briefly on Broadway when I was playing Spiderman – so briefly that I didn’t even think anyone introduced me to him as Kenny. I didn’t know it was Kenny until after I met him. I was filming the third season of Penny Dreadful (see below) and my agents called me and said that there was some interest in me and they wanted me to audition for the role of ‘Rif Raf’ as Kenny Ortega had become a fan of Penny Dreadful and he said that I might be right for this role. That’s how it happened. I ended up doing a bunch of self-tapes from Dublin remotely that were sent to Los Angeles for the screen test. I couldn’t get away from my film schedule (for Penny Dreadful). Thankfully that was enough to get the part. I had such a tremendously good time working on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and it was filmed in Canada, so, hey!
SMC – Where?
Reeve – Ontario – we filmed it in Toronto at Casa Loma (see here) and Pinewood Studios (see here). Yeah, I love Canada. I filmed a movie in British Columbia as a teenager called ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’. That was the last acting job I did before I decided to focus 100% on music. Now, obviously, I am doing both.
SMC – I saw that one of your fans asked you on a live video how hard it is to focus on both. Obviously if you have a passion for it you’re going to do well and it’s very apparent in your case. If you had to choose acting or music, which one pulls you more?
Reeve – I really don’t know if I have an answer for that because if you asked me this question five to seven years ago, I would have a different answer than I have now. I think now, to me, being an Actor and a Musician is like being able to live your life like in both waking states and dreaming states. So, you have both things which feed one another. I love all of these things in my life and they happen to feed my dreams. Additionally, my dreams tend to feed my ambitions in life and the way I choose to walk through my life. I wouldn’t really want to choose. I think that there’s something really healthy about being able to explore goals in a therapeutic way through acting and you can do the same thing for music but it’s different.
SMC – Absolutely.
Reeve – I think the audience feels a connection with Musicians more than Actors in some ways. I think that Acting is somewhat more of something people are familiar with because they know what it is like to be human and Actors portray human emotions and I guess that’s what you’re trying to do with music as well but I find that it’s all just one fluid thing for me.
SMC – That brings me to the next question which is the art of your music. The lyrics for ‘Think of you’ are unbelievable! It’s my favorite off the ‘Youth Is Wasted’ album.
Reeve – Well, thank you!I am so happy to hear you say that because I have released that song in various versions a few times over the years. I originally wrote that song when I was 20 years old. I’ve released it a few times but I truly never felt like I had gotten it right until now so I am really happy to hear you say that. There were people I was working with at a certain point who were sort of discouraging me from releasing that song again because I had already released it. I really do feel that this new version gets to the heart and the core of the emotional origins of the song. Yeah, I am glad to hear you say that because it makes me feel like it was a really good idea to put it on the album.
SMC – Yes, totally worth it. Seriously, for me, it’s a very spiritual song.
Reeve – Yes, for me too.
SMC – I thought, when I first heard it, ‘Wow! This guy gets it.’ For someone so young – I mean writing it at 20 – for someone so young to have that vision and understanding past themselves and the ego and to be able to pen it to paper and express it in the way that you have – it’s just beautiful. It is also a true reflection of the rest of the album where you talk of many real-life topics in that album – which song or theme resonates with you the most?
Reeve – I like the idea of expansion and exploration. One of the most beautiful things in life is that you continue to learn throughout your whole life and my Grandmother is a great example of that. She is 89 years old and if you ask her a question, in a very sweet way she’ll say, ‘Why don’t you look it up?’ She’s always interested in learning and I think that’s one of the beautiful things in life is that you continue expanding and continue to learn. For me, there’s not one subject matter that resonates more than others necessarily. One thing I love…. you mentioned the spiritual nature of it….is working with a band like U2, (worked with Bono for the song ‘Rise Above’ for Spiderman on Broadway) I think that no one does it better than U2. They write so well in terms of walking that line between writing a song on what it ‘could be’ about in us humans, but in actuality, it’s about an invisible spiritual force. I’m definitely drawn to that subject matter and I always have been. That’s one way I really relate to U2. I have enjoyed personal conversations with Bono in particular about this subject.
SMC – Nice….and I am sure you are aware that like attracts like so just having that background with the band (U2) is automatically drawing the kind of audience that you have created to your music. It seems that your fans are also of this nature as well. You have fans who are very serious about music, its meaning, and their music library very seriously. Now, they are adding your volume to it. How does that feel?
Reeve – That is wonderful to say – so nice.
SMC – I saw a tweet where you were referred to a ‘Modern Day Freddy Mercury’ and I hear even more such as Michael Jackson, Lennon, McCartney, Prince…these are people that I grew up with.
Reeve – Thank you, me too.
SMC – To me that’s amazing because you have also made it uniquely your own sound too. You’re extracting sounds from people who aren’t even here any longer, and the world needs that again.
Reeve – Thank you so much. Those people are certainly on the short list of my greatest musical heroes in history. One thing I have found – to jump onto what you’ve just said – is that it’s been extremely inspiring and moving to me to read some of the iTunes reviews for the ‘Youth Is Wasted’ album. To connect to what you just said, I feel so honored that the people that are listening to this music are either just naturally this way or somehow the music is encouraging them to express these parts of themselves. Their reviews are so poetic – it’s not just your standard ‘Hey Great Album!’ or whatever you want to say about it. They’re such poetic reviews, I am so honored by that. I’m really touched by people’s reviews. To me, their language is as beautiful as anything I’ve written on the album so it’s great to have fans like that. Of course, I am happy to have any fans but I just want to give a ‘shout out’ to those people.
SMC – Just to add to that, we would love to have subsequent interviews with you as your career continues to expand. I would be very happy to run a Spotlight Series on you in future.
Reeve – Yeah!
SMC – Wonderful! Just to go back a little, we know that you come from Hollywood royalty (Art Carney is his great Uncle – played Ed Norton on The Honeymooners). Even with having that background, I still see you as an incredibly dynamic and unique individual. How would you say you’ve been able to separate yourself and remain individual from this background?
Reeve – I grew up with incredibly supportive parents who encouraged exploring all sides of myself from an artistic standpoint and really, just in general as a human being. Never being afraid the things that make us unique and to just embrace those things was always encouraged. I think one of the messages that is so great about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, especially our new version which aired last night (October 21st, 2016) is that it can help people unlock within themselves and be true to who you are. Although it’s cliché, I think that by just not letting fear get in the way of expressing your truth is the way to be. Don’t be afraid of being different because your differences are what make you unique. Life would be pretty boring if everyone acted exactly like the person standing next to them. Don’t try to be different for the sake of being different but be true to yourself and don’t let anyone’s negative opinions of you stand in the way of reaching your full potential.
SMC- I follow your Instagram and I have seen you go from completely serious to very comical but they are always unique. If you had to choose a few words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Reeve – Oh, that’s a good question! Well, I would say grateful is probably the first word. Curious…. grateful, and open. I would say those three.
SMC – I agree. I think those are good ones. Have you thought about doing any future co-writes with anyone?
Reeve – Yes, I would love to. The only co-write I have on this album, because I wrote most all the songs myself, was with the song ‘Truth’ which I brought to my friend Tommy Sims (see here). He’s a genius songwriter who wrote one of my favorite songs in the 1990’s ‘Change The World’ (a co-write with Eric Clapton). He’s written so many amazing songs. I brought ‘Truth’ to him and he helped me finish it. I would love to work with him again. There are a lot of people I would love to collaborate with. I would like to see what would happen if all I did was sing just to see what someone else would bring. At one point, that would be interesting to see happen. I could also make an album a lot quicker with a team of people instead of doing it all myself. I’ve been reticent to collaborate prior to completing this work because I think I had to get this out of me. I am old friends with Lana Del Rey and at some point, I would love to collaborate with her.
SMC – Yeah. That would be great! The sounds of the album have that mystical, magical, carnival, even vaudeville kind of element. I’ve never heard anything like this before.
Reeve – Oh awesome – I am so glad to hear that. I really wanted it to flow well.
SMC – Yes, there’s definitely a storyboard there. Is this something you just think ‘Hey, I’m going to put these thoughts down on paper right away’ or has this been something that has been built upon over the course of years?
Reeve – It was built upon over the course of years. I recorded about 41 songs for this album of which I released 15. I only recorded skeletons of the 41 songs and then I got to about 21 songs and thought ‘Okay, I’m going to choose from these and what makes the best story for this album.’ That’s what I put out with ‘Youth Is Wasted’. With the next one, I am not exactly sure how I will release it – I have to finish all those recordings still. I wanted to make sure that some of the things I had as compositions over the years and some new ones were included. Probably the newest composition is the song ‘Girl Like Me’. I wrote it on the bass of all instruments which was very strange for me. I think that’s what gave it that more dance-y feel. I usually write on piano or guitar and there was the temptation to write it on those to slow things down but I ultimately expanded my songwriting style by writing on the bass.
SMC – What other instruments do you play Reeve?
Reeve – I play all the instruments on the album: guitar, piano, bass, drums, and a few other random things. I also have some cello in there and the mellotron (vintage keyboard).
SMC- Nice. That’s amazing. You produced your own album too under your Publishing company correct?
Reeve – Yes, I did produce it in my apartment in New York City. I mixed it in my apartment as well. I really love mixing.
SMC – Well, like I said earlier Reeve, this album is a total work of art. This is not something that you hear every day. My hat’s off to you sincerely. You’re going on tour right away so congratulations on that. I hope you have a great time. We will continue following and supporting your journey!
Reeve – That’s great, thank you!
SMC – If there were any last words of advice you could give to anyone starting a career in music or acting, what would that be?
Reeve – I would say, trust your instincts. Yeah, that’s what I would say. I keep coming back to that philosophy. There was a period in time where there were some people who were trying to influence my decision-making process and I had to trust my instincts which is why I made this album the way I did!
SMC – Thanks again Reeve!
Reeve – Awesome, thank you so much!
Check out the ‘Youth Is Wasted’ album on Spotify below
Reeve Carney Social Media Links (click to view)