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Saturday, September 30, 2023
September 30 , 2023

Frost artist Carlo Redl on eclecticism, growing as a guitarist and his unlikely journey to Miami

After applying on a whim to open for Flo Rida at this year’s Homecoming concert, junior Carlo Redl all but forgot that he had applied. That is, until he received an email saying he was selected.

“I didn’t even think I’d get it,” Redl said.

Redl is a student in the Frost School of Music majoring in music business and entertainment industries with minors in jazz and marketing. Some may recognize him from ‘Canes Carnival last spring, where he sang a duet with fellow Frost musician Chad Nelson. Now, he’s opening for one of the biggest names in music with a set of his own.

However, he won’t take the stage alone. Redl will be supported by a band also made of Frost musicians — senior jazz performance major Michael Ramos, sophomore media scoring and production major Aron Stornaiuolo and senior media scoring and production major Jack Dratch.

“I can play well because of them,” Redl said. “When I start a song, they know exactly what to do. They’re the only people I can do that with.”

Teasing his setlist for the concert, attendees can expect to hear “Talking” and “Luv” from his recently-released EP, a cover of “The Hills” by the Weeknd and a song he plans to compose entirely on the spot.

Photo credit: Carlo Redl

“We’re planning to pass the mic to someone in the audience [to] maybe give us a chord to go off of,” Redl said. “If the vibes are right, it always goes well.”

Though these sound like words from a seasoned live performer, Redl had not performed a live show until this past summer. Since then, he’s played venues like the Anderson in Miami, the Industry City Courtyard ½ in Brooklyn, New York and soon, he’ll play the Watsco Center.

Before coming to Miami, the singer/songwriter had a unique upbringing. Born in Japan, Redl lived there until he was 10 years old, then he moved to Singapore for three years, moved back to Japan for a year, did his first two years of high school in California and eventually moved back to graduate from the American School of Japan.

“When I moved back to Tokyo, I met my first songwriter friend and he was a singer, too,” Redl said. “Just seeing that inspired me to start singing and songwriting. I started doing it almost every day and then I started songwriting for different record labels.”

With a father who was also a guitarist, Redl has been a musician from a very young age, starting out with classical lessons he was required to attend weekly.

“If you put music scores in front of a 4-year-old, it doesn’t really make sense,” Redl said. “I didn’t enjoy playing guitar until I got to California when I discovered blues, funk, R&B, that type of stuff.”

Up until his junior year of high school, Redl said he mainly listened to classic 70s rock, citing artists like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. Now, he draws inspiration from acoustic masterminds like John Mayer and Tom Misch and R&B powerhouses like Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, Lucky Daye, Summer Walker and Jhené Aiko.

Photo credit: Carlo Redl

Junior year was a pivotal time in his life for another reason. Redl meant to attend his Japanese high school’s graduation ceremony on time that year, but showed up to the wrong venue. Few could have guessed that this mix-up would lead him to UM.

“There was one of the student’s moms who also showed up to the wrong place and she was like ‘oh, you go to the school, too? I’ll just drive you to the place,’” Redl said. “And she explained that her son was playing guitar at Frost School of Music. I was like, ‘Frost? That sounds goofy.’ She started explaining it to me and showed me pictures of the lake, and I was like, ‘oh, I have to come here.’”

So far, Redl’s time at UM has allowed him the space to grow as a musician.

“I would say jazz is the hardest genre to comprehend and play,” Redl said. “It was really just being exposed to high-level musicians around me that got me to improve. Working with songwriters in America gave me a whole different perspective.”

In addition to growing his skills musically, being at Frost has also been a humbling experience for Redl.

“I considered myself back in high school extremely egotistic[al] because I was good at guitar,” Redl said. “A lot of people gave me too much credit. Nobody told me until I got here [to] work harder… I learned it’s very important to have a good balance of self-criticism and self-praise.”

As a freshman at UM, Redl started making music in the dorms before taking a gap year during the height of the pandemic.

“That gap year was when I took the time to really think [about] what I really wanted to do and that’s when I got signed to my label MNNF [RCRDS],” Redl said. “Then they spent a year developing me as an artist and hooking me up with a publishing company called Pulse Music Group, a synchronization company, stuff like that.”

Redl said his label wants him to consistently be seen with a guitar, whether it’s in photoshoots or onstage.

“I’m very nervous on stage until you put a guitar in my hands,” Redl said. “The minute I have a guitar I feel very comfortable.”

Carlo Reidl poses for the cover of his just released EP “Empty."
Carlo Reidl poses for the cover of his just released EP “Empty." Photo credit: Carlo Redl

When describing his sound, Redl brought up the idea of eclecticism.

“All your ideas are derivative of some human or natural element in the past, so the music that I write is like a microcosm of a scientist discovering something new,” Redl said. “They do that because people from the past have laid the foundation for it. In the same way, the music I write is because I’ve listened to Frank Ocean, Lucky Daye, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis. It’s very eclectic.”

Keeping the theme of eclecticism, Redl wants to start incorporating genres like jazz, funk, blues and rock into the modern pop industry. However, he hopes to get a visa in the near future, live in Los Angeles or NYC and become a credible artist with global distribution.

“I want to live in Japan in the future for sure, but it wouldn’t be sustainable as a musician — or at least, on my soul,” Redl said.

Likewise, Redl has big aspirations when it comes to leaving his mark on the music industry.

“A lot of songs are about materialism and ‘money is the best thing,’ putting down and objectifying women, [saying] ‘drugs and alcohol are cool’…I just think it’s a bad influence on people on a wide scale,” Redl said. “It’s a selfish thing for me to be like, ‘I want to change that’ because I’m just one person, but I just really strongly believe that music could be better and more positive.”

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