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20 Things You Probably Didn't Know About: Carman

  • Michael Nolan Contributing Writer
  • 2003 21 Nov
20 Things You Probably Didn't Know About:  Carman

After a three-year hiatus from the studio, Carman is raising a holy ruckus with his just-released "House of Praise" (Cross Driven). Never one to be at a loss for words, we tried to shake loose some information that just might be news to you.

20. One-Two Punch
Carman fans know he’s a fan of boxing, but what are his favorite flicks on the subject? “'Raging Bull' was a greater artistic achievement, but 'Rocky' was able to connect with more people. Everybody understood it and identified with a character who was up against the odds.”

19. The Fat Lady Won’t Be Singing
Although he’s tackled a plethora of musical styles from hip-hop to country, count on him to eschew one genre: “Opera,” he laughs, “because I can’t hit the notes.”

18. Obeying the Write of Way
When Carman is in a creative mood, he often hops in his SUV and takes a long drive. “There are no distractions. I develop most of my ideas when I’m driving,” he observes. He frequently uses the voicemail on his cell phone as a tape recorder to capture a melody or lyric.

17. No Place Like Home
Although he’s a master onstage, he’s a mess at home. “I can’t keep my house clean,” he admits. “It comes from living in hotels so much of the time. I have to remind myself that no maid is going to come.”

16. Self Awareness
“I never really consider myself anything more than a razzle-dazzle praise & worship leader.”

15. Unsung Hero
“If I had to pick one person as my hero, it would be my brother, Mario, who died two years ago of a heart attack. At age 29, he became the youngest police chief in New Jersey and was honored many times for his service during his career. I’ve always emulated him,” he reflects.

14. Say Uncle
The notion of “Uncle Carman” may be hard for his fans to picture, but he, in fact, has five nieces ranging in age from 9 to 33. “I’m the uncle they call when they need to talk things out,” he confides. “They come to me and say, ‘I’m in a mess. Can you fix this?’”

13. Carman’s Mama Speaks
His best advice from his mother: “‘Don’t pay attention to what anybody else says. Do what you know you’re supposed to do.’ She was a child prodigy on the accordion, but she never got to fulfill her passion of going into the entertainment world. I have kind of carried on the torch and maybe overachieved,” he chuckles.

12. World-Wide Carman
Along with all the features you’d expect to find at an artist’s Web site, Carman writes a daily devotional for “Writing 365 devotions — a lot of work,” he notes wryly.

11. The Good Old Days
Although Carman has performed in many of the nation’s largest arenas and stadiums, he has never lost his fondness for small venues. “I had the most fun when I was going to theatres with just a six-man crew. I’d walk onstage with just me, a guitar, background tracks and a Bible. After the concert, I would go out and sit down, sign autographs, shake hands and talk to people face to face.”

10. Picture Perfect
To view Carman’s favorite picture in his home, you’d need to head to his workout room. Displayed there is a shot of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran from the 1980 boxing match dubbed “The Brawl in Montreal.” The appeal is the story of the underestimated underdog from the streets of Panama who succeeded in defeating the unbeaten Leonard.

9. Information Please?
To stay in touch with what’s going on in the world, Carman follows “Headline News”, “CNN” and “Entertainment Tonight” on television. At airport newsstands, he’ll grab a variety of magazines ranging from People to Jet to Country Music Today.

8. Visual Aids
Few Christian artists have embraced television and music videos as enthusiastically as Carman. “If you take it back to the principle Jesus gave to John the Baptist’s disciples when they came to him, he told them to tell John ‘not only what you hear but what you see.’ We’re a sight and sound generation. When you couple the visual with the audio, you have much greater impact on delivering the message.”

7. Curious Minds Want to Know
For his Halloween special, Carman interviewed illusionists. For his Independence Day special, he talked with people who were in the Pentagon when the plane crashed on Sept. 11 or lost friends they ate lunch with every day. “I want to find out what the real story is. I like to talk to the doers, not the talkers.”

6. Categorically Speaking
When he was first establishing himself as an artist, contemporary Christian music wasn’t sure how to embrace his style. “Now praise & worship has developed into its own genre, so now I fit into a category although I’m doing what I’ve always done,” he replies with a smile.

5. Elvis and Carman?
In a departure from standard recording practices, Carman recorded the basic tracks for "House of Praise" in a studio, then invited groups of 20 or so people to don headphones and worship with the songs while he spoke into a live mike. “I like the interaction with the small audience. It’s like what Elvis did with his ‘68 comeback concert,” he observes.

4. Bookworm
Although he’s written novels, Carman is a voracious reader of biographies. “It’d be easier to tell you who I haven’t read a biography on,” he observes. “If it’s real life, I’m in.”

3. Based on the Screenplay
Working in reverse of standard procedure, Carman is currently rewriting a screenplay about the heart changes of a Brazilian bare-knuckles boxer into a novel at the urging of a publisher. The book should be out next spring.

2. Scenes from the Book
The aforementioned novel will include photos presented as “scenes from a movie that never was” with Carman playing the main character. To portray the boxer in top shape, he will undergo four to five hours a day of intense physical training for several weeks.

1. Into the Fray
“My passion has always been to go where Christian music isn’t accepted or expected,” he states. To that end, he’s hit the beaches of Florida during Spring Break, the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras and the heart of gang territory in the Bronx. Up next is a February 2004 beach concert in Brazil during Carnival, a national holiday infamous for its decadence.

© 2003 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.  Click here to subscribe.