UCSB’s Arts & Lectures series turns the style dial towards the Latin music orbit when fast-rising singer Carla Morrison makes her Santa Barbara debut at Campbell Hall on Thursday, October 27. The venue is a relatively modest one compared to the large halls she has been selling out in Latin America, as well as Los Angeles’ Greek Theater, and her distinctive recipes for Latin pop with R&B and inventive electronica additives promises to shake the Campbell rafters in a fresh way.
Morrison, born Carla Patricia Morrison Flores in Baja, Mexico, boasts two Grammy Award nominations and three Latin Grammy Awards, and her reputation has bumped up with her fifth album El Renacimiento in April. On the album, released on her independent Cosmica label, she demonstrates her confidence and range, from balladeer to bold vocal prowess suitable for dance floors everywhere. Its hits include “Contigo,” “No Me Llamas” and “Diamentes.”
Her single “Ansiedad,” released on its own in 2020, directly addresses the alienation of life during COVID lockdown. On the refrain, she sings (in an English translation): the anxiety kills me/You became my need/Being without you is going to kill me/It’s that I can’t accept.
Her list of starry collaborations includes Ricky Martin on his tune “Recuerdo,” Lila Downs, Macklemore, Calexico, and Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin. Cameos and collabs aside, Morrison’s own star and creative voice are ascending.
At Campbell Hall, the singer and guitarist will be backed by a trio of Alejandro Jiménez, on guitars, keyboards, programming, and backing vocals; Daniel Fraire on keyboards, guitars, and backing vocals; and drummer/percussionist Samuel Felix. Although singing in Spanish, Morrison transcends the specifics of language. She speaks to a universal language and audience, anywhere the appreciation of melodic hooks, seductive electro-acoustic grooves and a voice that speaks emotional truths beyond words.