STERLING HEIGHTS — When singer-songwriter Carley Lusk grew up in Sterling Heights, she was more interested in dancing and gymnastics than pursuing a music career.
But she remembers enjoying listening to musical inspirations like Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera and Frank Ocean — as well as her first time performing onstage at around 10 years old.
“I always knew that music moves me,” she said. “I was at a breast cancer event and sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ And I was like, wow, I feel very comfortable and at peace with myself.”
Lusk, 22, recently released an eponymous two-track EP of rhythm and blues/pop music complete with an accompanying video for her song “Stay in My Way.” She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.
Lusk’s entry into the music world happened after she graduated from Henry Ford II High School. Although she first pursued a marketing degree at Wayne State University, she decided to switch gears. She signed up for 12 courses over two years at the Detroit Institute of Music Education.
“I had no music theory background,” she said. “The teachers there were amazing.”
After Lusk’s older sister moved to California, Lusk followed suit. She left DIME with the resolve that she was “going to make this happen.”
She worked as a waitress and got discovered by a music executive, Dan Hubbert, who heard her sing. Lusk said he told her to write 30 songs in 30 days, and after she did, they picked a few of them to produce. Then she flew to Utah to record them.
“I saw the movie ‘A Star Is Born,’ and that is my life,” Lusk said.
Lusk said she loves to write music, adding that listening to Winehouse inspired her to learn how to play guitar. She said she makes writing poetry and lyrics a habit, and wrote her song “Stay in My Way” in 10 minutes. She already has about two albums’ worth of lyrics ready to roll.
“I started finding this channel where I was able to write, very easily, lyrics,” she said. “I try to write music every day.”
Besides recording her first EP, Lusk also has been performing at local venues. She said her next step is to perform her new songs live, record a full album and eventually go on tour with it.
Lusk’s father, Gary Lusk, is a former Sterling Heights city councilman. He praised the DIME music institute for helping set his daughter up to be successful in the industry. Next come the challenges of promotion and publicity, he said.
“Now the hard work comes in, trying to get successful,” Gary Lusk said.
Find out more about Carley Lusk by visiting her Instagram page, @CarleyLusk.