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How Classical Percussion Background Influences S. Carey's Songwriting Today

Cameron Wittig

Sean Carey’s path to becoming an acclaimed indie singer-songwriter started very close to his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Carey has taken his interest in classical and jazz percussion and used it as the basis for his current music-making, which he performs under the moniker of S. Carey.

Carey plays everything from marimba to organ to guitar on his newest album, called Range of Light. But he gets some help from fellow Eau Claire musician Justin Vernon, with whom he played as part of Vernon’s Bon Iver project.

Carey played at the Cedarburg Cultural Center to kick off the new year, and will play in Milwaukee on April 15th. Bonnie North spoke with him last spring and inquired if his degree in classical percussion from UW-Eau Claire ever had him imagining a career with a symphony.

"Oh no! Not at all," Carey said. "At that point I thought I would just be more of a gigging musician, and probably giving private lessons and stuff. Or maybe go to grad school, I wasn't quite sure. But I definitely didn't picture myself being a touring musician and ultimately being a songwriter."

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.