Kristin Carter grows her own beautifully intricate garden on ‘Full Bloom’

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Recommended Tracks: “Euphoria,” “Kintsugi,” “Hey Woman!”
Artists You Might Like:
Kelly Clarkson, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles

If you are not a plant person, there is probably someone in your life who is. Perhaps your best friend dabbles in gardening on the side, ready to clip stems and rotate soil at a moment’s notice. Or maybe your coworker has a green thumb, protecting and fostering groups of orchids at their desk. No matter your interest or skill level, there is something fascinating about growing new life on your own, knowing that you have helped a flower get to full bloom. The same can be said about your personal life as well, knowing that you are cultivating your best life through new lessons or experiences. As we hear on Kristin Carter’s debut album, Full Bloom, we all have a garden within us that needs to be tended to, and if we treat it right, we will see flowers that are as beautiful and as intricate as we are, all with a story to share.

On Full Bloom, Kristin tells us about what life was like for her in her 20s, where she compares the traits that she gained during that time to the traits exhibited in a skilled gardener. One trait that gardeners possess is compassion, and we hear Kristin’s compassionate side on tracks like “Euphoria” and “Love You Forever.” The album begins with “Euphoria,” an exploding, golden-hued pop hit that captures the pure delight of finding someone who makes your heart sing. Kristin then gets more serious on “Love You Forever,” focusing on an unconditional love that would lead to growing old together. You can’t help but swoon at the opening line, “I think my heart has always loved you / I see forever in your eyes / Until now, I was just living / But with you / I finally feel alive.”

Kristin also gets into moments of observation, which is yet another powerful attribute of gardeners. With “The Waltz,” she takes us to a high-brow party on a warm summer evening. She mocks and judges the “big money” at this outdoor soirée, paying attention to the way they “read the synopsis then misquote the book.” It is like a tell-off to those who confuse authority with entitlement, as well as a call to action to those who wish to see a change. On “Kintsugi,” she continues to speak her mind, touching on the impossible expectations of women. The tone of this track is similar to that of America Ferrera’s speech from Barbie, as Kristin describes the way that women are supposed to “Go away for a little while / Fix it up and then come back and smile,” and carry on with their day as if their feelings don’t matter. In the end, this behavior mimics the Japanese art of Kintsugi, in which pottery is broken down and then reassembled. The cracks are then painted over with gold dust, making a spectacle out of the fractures.

In order to thrive, it is best to explore. Maybe you plant your seeds in a different patch of dirt or cater to a new type of plant in the garden. Regardless of whether these changes succeed or fail, you can at least say that you tried. There are moments on Full Bloom when Kristin explores her feelings, hoping that the act of doing so will put her at ease. On the emotionally-driven “Break,” she acknowledges all the pressure she puts on herself. Over the tender piano and guitar, she sings, “I give my very best self / To everyone else / I’m no good at loving me / Wish I could give myself a break / Get out of my own way,” ready to exhale. This search for something more happens again on “Alive,” with Kristin asking the universe for help. Her vocals shine against the warm production as she sings, “I’m still waiting on a miracle / I think something needs to change / Sometimes, chasing an illusion runs you out into the flames.” This determined spirit becomes more downhearted, however, on “Your Side of the Blue,” with Kristin speaking to someone no longer in her life. Throughout the piano-based ballad, she looks forward to the day when she will reunite with this other person. She shares, “I’ll tell you everything that happened / Every summer, every fall / On the day I hold your hand again / I’ll walk you through it all,” the melancholy turning into excitement the more the track plays out.

Finally, you need to be resilient if you are going to make it – as a gardener, as a flower in your own field of life… You will be tested, you will be tricked, but it is important to keep going. Kristin encourages other women to be themselves on “Hey Woman!” letting them know that they shouldn’t apologize for their thoughts or actions. Over the heavy downbeats, her commanding vocals deliver lines like, “You know there ain’t no two ways around it / Looking for the ultimate, and baby, I found it / You’re the only you that we’ll ever need,” inspiring listeners to celebrate who they are. For those who wish to celebrate all they’ve been through, there’s “I’m Still Here.” This patient anthem is quiet but strong, careful but secure, sure to bring a second wind to those who listen. Its a cappella feel also draws attention to lines like, “I’m still here / A phoenix from the fire / Flying higher and higher / I will rise above it all,” highlighting the messages of the song. Important life messages also come through on “Good People Good Wine,” as Kristin promotes the idea of making the most of what you have and holding close the ones you love. The “You’re doing fine / It’s gonna be alright” lines during the guitar solo towards the end of the track lock in the feel-good vibes of the song, making it an outstanding finish to the album.

If your garden is not close to blooming after listening to the album, don’t worry. Much like Kristin’s journey on Full Bloom, your journey will contain all kinds of twists and turns or highs and lows, which is an essential part of life. With Full Bloom, Kristin gives you the tools to grow and reach your final form in whatever way possible, emphasizing that traits like compassion, observation, exploration, and resilience will get you there. You will have many opportunities to grow, many chances to blossom. In the end, the flowers in your garden may not be what you wanted but they are still worth preserving. As Kristin has previously explained, “A garden of only one kind of flower wouldn’t be a garden at all.”

You can listen to Full Bloom on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with Kristin Carter: Facebook // Instagram // X // YouTube // TikTok // Website

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