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Carl Creighton “Minnesota” (Influenza)

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Approach Influenza as a series which serves to help give insight as to where music is born; these are the thoughts, influences and the inspirations directly from the mind of the artists. In this, the first of two parts featuring Carl Creighton, the singer/songwriter recollects the events that lead him to return to his family’s home of Minnesota. Struggling with the death of his sister, Creighton eventually revived his interest in exploring the world and returned to New York, where he had previously moved on to a year prior. As the song explains, in many ways death is a freeing experience as it can help one embrace new ideas and introduce drive where there was once contentment.

On “Minnesota”:

One time I played “Minnesota” at the Sidewalk Café, where I’ve played about a million times, and right after I introduced the song someone in the audience said, “Is this the song where your whole family dies?” And I said, “No, just my sister.” I think the guy thought the song was fictional. Someone else thought that too, that I was trying to be like Sufjan Stevens and write songs about states; but it’s true, especially the verse about my sister.

About four years ago I tried to move to New York from Minnesota. My family and friends were afraid for me to go because I only had two friends there and they thought the city was dangerous. My mom was crying hysterically because she thought I was going to die so far away from home. I was in New York for about a week when my sister died in a car accident fifteen minutes from our parents’ house. I had to go back, of course, and when I did my friends and family told me I had to stay. The song “Minnesota” is about all the things I have in Minnesota, mainly my family, and how I’m never going to go back to New York.

Each verse is about a different member of my family and my favorite memories with them, like going to Duluth with my brother. I think the next place I move to will probably be Duluth, it’s so beautiful. There’s a lot of my guilt about leaving home in the song too, like if I hadn’t left nothing bad would have happened, and my best friend Leah is in the last verse. I wrote the main melody for the song while working overnights at a Shell station in Prior Lake, at around three in the morning.

A little less than a year after Amanda’s accident, I unregistered for classes that I was going to take at community college and took a trip to Vancouver to record music. When the recording fell through, rather than going back to Minnesota, I decided to come to New York instead. I’ve been here ever since, so the song is kind of a lie, I guess. – Carl Creighton