Cari Cole is an award winning singer-songwriter who has captured a steadily growing audience since her 2002 debut, The Circle of Fire: an intimate and honest expression of life seen through the eyes of love. Musician, composer, poet, and singer, Cari Cole, has walked the shaman’s path to create a music and artistry that heals. ’Transformational Music’ is what listeners are calling “The Circle of Fire,” the inspirational debut CD on Amber-Allen Publishing.
Originally from Minneapolis, Cari Cole has been a musician and songwriter for most of her life, exploring a variety of musical endeavors through her early beginnings. She often found herself strumming her acoustic guitar or lugging her round-necked Dobro or mountain dulcimer to cafes and friends homes for a song or two before she was old enough to go to clubs. She sang the folk songs of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan as she wrote her own and found her way to New York City at the age of 19 where she joined a rock and roll band.
She went on to teach voice in New York, founded her own voice studio, was a soloist in The Metro Mass Choir and performed everywhere from CBGB’s and the infamous Bitter End to Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and The Apollo Theatre where she shared the stage with legendary singers such as Cissy Houston and Martha Wash to name a few. Although she is best known as a vocalist and songwriter, Cari is also a versatile musician: playing piano, acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimer, and flute. In the teaching arts, she is regarded as one of the most notable in voice studies, working with four-time Grammy Award winning recording artist Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and the legendary band of Journey among others.
Throughout her musical quests, Cari’s career as a singer and songwriter was always in competition with her thriving NY voice studio. She pursued her music in between sessions with students, demo~ing songs, performing and writing with other writers. After awhile, like many artists who don’t persevere in their own art, she turned to helping others instead of nurturing her own music. However, as time went on, her then fiancé, who listened to Cari sing songs night after night in her home, dared her to close her voice studio and pursue her songwriting. While at first Cole couldn’t imagine shutting her doors, she heard something in his words and hesitantly but firmly closed her studio on a mission to discover what was to come. “I knew there was a record coming and it was my deepest desire to pursue it”. In 2000, Cari’s life and work took a dramatic turn upon reading the teachings of Toltec Shaman don Miguel Ruiz, author of the NY Times bestseller “The Four Agreements”. She delved into an apprenticeship with don Miguel, from which an album and a new music was inspired. A composition written to the words of Miguel’s ’The Circle of Fire Prayer’ seeded the musical journey to come. “These songs began to pour forth, one right after the other. It was like someone turned on a fountain,” says Cole. “As the material began to manifest, it was clear that a record was in the making.”
‘The Circle of Fire’ CD was produced by producer Paul St James. ‘The Circle of Fire’ is rich in instrumental texture but beautifully spacious, honoring the integrity of its songwriting, which suggests a timelessness such as Carole King’s “Tapestry” or Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”. Producer Paul St. James has created a definitive soundscape for a music that transcends trend and a record that is highly accessible while remaining true to its authenticity and intent. Rooted by Cari’s exquisite piano, acoustic guitar and gorgeous vocals, and sculpted by the fretless bass work of Paul St. James and Larry Saltzman’s (Jewel, Simon & Garfunkel) ambient guitars, the CD hosts a spectrum of musical color in arrangements of violin, native American flute, and melodic drums and percussion that flow throughout.
Cari Cole was a finalist for Best Female Artist in the IAMA Awards 2004 and one of five finalists the IMA Awards 2004. She was on the Grammy Nominations Ballot for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for 2004, was a 2004, 2005, 2006 ASCAPlus Award winner and received Honorable Mention in the Peacedriven.com contest 2006, Songprize.com Songwriting Contest in 2003 and the DiscMakers Contest of 2003. Cole graces the pages of Billboard Books author Daylle Schwartz new book “I Don’t Need a Record Deal! Your Survival Guide for the Indie Music Revolution” as an indie artist on the rise. She was selected as the AOL Musician of the Week/Tonos.com and debuted COF at Carnegie Hall. In 2007 she opened up for Garrison Keillor at the NTHP.org conference and performed in Washington D.C. infront of the First Lady introduced by Edward Begley Jr. She has recorded and performed extensively across the U.S. and is currently in the studio writing and recording for the new record coming out Spring 2008.