I really want people to think about the power of positivity. If you think it’s a myth or some bull crap that people say to make others feel better, then I want you to read this interview & understand it’s a state of being that can actually heal the mind and body. So I want to introduce you to someone who literally lives and preaches this because she has to.. meet Carrigan Nelson.
Q: When did you realize that you were a good singer? And who do you admire as an artist?
A: When I was 12 years old, I sang with local music legend Jimmy Winters and I realized I was an entertainer. I also used to try and imitate pop stars so I had the ability to come in on key. I really admire Adele & Lauren Daigle. Both have such powerful voices.
Q: If your story was a song, what would the title be & if you had to choose someone to sing it besides yourself, who would it be?
A: My story, if it were a song, would be entitled, “My Fight”. I would want Miley Cyrus to sing it because she sings my go to song – The Climb and she and I have similar vocal ranges.
Q: So let’s switch to your journey in the past few years…your life changed forever when you were diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer usually found in teens and young adults. You’ve had such tremendous support from your family, friends and the local community, how do you take that all in? What do your friendships mean to you & how have they shaped your life?
A: It’s hard to comprehend all of the help my family and I have received. All the financial help has afforded us the gift of time together. It has eased the financial burden of the loss of income and paying medical related expenses. People are so generous, thoughtful and kind. I have received so many comfort items, gifts, cards, care packages and prayers. My friendships have gotten though my darkest days. I am so grateful that my friends have stuck by me. They are such an amazing support system as is my family; especially my brother, his girlfriend and her family and my Aunt Bonnie, grandmother and cousins near and far. My community, our local musicians and other cancer families have been so supportive. We have been very lucky to never fight alone.
Q: As a songwriter, you certainly have a lot of material from personal and painful experiences. What was the first song you ever wrote? And what is your creative process like?
A: The first song I ever wrote was a love song. Very typical young love kind of stuff. I still like writing love songs. When I’m writing music, I usually head down to Ocean Drive or the beach near my house. There is something peaceful about looking out at the ocean and writing music.
Q: I’m going to name a few musicians and you describe them in 1 word: a) Machine Gun Kelly b) Taylor Swift c) Madison Beer d) Demi Lovato e) Zach Sobiech f) Blackbear g) Panic at the Disco!
A: a) Machine Gun Kelly – universal, b) Taylor Swift – heartbreak c) Madison Beer – a Queen d) Demi Lovato – soulful e) Zach Sobiech – inspirational f) Blackbear – funny g) Panic at the Disco! – talented
Q: Besides being an outstanding singer, you were also named RI’s Outstanding Teen in 2020. That was a complete surprise to you. What was that feeling like when they announced your name?
A: I was so shocked. I had competed twice for the MOAT & was named Miss Congeniality both times. I love the Miss RI organization. They have become my family and are so incredibly supportive of all of the candidates who compete. I have become very close with many of my pageant sisters and was so excited when I was invited to help re-crown Molly Andrade, Miss RI, and Caroline Parente, 2019’s MOAT. I was told they were being re-crowned because there wasn’t a 2020 pageant due to COVID. I couldn’t believe it when they crowned me Honorary Miss Outstanding Teen 2020 instead. It has been very meaningful to me. I look forward to competing in the coming years. I want to inspire and show that physical limitations don’t define you. We all have abilities. We all shine in our own way.
Q: Giving back and being kind is something that you apparently do on a daily basis, whether it’s being a mentor for young kids, giveaways on your Instagram or supporting the pediatric cancer patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Name some of your favorite charities that are dear to your heart.
A: I have spent years singing for many social services agencies on the island whether to entertain or raise funds. They are all dear to me because they provide services for those in need. I am part of the Housing Hotline Board so I’m partial to causes related to emergency housing. Mentoring and Pediatric Cancer are close to my heart as well. I sit on the Glimmer of Hope Foundation Board and I care deeply about their mission and that of the Izzy Foundation and the Tomorrow Fund at Hasbro Children’s Hospital & The Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber in Boston. All of these foundations have helped my family and I during my two year cancer fight. I am currently the recipient of a Life List Grant through the Dear Jack Foundation. The Riverstock Music Festival Charitable Giving patrons, Rosemary‘s Wish Kids, Be Great 4 Nate, The Aquidneck Island Charity Golf Tournament, The Portsmouth Santa Tour, Rise Up For Carrigan, Hillside Charities, Lilly Lights The Way, the local police and fire departments, Melissa Mulligan Voice studios, Liam Edwards & Friends and the Three Angels Fund and so many others have been incredibly supportive. I hope to give back to them and the many agencies which have helped me and so many Aquidneck Islanders. We have such a giving community.
Q: Name some of your favorite places you’ve performed at (could be events, fundraisers, restaurants) and do you have any virtual events scheduled in the near future?
A: This is so hard for me to answer. I have been performing for 8 years now. I have been honored to sing at many heartfelt events and for many wonderful causes. I performed at two fundraisers for my guardian angel, Hannah Wertens, who was also a singer. She and I sang together at the first fundraiser and I will cherish that moment always. I loved singing at the Newport Elk’s kid parties and at the RI Veterans Home. I also loved singing with musician Timmy May on the Newport Dinner Train, Thrive Coffee House, the MLK Birthday celebrations, hosting my own Cabaret Christmas show, singing in the North End of Newport, the Singing for Shelter concerts, the Riverstock and NIMFEST Music Festivals. I have always been honored to sing the National Anthem at local events. As far as virtual events, I will be performing with Jonathan Perry at the Newport Playhouse & with Riverstock Founder Steve Rodrigues at the Riverstock Musicfest in Massachusetts. I am singing a few tunes with Steve locally on Easter. My friend Thomas Harrington is fighting Ewing’s Sarcoma for the third time. He is an amazing drummer and I look forward to collaborating with him again. My parents and I are also writing songs together. My mom plays the ukulele and keys & my dad plays drums and guitar.
Q: This seems like an obvious question but it’s a new year, what are your wishes for 2021?
A: I am hoping 2021 brings me good health and that I beat cancer. I will continue to spread awareness of childhood cancer and continue my mentoring work. Helping and supporting my fellow pediatric cancer warriors is a priority for me. I have deferred college twice due to my leg amputation and chemotherapy so I am looking forward to attending in the Fall. I hope to reach 10K followers on my YouTube Channel and to release and perform my own music. Walking proficiently on my prosthetic leg is a key goal of mine. My life expectancy may be short but my dreams are big!
Carrigan is probably the most courageous and resilient person I know. Her constant positive attitude and gift of kindness to all she comes in contact with is not only amazing considering what she has been through the past two years, is quite amazing.
You can find Carrigan on several social media platforms. To follow her her, go to https://linkt.ree/Carriganmccorrie. She also created the group @sarcomafighters on Instagram. Carrigan is from Portsmouth, RI.
Stay tuned for more interviews with Boston band Air Traffic Controller, Nova Rose, Louis Prima Jr plus many more..
Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.