So It Goes x Reeve Carney

Reeve Carney is playing a young Jeff Buckley. It's not really hard to see why he was cast - disarming charm, smile, piercing eyes - the comparison draws itself. The musician and actor is elusive about the trajectory of his career, and seems to have a sharp wit when it comes to interviews on fame. It's no wonder the world is beginning to go crazy for Reeve. Born April 18th 1983 in New York to Marti Heil (Jewellery Designer - Fables In The Air) and John Carney. He grew up in a creative household of musicians and actors (brother Zane Carney is the lead guitarist for John Mayer and his sister is the talented Paris Carney). His mother Marti gave them a grounded family life and was always supportive of all her children pursuing their dreams.

Carney began acting on television and at a young age got cast alongside Ethan Hawke in Snow Falling on Cedars. However, music has always been his first love playing at B.B King’s blues bar from the age of fifteen and was quickly asked to go on tour with Johnny Lang the American blues, gospel, and rock singer.


 All clothing: Saint Laurent; Jewellery: Fables in the Air

All clothing: Saint Laurent; Jewellery: Fables in the Air


In 2010, Carney released his first record Mr. Green Vol. as Carney, a band he created with his brother Zane. The band toured with Arcade Fire and U2 and Carney was tapped by Broadway to star as the lead for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a role he played for three years. Most famously, perhaps, he appeared in Taylor Swift’s music video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” drawing is-he or isn’t-he comparisons to a certain One Direction member. Carney has subsequently acted alongside So It Goes alum, Felicity Jones and Oscar winner Helen Mirren in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is currently playing Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray in Penny Dreadful, the hit television show featuring Eva Green and Josh Harnett and has just begun filming the remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

As busy as he is with acting, Carney has also just finished his second album Truth (to be released spring 2016), which flows smoothly between rock, jazz, gospel, and blues. The record begins with a handful of electrifying songs, displaying Carney’s rock n’ roll roots and transitions beautifully into more gospel-minded songs with melodies that evoke a softer side to the musician, leaving no stone unturned. Lyrics like, ‘youth is wasted on the young and wisdom is wasted on the old’ show a keen observer of human nature and explores what drive us a human beings in a ‘mad, mad world’.

The record for which he not only wrote all the music, but also played every instrument, has matured Carney into a more multifaceted musician. His music has a poignant message of hope mixed with careful observation about life, love and experience. His use of language and backing vocals mixed with instrumentals transcend what is normally expected from most records and it’s obvious that he has poured his heart and soul into every aspect. It’s fair to say that we can expect great things from this star in the making.


All clothing: Saint Laurent; Jewellery: Fables in the Air


What instruments do you play? What was the first song that inspired you to be a musician, what made you realize you wanted to be a musician/actor?

I'm primarily trained as a guitarist and a vocalist, but my first instruments were the piano and the drums. In a way my approach to each new instrument is a bit of a cross between that of a drummer and a vocalist... In recent years I've fallen in love with the bass... Such a deep instrument, melodically, structurally and rhythmically... I try to allow instruments to have multiple functions whenever possible, because I think it keeps things interesting and connected for the listener. If you can use a piano in the place of a high hat, or a bass in the place of a kick drum... Or a stack of voices in the place of a string of a horn section, or vice versa... I love exploring that sort of thing.

Billy Joel's "The Longest Time". I heard it on the radio in the back seat of my parents 1987 Chevy Suburban and just about lost my mind. I couldn't believe what he was doing with all those voices... Still one of my favourites.

Which musicians do you admire? Why?

I admire people who take a lot of chances. In that way I can appreciate someone like Miley Cyrus right alongside the likes of John Coltrane or Miles Davis.

What are your fondest musical memories?

Oh geez… Too many to count I’d say! Obviously any chance to be on stage with my brother, Zane or my sister, Paris, creates an indelible memory I hold as near and dear as they can get. I had a chance to play at B.B. King’s Blues Club in LA with Billy Preston when I was a teenager… Incredible…  Also, my time spent on the road with Jonny Lang, and so many wonderful memories out on the road and in the studio with my band Carney… I can’t choose! Haha.

Where do you draw your inspiration for music? Film? 

I'd say most of my inspiration for my songs comes from living... Feeling... Contemplating, reflecting... Dreaming... And sometimes I try and see a person or a situation through someone else's eyes... That's always interesting. Most songs come from personal experience, and I am certainly always inspired by a great film.

How do you handle ‘mistakes’ during a performance?

The mistakes often turn out better than anything you could have planned I think!... But I know what you mean... I think you just have to stay in the moment and never let the past haunt you to the point in which it adversely affects the moment... And the same could be said for the future... Just stay in the moment... Jump and believe that a ledge will rise to meet you.


Hat and coat: Vintage from Rokit Vintage

All clothing: Saint Laurent


You are playing Jeff Buckley in the new biopic, has Jeff Buckley always been an inspiration? What do you feel you would like to bring to this role?

I first learned of Jeff and his music when I was 16 years old and my friend told me she thought I resembled him and that I should check out his music. At the time I was deeply into the blues and jazz through friends like Jonny Lang, and Coco Montoya, and from playing in big bands at the music academy I was attending at the time... And I didn't quite recognize it at first, but Jeff was really influenced by these idioms in equal parts. In fact there's very little Jeff wouldn't allow himself to be influenced by, which is one of my favorite things about him... And I find that to be incredibly inspiring in an artist. And the voice... I mean, come on! Ha. In terms of portraying Jeff onscreen, I'd just like to help to paint him in as truthful of light as possible... That's the heaviest sense responsibility I feel in portraying Jeff.

If you could play any role in theatre or film what and why?

Oh man... That's a tough one... I've always loved the idea of playing Judas in Jesus Christ Super Star. What a great role... I'd just like to keep working really... I learn so much every day I'm on set, or on stage.

Tell me about your up coming solo album. What are the influences?

Well initially, I set out to make something as personal and as potent as possible... Which I hope I have done! I made the record entirely myself, playing all the instruments and recording and mixing myself as well. What an incredible experience... I've learned so much in the process... I wanted it to be an intimate experience for the listener, without suffering from being too reserved or introverted... So there are explosive moments of musical decadence alongside moments of restraint. I wanted it to be a journey for the listener. One they'd want to take over and over again, allowing the songs to blossom and unfold in new ways every time. That's what I've always loved about all of The Beatles' records, or Queen, or the Beach Boys, or Bowie, or Stevie Wonder records... So much incredible music out there. I just like to let it all to wash over me and hopefully come up with something uniquely me.


Hat and coat: Vintage from Rokit Vintage; Shirt: Saint Laurent

Coat: Vintage from Rokit Vintage; Jeans: Saint Laurent; Boots: Dr Martens


What was it like working with Bono from U2 for Spiderman?

One of the most incredible experiences of my life up until this point. I imagine it always will be. I learned so much from being onstage, acting and singing those songs night after night. I've remained friends with them too. Those guys are a class act... Really love them.

Do you have a favorite actor/actress to work alongside?

I really couldn't pick a favorite. You learn so much from working with new people. So I am grateful for any opportunity to do that. Of course it's always nice to work with an old friend as well... Like catching a baseball in the pocket of a well worn glove.

You recently played alongside Yoko Ono for John Lennon's 75th birthday, tell me about your experience?

I really can't believe it... Felt like a waking dream. John Lennon is most certainly one of my greatest influences... And I've always loved Yoko's art and music as well. I was deeply moved and honored to have been able to sing Imagine for her, especially on the steps of city hall in my home town, and the place they once, together called home.

Where would you like to find yourself in ten years?

Continuing to make art that I am proud of, and surrounded by my family and friends, all supporting one another.


Words and photos by Anouska Beckwith