Carlos Vara Talks Viral Success of His Debut Single & 'High-Key Crush' on Adam Lambert

Carlos Vara
 Jordan Short

Carlos Vara

Last Friday, Nashville-based musician Carlos Vara released his debut single, the soulful “Numb.” In just under a week, the track has managed to rack up more than 160,000 streams on Spotify -- impressive for an artist who doesn’t have label support, let alone a manager or publicist.

“I’ve spent the past two years in this little bubble. I wasn’t out performing or anything. I was just writing my own stuff,” the 20-year-old told Billboard. “So when I woke up that morning and saw my song on [Spotify’s] New Music Friday playlist -- I had no idea that was going to be on there. And then it started charting on the U.S. Viral 50. It completely surpassed any expectations I had for it. I sobbed because I’m a little baby.”

“Numb” also ended up on a playlist curated by Adam Lambert. “I used to have a high-key crush on him when I was a teenager. His vocal range is insane. So when I saw that I was on his playlist, I was like ‘what the fuck?’”

Vara didn’t always love “Numb” though: “It was the very first song I wrote when I moved to Nashville. There was one point where I absolutely hated it and I swore to God I’d never release it. But then I revisited it with my producer Josh Bruce Williams and our friend Jeff Bowman. We completely changed the delivery and made the song ‘me’ -- and now I love it and I’m glad we released it.”

He also explained the inspiration for the track: “You know how for typical straight people, seventh grade is when they start dating and going through those middle school insecurities? Well I feel like I didn’t go through that until I was an adult, after I came out. 'Numb' is written in a way where it sounds very relationship-y, but it was really written at a time in my life when there were just so many emotions going on with a bunch of different relationships and I felt, well, numb to it all. It was all a blur, if that makes sense?”

Vara is hoping to continue the momentum with the track’s music video, premiering below. He also plans to roll-out new tracks over the next few months.


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