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Albany native close to stardom

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Albany native Cara Young is poised on the brink of success in the music industry as founder and frontwoman of her band Inner Frequency. Despite the rock star life, Young still holds on to the southern charm of a South Georgian while balancing her life in Texas as a personal trainer by day and rocker chick by night.

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nner Frequency is currently engaged in the Landshark Lager 2009 Battle of the Bands, an opportunity for independent artists to gain exposure and free marketing.

Inner Frequency is hovering at No. 6 on the list of 11 hopefuls who are battling for the chance to make it big.

FREQUENCY ROCKS

BATTLE OF THE BANDS

Young said the band's current contest is not a new experience for the ensemble.

"I'm always entering us into all kinds of contests," she said. "This one was a little different because it was open to the public."

Young said Inner Frequency applied to be in the contest that was only open to independent bands and artists from across the nation during the summer, and the public voted on their favorites from 20 bands.

"I was a little worried about the first phase, partially because we appeal to a little older demographic. We have a little harder time getting our fans to vote online," the singer explained.

In the second phase of the contest, judges from Rhapsody and Landshark Lager narrowed down the semifinalists to 12 bands, which were to perform their songs live in various cities.

Young said the highlight of the contest was the chance to play on the Austin City Limits stage, where the show by the same name is filmed.

"That stage is legendary," she said. "Going down the hallway and seeing photos of the greats like Dolly Parton was a wonderful experience."

Inner Frequency performed before judges, and Young said their choice of video to put on the contest's Web site shocked her.

"I was surprised they picked the video, partially because it was a little slower (song)," she said referring to the band's performance of Young's song "Satellite."

Young said that while the selection shocked her, she was pleased because the song is very important to her emotionally.

Inner Frequency impressed judges enough to continue on into the last phase of the contest, in which the winner will be determined by the public through online voting at landsharkrocks.com. Voting ends Monday at midnight, and voters can cast their votes for the bands only once.

Young said the contest has not been without mishaps and dirty dealing. Two of Inner Frequency's competitors were recently punished by Landshark Lager for cheating during the contest.

According to the rules on Landshark's Web site, votes can be cast only once for a particular band through one e-mail account.

Young said two bands had apparently rigged e-mail accounts to vote multiple times.

"One band was removed from the contest, and one was knocked down to last place," she said.

Currently, there are 11 bands left that are competing for the grand prize.

Texas, the state where Young currently resides, has been well-represented in the lineup of artists. Four bands, including Inner Frequency, hail from the Lone Star State.

Shockingly, Young is one of only three females featured in the contest.

"It usually is like that in the music scene," she laughed. "It's pretty male dominated."

Young said the prize package offered by the contest might just be the stepping stone the band needs to achieve mainstream popularity. The grand prize package for winning the contest includes a full-page Landshark ad featuring the band in Rolling Stone magazine and a digital distribution deal.

"We've tried to succeed commercially in the past, and it takes a lot of money," said Young. "We are at a place now where I think we have matured and grown to be a band that will appeal commercially. It's taken four and half years to get there, but we are ready for the next step."

ALBANY TIES

Cara Young was born in Albany in 1972 as Cara Coates, said Young's

mother, Eileen Dupree.

Young said she comes from a very musical family. Her father was the band director for a local middle school for a number of years, and her mother taught her how to play the piano. Her younger brother, Ashley, works at Darton College in the school's IT department.

"She started singing at two," said Dupree. "She would sing 'Delta Dawn' while riding around in the car with my mother, her grandmother."

Young characterized herself as a band geek during her years at Albany High School.

"I was the band geek and was really into musical theater," she said.

She was also the first female trombone player at her high school and sang at Byne Memorial Baptist Church.

"I was an overachiever," Young laughed. "I performed in any group I could get into."

The singer, who attended Middle Tennessee State University, said her goal was to study the music industry and try to gain success from the inside out. She got her chance to experience the music industry first-hand while working for a record label in Nashville, but quickly became disenchanted with what she referred to as the "business."

"Something about the inside of it, it's so much about business," she said.

Young's experience in the music industry is well-documented in her song "Big Talker," in which she croons about sleazy executives who sell big dreams to eager musicians and offer little in return.

Young said her current position in Dallas as a fitness manager at a local gym came by chance.

"It was one of those side things that turned into a career opportunity," she said. "A guy trained me, and I got certified in personal training."

According to Dupree, her daughter's "side job" once landed her the chance to take vocal lessons from the vocal coach who taught Peggy Lee.

Young said she could not keep away from her passion for music for too long, and soon found herself searching for other local musicians in order to start up a band.

INNER FREQUENCY BEGINNINGS

Young said Inner Frequency originally began four years ago as a duo with herself and co-founder Luke Carnivale.

"I found Luke on the Internet," she said. "I write music and I sing, but I don't like to play instruments myself."

The pair soon started writing songs together and going to open-mic nights as an acoustic duo. The name Inner Frequency came from Young's desire not to be known as a solo performer.

"A lot of times when we were performing open-mic nights, they would say just my name and I would be like 'and Luke on guitar'," she said.

The name Inner Frequency stems from a song that Carnivale was working on that was discovered by Young on his computer.

"It was a really great song, and there was a line about music and an inner frequency," said Young. "I think that creative people have an inner frequency about them, and the name just stuck."

Inner Frequency recently suffered a blow when Carnivale left the band earlier this year.

"It wasn't like we had a fight or anything dramatic like that," said Young. "He got married and was busy doing other things."

She said that most of the songs on the band's newest EP "Surge" were co-written with Carnivale, who gave permission for the band to continue using the lyrics and music.

"Luke was the core of what we built around for the new album," said

Young, who described the band's embrace of a more electronic sound.

"Surge" and other Inner Frequency recordings can be purchased through the band's iTunes store.

STEPPING STONES

Young said she hopes that Inner Frequency will be able to win the battle of the bands, not only for herself and her fellow bandmates, but for her family as well.

"My family wants me to succeed so badly," she said. "They are nuts, and I'm very lucky that they have always been very supportive of me. I wish I could make it big while my grandparents can still see it."

"She worked so hard for so long, and it would be a big break for her," said Dupree of her daughter.

Young said she has been thinking of her hometown more often lately as her 20th high school class reunion approaches.

"It will be next year," she said of the reunion. "I'm thinking that it would be nice if we could somehow all get down there and play a show for

my old classmates and hometown."