Singer-songwriter Akelee has been in love with music for as long as she can remember. From family memories of music to competing on American Idol to writing and singing for major artists and companies, Akelee calls herself “a girl with a big heart for love, music, and people.” And with all that love, she has brought her new single “Carry Me” to life! We caught up with Akelee to find out what inspired this gorgeous new song.
“Raised almost like an only child, I found a deep love for and gravitated toward music,” Akelee told us. “My mom and I would sing all day and all night. I didn’t need much. She purchased a little two-tape deck karaoke machine for me and that was it! I was hooked. You can call that my first little studio, and I never looked back!”
Childhood singing was only the beginning. Akelee described her musical journey as “an uphill climb” that has been full of growth, love, and so many rich experiences.” At age 17, Akelee auditioned for Season 1 of American Idol. Of that experience she says, “I was just a baby! I was extremely shy and didn’t know much about the music business at all. All I knew, is that I loved to sing and that I was good at it!” On Idol, Akelee earned the nickname “Little Whitney Houston,”—one of her inspirations alongside icons like Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Michael Jackson, and Tina Turner—and with her first taste of the music industry, she joined multiple girl groups, learning the industry, developing her skills as a singer, and finding her path in songwriting and vocal production.
Needless to say, Akelee is now an industry pro, and her latest project “Carry Me” is all of her talent and experience wrapped into one chillingly beautiful single. Akelee shared that producer Paul Searles sent her the instrumental to “Carry Me,” and “It was so emotionally beautiful, and I instantly felt the song so deep that I just wanted to run downstairs and hit record.”
Unfortunately creating the song wasn’t entirely simple, and while Akelee calls the creative process that brought this song to life “so beautiful,” she also faced many obstacles leading up to it. “By the time I entered my music room, I felt withered, stuck, and full of frustration. Sitting down at the mic with no pen, I just cried and sang. I poured my heart into this song. It’s my most vulnerable song to date.”
Created during the pandemic with an ocean between them (Paul was in Singapore at the time while Akelee was in California.), “Carry Me” really took a dream team to create, and for Akelee, it was also a master class in overcoming complicated emotions and challenges to get what she wanted. “I created this project amid the pandemic. Against all odds, I pressed through with none of the things that my mind had tried to convince me that I needed,” Akelee shared. “Truth was, I had everything I needed inside of me all along with all of the gifts and talents that I had accumulated through [my] journey along the way. You do too! All we have to do is believe.” For her, “carry me” is a “simple two-word prayer.”
We think “Carry Me” is a gorgeous representation of the kind of ups and downs the Akelee described, and we’re not the only ones with chills. Akelee told us that her favorite part of the single is “When I say ‘carry me’ right at the break in the middle and then I come right back with ‘I feel everything and my tears just fall away.’ I truly felt that, and [woo!] that’s where the chills kick in.” She shared that that moment instantly takes her back to the moment she created “Carry Me.”
“Carry Me” is just the beginning of Akelee’s plans for her music at the moment. For the future, she says that fans should expect authenticity and music inspired by those artists and songs that first fed her passion for music. “While creating this project, I didn’t look to the left or to the right to match what everyone else was doing. I sang from my heart all of my thoughts. Every melody, it’s me…This journey has only just begun.”
“Carry Me” is streaming now on all major music platforms.