The Charger Blog

Music Industry Major’s Band Recognized with ‘Top Album’ Award

Carl Giannelli ’24 is a founding member of the rock band Kim Normal, and the band’s second album “Picturesque” was named one of “Connecticut’s top 20 albums of 2021” by The Hartford Courant.

January 18, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Group image of Carl Giannelli ’24 (right), Dr. Patrick Rivers and fellow student Ryan Wall ’23 at the University’s Beat-Maker Brunch.
Carl Giannelli ’24 (right) with Dr. Patrick Rivers and fellow student Ryan Wall ’23 at the University’s Beat-Maker Brunch.

When Carl Giannelli ’24 was in elementary school, his parents introduced him to the music of Metallica and AC/DC, sparking his lifelong interest in music. He then began listening to bands such and Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, and he was inspired to begin writing his own music.

A music industry major from Windsor Locks, Conn., Giannelli is a vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter who formed his own band, Kim Normal, in 2016. He and his bandmates, drummer Ethan Williams and bassist Conor McCarthy, recently released their sophomore album, Picturesque. It was recognized by The Hartford Courant, which included it among its list of the top 20 Connecticut albums of 2021.

“It was quite the honor and very humbling,” he said. “To see the album recognized in a publication as respected as The Hartford Courant means a lot and inspires me to create more music.

“While writing the eight songs I contributed to the album, I found myself learning a lot of new things about myself, not only as a songwriter, but as a human being,” he continued. “Through writing the lyrics for songs such as ‘Plain to See’ and ‘No End,’ I gained a greater understanding and appreciation for things that were happening in my life at the time. For those songs and the album as a whole to resonate with people holds great intrinsic value for me, for which I am most thankful.”

‘I really love to share music’

Giannelli says he and his bandmates listen to a variety of different genres and styles of music, and their different influences all come through in the music they create. He describes Kim Normal as a “power trio primarily influenced by 80s and 90s indie rock while maintaining a modern, fuzzy edge.” Recently, artists such as Big Star and Cat Stevens have been informing his songwriting.

An advocate for music, Giannelli enjoys documenting and archiving important moments in music, both past and present. He is passionate about sharing his love of music – something he has already done at the University. A Charger Bulletin contributor, he has recommended music to his fellow Chargers, an opportunity he describes as “very fulfilling.”

“I really love to share music that I think is important, innovative, or just interesting to me,” said Giannelli, a member of the University’s Music Industry Club who is involved with WNHU, the University’s radio station. “When I hear about a band or record that has something special or unique about them, I try my hardest to make as many people aware of that band or record as I can.”

Image of Carl Giannelli ’24 onstage with Kim Normal at the Space Ballroom in Hamden, CT.
Carl Giannelli ’24 onstage with Kim Normal at the Space Ballroom in Hamden, CT.
‘‘Why’ music works the way it does’

Giannelli’s passion for music has also inspired his research as a music industry student. His most in-depth project began as a result of his “Introduction to World Music” course taught by Patrick Rivers, Ph.D. Exploring Norwegian black metal, a genre he describes as “misunderstood in America for decades,” Giannelli focused his work on bands from America and the United Kingdom that influenced the movement. He learned about how Norwegian musicians reinterpreted these bands for their own creative endeavors.

“It was interesting to learn how black metal was essentially formed out of these artists' love for traditional heavy metal, including Motörhead, combined with U.K. punk rock such as G.B.H.,” he explained. “My hope was that I was able to demystify the genre to a certain extent, which I believe my research did. It has given me the ability to discuss this genre with other listeners and give them a new appreciation for it, which is truly great.”

Giannelli is looking forward to going on tour with Kim Normal when it is safe to do so, as well as working on new material. In the meantime, he is focused on continuing to develop as a musician and as an advocate for – and student of – music.

“Studying music industry has helped me continue to develop as a listener and musician alike,” he said. “I had the chance to start taking courses with Professor Adam Caress last year, and his wisdom about the music industry has been more than helpful as I continue to navigate the industry myself.

“I have also been really proud of my growth in understanding music theory, thanks to Professor Albert Celotto,” Giannelli continued. “His mentorship has made it possible for me to understand ‘why’ music works the way it does, which is invaluable for me.”