Balance and harmony: Paramedic finds time to pursue songwriting dreams

Published 12:02 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

Balancing two jobs can be difficult no matter what they are, but one recent Rowan-Cabarrus Community College graduate is finding time for songwriting in between his shifts as a paramedic.

Aaron Carter completed the RCCC paramedic program last year and currently works for Alamance County EMS. He also won the 2022 International Singer-Songwriters Association Single of the Year Award for his song “This Town.”

After “This Town” broadcast over the airwaves for the first time, Carter’s RCCC classmates started to take notice.

“That got a lot of attention, and when my classmates learned about it, they became fans,” Carter said. “All of the people at Rowan-Cabarrus, students and instructors, are phenomenal, down-to-earth, caring people. They became my family, and it meant the world to me that they supported my music.”

Rowan-Cabarrus Emergency Medical Services lead instructor Erich Byrd added, “We enjoyed having a local celebrity among us. Students and staff will be watching as both of his careers continue to unfold.”

Like a lot of his music, “This Town” draws inspiration from his hometown of Rockwood, Tennessee. Always a music lover, he learned to play the guitar and dabbled in songwriting in high school, but music was nothing more than a hobby until he and a friend co-wrote a song while hanging out back home in Tennessee.

“It sparked my desire to keep writing songs,” Carter said. “I decided to dig out some of the songs I had started before, and I just kept going.”

After a fortuitous reconnection and eventual collaboration with longtime friend and touring singer-songwriter Jeremy Neely, Carter felt he had hit his stride.

“It just felt right, and my first single, “Hit Rewind,” was born,” Carter said. “All of my songs have a story behind them, and almost all of them have something to do with a part of my life.

As he developed his songwriting abilities, his subject horizon broadened. Lately, he’s found ways to use his music to explore others’ stories.

“Some of my good friends have amazing stories too,” Carter said. “I have been taking some of their stories in upcoming projects and writing songs about their story.”

One might think long shifts would take their toll on a creative mind, but Carter is always ready for a spark to catch fire.

“It doesn’t matter what I am doing or where I am at,” Carter said. “I carry a composition notebook around with me and have tons of audio clips on the iPhone. Sometimes, I will drive around, and something will just come to my head.”

With stretches of downtime and off-the-clock hours, Carter indicated he’s actually in a prime position to put pen to paper.

“The way my schedule works, it allows me a little more time to focus on music,” Carter said. “It is one of those things, it starts with what am I going to do today? I’ll flip back through my pages. Once you get the writing bug, it flows together.”

For Carter, a song can sometimes come together in 45 minutes. Other times, it could take months.

Having the same name as another famous musician is not lost on Carter, but he’s proud of his name and doesn’t plan on changing it.

“My name actually comes from a mix of Elvis Aaron Presley and the Bible,” Carter said. “I am true to myself. If you like me, you like me. If you don’t, you don’t. I’m not going to change my stage name just because somebody else has got it.”

Carter has a dual release planned for March 31. One of the songs is called “Moment I Have Been Waiting For.” The musician wrote the song for a California couple that heard him on Spotify and wanted him to write a song for their first dance.

“I cut it and sent it to them,” Carter said. “They loved it. I’m going to be flying out there this year to be a part of their first dance to this song.”

At 26, Carter has some time to figure out his final game plan, but for now, he happily divides his time between his two passions.

“I am maturing with my music, and I want to keep growing,” he said. “I don’t know where this is going to go. I’m going to chase my dream of making a living with music, but I also have a Plan B since I will always love being on a truck and serving the community as a paramedic.”