Since Carly Waddell and Evan Bass fell in love on Bachelor in Paradise — and later got married and had two kids: daughter Bella and son Charlie — people have been invested in their relationship. The two later split in December 2020, and now that the blonde beauty is focusing on her music career, she knows people are curious who she is writing about.
"Within the last couple of years I went through a divorce, so whenever I was putting this music out, I didn't know what the response would be like because I was like, 'Oh God, everybody's going to think these songs are about my ex — but they aren't!' I knew that was going to be a thing. If I came out as just a regular artist without people knowing about this public relationship, my music would be different. It's like when Taylor Swift releases a song and everyone's like, 'Is that about Joe Jonas?'" the 38-year-old, who is set to go on tour with Niko Moon in February, exclusively tells OK!.
"It kind of bothered me. I was like, 'Why can't I write a song that's literally about a made up human?' But for the most part, everybody loved the songs," she adds, referring to performing some of her bops while on Nick Carter's "Who I Am" tour. "Some people were trying to figure out if the songs were about Evan. It was interesting to figure out like, 'Do you like my songs or are you just talking about who this is about?'"
When writing her songs, Waddell doesn't necessarily think about her own life. "I'll just come up with a scenario and then I'll talk through a scenario of like, 'OK, this girl and this guy broke up and she sees him with a new girl. He's at the bar and does he look at her?' Sometimes I do want to write about a breakup because it was hard and maybe I can get it off my chest, but for me, that's not where I usually write from," she shares of the process. "I was with my friend and we were writing about her breakup and what happened, and I wasn't thinking about me — it was about her. I went through a breakup too, but I don't love thinking about it."
"I've broken up with a million people, but just because I was with this person the longest and it was public, there's other relationships I was in!" she quips.
Waddell also loves that her kids sing her songs all over the house.
"When I started getting the tracks back, they would play them on their iPads. They know the words. We have a karaoke machine here, and my daughter has a little guitar and my son has drums. It's a music party over here all the time," she says.
While appearing on several Bachelor franchise shows, the mom-of-two, who attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with Lady Gaga, made it clear she was always passionate about performing, which is why when she had the chance to open for the Backstreet Boys member, 43, she jumped at the chance.
"That was my first time doing anything like that. I sang on cruise ships and I've been in musicals, but that's a whole different thing. It was really fun. I was trying to figure out what to do with my music and the opportunity presented itself, which was crazy! I didn't know what I was getting into at all," she admits. "But Nick was so nice, and he's a dad too so I felt that camaraderie with him as a parent — but you can also do what you love at the same time. The whole team was so nice and welcoming. We had a blast."
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Since Waddell is a single mom and almost in her 40s, she never thought she'd be able to embark on that type of adventure. "When I was putting music out, I didn't know where it would go, and then being on tour, I was like, 'H--- yeah, I can do it!' Just because I'm a mom, I am still passionate about music," she shares. "I want everybody to feel like you can do it. The shows kept going well, and I was like, 'I'm pretty good at this.' I didn't want it to end!"
For now, Waddell is focusing on writing some new music — some of which may be heard on the new tour as she and her nanny Sam, who sings on stage with her, are changing things up. "It'll be a whole new show," she says.
Waddell is still dreaming big, as she would love to go on her own tour and have people open for her — but she also would be game to play a stadium tour with a giant artist and be their opener. "I have two songs I am going to release this year, but on top of that, I will release some singles here and there. At some point I'll have a full album," she declares.
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Waddell is also grateful to Bachelor Nation for being loyal as she navigates the music industry. "I live in the music capital of the U.S.," she says, referring to Nashville, Tenn. "There are so many good people in every single bar — and they are better than me! I jumped through a lot of hoops to go on these tours. I went to college for musical theater and I sang and waited on tables my whole life, but The Bachelor gave me the backing I needed to have people listen to me. Though Evan and I didn't work out, I wouldn't have had my kids and be in the position I'm in now. I'm excited to put out new music — 2024 is the year I am going balls to the wall and just doing me and seeing what happens!"