Cari Q: Byzantium


Alternative-pop, singer-songrocker, Cari Quoyeser, recently shared an intimate Sofar Sound video for her beautiful new track, Byzantium. A vastly talented multi-instrumentalist,  is most renowned for her extraordinary voice and remarkable songwriting; often compared to legends Janis Joplin and Loretta Lynn. No doubt, the comparisons are justified as she fuses classic rock, alternative pop and international folk into a colorfully authentic Cari Q blend.

A self-proclaimed “big nerd,” Quoyeser is a world traveling, harmonious storyteller who often draws from historical references and a little “stubborn energy” when creating music. Byzantium is a combination of a dream, history lessons and a very personal, real life experience.

“After I graduated in 2013, I bought a one-way ticket to Ireland and just started traveling east until I ended up in Turkey,” she explains. “I found myself in Cappadocia right as the Syrian issue was starting to spread into the surrounding countries. American women weren’t really deterred from going to Turkey, as they perhaps should have been. I was having a pretty rough time and almost at the end of my rope.”

However, determined to see through on a birthday wish, Quoyeser set out at sunrise one morning to see the ancient Byzantine Empire from high above. “We were floating in a hot air balloon over the desert-mountains and inside of the mountains were carved out temples and homes that were completely untouched since the year 700. The gravity of that really struck me. I could see the holes in the mountains where windows had been carved and I knew that beneath my feet there were underground channels where the Byzantines hid for hundreds of years. It was one of the most impactful moments and I just started laughing and crying.”

Quoyeser poetically articulates that touching sentiment through the subtle, alternative-rock narrative of Byzantium. Her huge, harmonic voice effortlessly stretches for miles across the soundscape like a beam of light illuminating the Cappadocian mountain range. Byzantium’s simple structure consists of a pair of guitars and Quoyeser’s angelic vocals. The texture is pleasantly rich with so few, but potent ingredients. Quoyeser strums Byzantium’s timeless, steady heartbeat while long-time friend and collaborator, Rebecca Laird, highlights the acoustic chords with a distinct, Spanish flare.

Byzantium is a moving melody rooted in antiquity and Quoyeser’s ability for storytelling is on full display with lyrics that resonate on both an emotional and thought-provoking level.


Written by: Doug Leach (

Photo Credit: Alex Kacha

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