Carlene Thissen is a singer, songwriter, and author who discovered her creative passion after a lengthy career in the business world. The shift from her left brain to her right was largely inspired by the Latin American and Haitian immigrants of a Florida agricultural community called Immokalee (rhymes with broccoli.) The people there inspired most of what Carlene has been blessed to create.
In earlier years, along with her day-job, Carlene sang and played guitar and piano in churches and back yards in northern New Jersey, Minneapolis, and Chicago. Her voice and musical style were heavily influenced by 1960s/70s folk music (yes, she was at Woodstock!), early country music, and Catholic folk Masses.
After moving to Naples, Florida in 1995, she volunteered to teach music to preschool children in nearby Immokalee. She also joined the choir at Immokalee's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, where she still sings today.
She was so enamored with Immokalee's people that she earned a master's degree in Latin American History and wrote her thesis about them. Then she turned that thesis into a reader-friendly book, Immokalee's Fields of Hope.
When a friend offered to co-produce a documentary based on the book, Carlene wrote her first song, Take These Hands, and it became the background of a music video montage of the same name. After several more songs, Carlene was inspired to write another book, Called From Silence: The Father Sanders Novel, the biography of a beloved priest who served Immokalee's immigrants in the early 1980s, and died there in 1985.
Once that book was finished, Carlene started writing music again. She has since written 30 songs, country, folk, and religious. She recorded the religious and inspirational songs on her first album, Spring Rain.
She has been making friends and contacts in Nashville, is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association, and is hoping one of these days to write a song that makes the charts!