Carla Harvey, Grief Counselor and Heavy Metal Star

Arts & Entertainment ENJOY Funeral Industry News October 27, 2021
Carla Harvey
Diana Ionescu

Diana is a writer and urbanist based in Los Angeles. Her interests include modern grief rituals, innovative disposition methods, and navigating death and mourning in an increasingly secular society.

Carla Harvey, Grief Counselor and Heavy Metal Star

Many heavy metal musicians want to portray a tough image–but Butcher Babies frontwoman Carla Harvey has quite literally stared death in the face. As a former embalmer and autopsy technician, Harvey experienced what most of us never have to think about as she prepared bodies for burial. Today, Harvey has traded in the trocar for a microphone, singing alongside Heidi Shepherd as lead vocalist for the Butcher Babies, a heavy metal band. 

Barbaric and Gory

The work of an embalmer, Harvey says, “can be a little bit barbaric and a little bit gory,” but it also helped her gain a new appreciation for her own body, for “how lucky we are to be upright and walking,” she told the Side Jams With Bryan Reesman podcast. By seeing death and decay up close, Harvey developed a deep gratitude for every moment of life. 

After working as an autopsy tech, funeral director, and embalmer, she transitioned to grief work and pursuing her passion for heavy metal music. In addition to touring with the band, Harvey works as a grief counselor and death doula under the moniker Good Grief Los Angeles, helping others understand and make peace with their grief. Her clients come from all walks of life, but many of them are ‘metalheads’ themselves. According to Harvey, many heavy metal fans have a difficult time expressing their emotions and are looking for a healthy release. Harvey’s understanding of both death and the music scene helps her build trust with her clients and provide a safe, caring environment for them to explore their feelings, fears, and healthy ways to mourn and heal. 

Finding Meaning and Empowerment

According to her website, Harvey works with anyone who is experiencing grief–whether they’re mourning a loved one, a precious pet, or even the loss of a relationship, career, or health. Grief can take many forms, manifesting itself in ways unique to each individual. Through her services, Harvey hopes to help people find hope and healing. Her death doula services offer those nearing the end of life “comfort, intention and focus” so they can “explore difficult and complex emotions while navigating the signs and symptoms of the dying process.” Harvey supports the dying and their loved ones through the process, helping them each find meaning and empowerment in a difficult time.

When she isn’t rocking out or supporting the bereaved, Harvey paints and writes novels. This multi-talented artist and healer highlights the diversity of death workers and their broad range of talents.