A couple of weeks ago, we met Charlie at the Secret.Session Meet-Up and little did we know what a warming heart he has next as being a talented singer-songwriter. His first album “The Joy of a Caged Bird” was produced by Jim Cregan and was the beginning of his journey. You may already have seen him in the documentary “Bristol, Oxford, London, Brighton” which focuses on Charlie Hole’s tour with Karima Francis.
Hi Charlie, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m a singer/songwriter from Bournemouth, UK. I started Sofar Sounds Bournemouth in 2017 and I’m about to release my new album.
You were born in Bournemouth, UK and moved to London to follow your passion for music. How significant was moving to London in your career and did the city influence your music?
Moving to London was a real step-up for me. It was the first time I’d been away from home, I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet, and roll with the punches a big city can throw at you. But it was also one of the best decisions I ever made; it’s such a vibrant place with so much going on, you feel like you’re in the centre of the world, the people you meet, the places you get to go, it’s incredible. It also really influenced my music, I don’t think you can avoid your environment as a songwriter, everything just seems to feed into it. I suppose the most obvious example is a tormented love song I wrote about London called ‘The City’.
You started writing songs since you were eleven and supported Billy Ocean on his tour and performed at a festival which was headlined by Ben Howard. How do you handle all the success and pressure that is put on you as an artist?
Once you’ve gone through the hard times, I think it’s important to enjoy those moments, and remember that it’s what you’ve worked so hard for. That said, I’m usually terrified right before I go on stage and I don’t think that will ever go.
The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that helped them through a tough time. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?
I remember being a pathetic heartbroken wreck once and hearing Sinead O’Connor’s version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 You’, originally by Prince. Every line in that song is spot on and resonates with so many people. I think it was one of those moments where music said everything I was feeling, that I hadn’t been able to quite make sense of or to put into words, and there it was in front of me in a song. I think one of the most powerful things a song can do is relate to a person, to empathise and make you feel like you’re not the only one who feels that way.
In your opinion, what makes music unique? What is the difference to other artistic expressions in your opinion?
I think all art is relevant, important and useful to society, but music is particularly unique because of its accessibility. Everybody loves music. Not everybody reads poetry or novels, or goes to galleries and plays, but I think music cuts through into everybody’s lives and provides the soundtrack to seminal moments, where you associate a particular event, or relationship or even a holiday with the song that was playing at the time.
People tend to say that music saved their life. Do you think music itself has the power to influence or even save someone or does it need more?
I think most people can trace a particular song or album that saved their life, or perhaps encapsulated an entire feeling, fashion or time for them. A beautiful memory. Perhaps in terms of helping someone through a break-up or grief or out of depression music can certainly save your life in extreme cases, but on a day to day basis I think music can help to make our lives worth living in the first place.
Is there anything you’d like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?
Just to know that whatever you go through in life, no matter how terrifying or sad, or seemingly inescapable, there’s always someone who has been through something similar, or worse. It’s ok to feel like a struggle sometimes, because everyone does.