South Wales singer songwriter, Charlene releases her debut album on October 28 along with a personal appearance at HMV Stores, Cardiff.
Charlene had an eventful childhood. Adopted into a loving family, she has also braved two major heart surgeries and survived a house-fire which gave her drive, passion and determination to follow her dreams. Small wonder that her album debut is called Truth of a Warrior, combining a blend of soft vocals, melody and catchy beats with soul-searched lyrics.
An unsigned artist that has worked alongside many luminaries such as D12’s Bizarre and Wu Tang Klan’s Solomon, Charlene recently took time out to chat with Andy Howells about her new album and career.
You had quite an eventful childhood, do you think that affected your drive to be determined to succeed in things you do?
Early in my childhood, I found my creativity restricted. I was later adopted into a loving family and I feel that’s when the drive and passion came to succeed.
When did you realise you were interested in music?
Music speaks to my soul. I always used to write down lyrics to help heal myself. As I got older, I felt a calling towards writing, not just for myself, but also to help heal others. A near death experience showed me that life is too short. I decided to follow my dream of becoming a singer songwriter not letting anything hold me back!
You’ve been working as an unsigned artist for some years. Can you tell us a little bit about the collaborations you’ve had and where you have played?
I’ve performed at the 02 London Academy Islington and Clubs Southend Essex. I’ve also appeared at Phoenix Festival, Surrey, as well as several club and radio spots around Essex, Surrey and Newport in South Wales.
On my first album, I’ve collaborated with rappers, Bizarre (D12), Solomon (Wu Tang Clan), Joe Grind and Kid Bookie. Each of these were an inspiration to work with.
It just goes to show what we can do, when we put our minds to it!
Have you learned any valuable life lessons along the way?
Many! Firstly, when I started in 2011, technology was just starting to transform the music industry. Unsigned artists could finally get their music out and voices heard. There are so many different platforms to use now, it’s incredible!
Secondly, there’s little support for artists emotionally, mentally or financially especially in Wales. I was both surprised and disappointed in the lack of financial and educational support given in helping young people achieve their goals within the arts and the music industry. Seeing how other places in the UK have had that support and the difference it has made in local communities within children and young people is a massive achievement. I feel more needs to be done!
Thirdly, as an artist you are never short of critics and jealousy!
Your debut album, Truth of a Warrior will be out shortly can you tell us about that?
It’s my first album, out after many years of working hard on lyrics and building connections. It’s turned out better than I anticipated, and I’d really like to thank the collaborations, producers and sound engineer, Adi who helped me put it together.
The album features different genres, while the lyrics speak from my soul. I’ve been through my opinions, thoughts and beliefs. All have helped heal me and I hope will help heal others.
You’ll be at HMV in Cardiff for your album launch later this month, are you excited about that?
I’m ecstatic. I have to say a big thankyou to HMV for the opportunity of this to happen. It’s a positive step for unsigned artists to get there album out in major stores.
What are you enjoying listening to when you get time to relax?
I’m currently enjoying listening to Hamzaa featuring Wretch 32 & Ghetts, Breathing Pt.2 and Kygo featuring Whitney Houston, Higher Love.
Where can people find out about your music?
My music is on iTunes and Spotify, plus you can find everything via my website at http://www.officialcharlene.com
Charlene will also be performing live as part of Newport City Radio’s live warm-up at Rodney Parade, Newport on November 23.