Interview – Oliver Charles

Oliver Charles knew he was destined for the great things in the music industry because, well, he was raised by a family of musicians! Based out of Montreal, Quebec, Charles hones in on his personal struggles with life and romance to spark his creativity and writing. With the release of his new single “Let Go of My Ghosts”, we were lucky enough to ask Oliver our 5 burning questions about his single and his processes! Check it out below!

Oliver, can you please introduce yourself to our readers? We want them to know all about you!

About me and my music: Hi, my name is Oliver Charles, I am a Montreal-based singer-songwriter and have been working on developing my singing and writing abilities over the past several years. I have been in the studio for the past 2-3 years with The Grand Brothers, who produced my first full-length album, which is getting released this year. This debut album is influenced by artists like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Rufus Wainwright, and Ed Sheeran, who brought me insight on how to blend thought-out lyrics, often about romance or personal struggles, with pop hooks and arrangements that are more traditional and vintage.

About me, personally: I love physical fitness and healthy eating habits. My biggest pet peeve is my lack of punctuality. My guilty pleasure is watching anime. Attack On Titan is my favourite anime this year. I consider myself both English and French, although I’m theoretically French-Canadian. I love to travel; I want my next big trip to be Japan. I’m playful, silly, and goofy in real life. I am a typical blond; I’m clumsy and a doofus at times. I don’t shy away from emotions or candor. I did a DNA test and, apparently, before coming from Europe, I was a Viking!

Tell us about the writing and creating process “Let Go of My Ghosts”?

I was living alone and was going through a breakup. A lot from that relationship was weighing on my shoulders and, like most of my songs in this first album; I sort of documented my experience and wrote a song about it, typically with my guitar in my living room. To help me get out of my pajamas, my best friend invited me to a party where he insisted I’d meet this girl with who he thought I’d get along with. He was right; we automatically connected. The problem was, I still felt the weight from my past relationship and felt like those demons were keeping me from moving on and finding peace and happiness with a new person. I really needed to move on if I wanted to move forward with this girl. That moment and time are what inspired “Let Go My Ghosts”. I recorded a home demo, sent it to The Grand Brothers, hit the studio, the rest is history.

What did you find most difficult creating music during these times?

Finding my voice was exceptionally hard. I always had a good ear and a sensitivity that was useful for songwriting, but singing was never easy. It took years to find the proper technics and also the courage to sing. Also, for this album, it wasn’t just about singing, it was about finding my own sound and my own voice. It was hard, but I’m proud of the result. I’m happy I didn’t give up.

What song took you the longest to perfect on your album?

I’m debating between Do You Mind and Still Love You. Technically, Do You Mind was the longest because it’s the very first breakup ballad I have ever written. The very first version is from 2012. I simply needed to mature into an artist who could support its emotional and vocal statement. That being said, Still Love You is NOTHING like my demo. The Grand Brothers created a Latin-pop version of the song, featuring a classical guitar, 3 back vocalists, and arrangements that made my jaw drop. Those two songs easily went through 3 to 4 different versions and producers to finally find the perfect fit.

What was your highlight of 2020, and what do you want to accomplish in 2021?

I definitely have a most memorable moment. I was working in Paris to further my career. I was lucky enough to sleep on a friend’s couch at that time, when suddenly COVID hit and the USA closed their borders. This gave me 48h to book a very expensive plane ticket back home. It must have been the most stressful and “out of the blue” thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Still feels like a dream, but then I wake up and it’s still here. lol… 2021 is all about releasing new music and reconnecting with my fans. After all this development, I’d like to get out of the studio and touch people’s hearts.

Where is your dream concert venue to play, and if you could, would you have someone play this venue with you and who would it be?

I’ve sort of stopped thinking about venues, especially during these times. I would really be honoured to perform online for BBC 1 Live Lounge and NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. That would be quite the accomplishment. If I was to tour I would want to tour with Ed Sheeran and my good friend Jeremy Voltz.

What is one piece of advice you would give to budding artists?

Don’t look for the fast and easy path, enjoy wise and well-informed solutions.

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