Charley Young was born in San Diego, California and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Charley was exposed to music from a young age via both her maternal grandfather, who she would often vocally accompany as he played guitar, and her mother who possessed a vast cassette and CD collection. Charley grew up listening to Depeche Mode, INXS, The Pretenders, Madonna, and similar artists, all who have directly influenced Charley and her sound. Expanding upon these influences, Charley’s connection and deep reverence for nature often figures in her music as is evident in the lyrics to songs such as “Fiery Storm” and “Summer is Mine” to name just a few examples.
In addition to music, Charley has always been involved in competitive sports. She participated in soccer and gymnastics before having to switch to swimming due to her life-threatening battle with anorexia nervosa. Charley is very open about her eating disorder journey brought on by the unexpected death of her maternal grandfather who was a mentor and inspiration to Charley. Charley does her best to honor her family and often dedicates and schedules music and video releases to coincide with a loved one’s birthday or day of passing. For Charley, being authentic, genuine, and unadulterated in her emotions and every day life is of the utmost importance. Having survived anorexia nervosa and depression and coping with anxiety, Charley aspires to connect with others suffering from similar trials through her music. Hearing how her songs and lyrics have helped or impacted a fan is what drives Charley to create. For her, her purpose in music is to be a lighthouse in the storm of life.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
Thank you so much for interviewing me! 2022 has been great! I was cast in a commercial on New Year’s Day and have gotten a good share of film auditions. I’ve also been writing lots of new music with awesome international collaborators and filmed three music videos. I’ve also had the music video for my song “Run Away” win awards at multiple film festivals across the globe, while having my music video for “I Want It Now (People of the Parallel Remix)” selected for the Prague Music Video Awards this year. I also received a mention in Variety which was a big win!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
The biggest transformation that has taken place is my confidence. I’ve worked diligently on developing my craft as a vocalist and a songwriter, and I’ve grown more comfortable in my own skin and in my mission as an artist.
How did you come up with your latest project?
I am beyond thankful to have wonderful artists as collaborators and friends. My latest project is a collaboration between myself and France-based artist/producer Diamond Lounge. Like me, Diamond Lounge is inspired by retro sounds. Bring in Nashville-based artist/producer People of the Parallel who is anything but conventional, and you have my latest songs. It is such an amazing international meeting of the minds between us. None of us are afraid to try different sounds.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in San Diego, CA and grew up primarily on the Gulf Coast of Florida. As an adult, I have lived in LA, NYC, and Florida.
Where do you live now?
I currently reside in Florida but travel frequently to LA, NYC, and other cities as needed. I love traveling and being on-the-go.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
I write best when I am near nature. The way I view my creations, my music, is that I am simply the channel through which the music/lyrics/message is conveyed. By being in and around nature, I can more easily tap into the source.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
I’ve known from a young age that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I’ve always loved film, music, and writing. I was pretty confident as a young child, but around my early teenage years, I lost my confidence. I knew what I wanted to do, but I was too afraid to admit it or pursue it due to judgment from my peers. When I was 13, my mom’s friend, who happened to have psychic abilities, came up to me and said, “You want to be a singer and you’re going to do it.” I was a bit skeptical, but I never forgot that moment. As the years went by, I kept getting more music-based auditions and opportunities, and I decided it was time to wholeheartedly go after what I wanted.
How do you want to shape your career?
I want to create music and art that is authentic, that which is not bound by what is “trendy” or what “sells.” What is trendy and what sells is ephemeral – I want to write music and create music videos that are not in line with what is “in.” I want to go against what is “mainstream.” I’ve never wanted to step in line with what is expected.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
Both! When I am doing a collaboration with another artist, sometimes I have to deliver something quickly. Other times, I will write a song and it will stay “in the vault” for a while until it is time for it to be released due to previously scheduled releases. When I go to write a song, I can usually finish it within the same sitting. On average, it takes me one to two hours to write a song. I just have to ensure that I am in the right mindset.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
Lately I’ve been naming my songs from the first few lyrics within them. I generally derive titles for my songs from the song’s lyrics so that the listener can better remember the title and the song. My music is in service to my listener, so whatever can help them better remember the song and that captures the song/album’s essence is what determines its title.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
One of my college professors taught me a great adage: “Writing is never finished; it is only abandoned.” In my experience, that adage rings true. I listen to older recordings and think to myself, “Oh, I wish I could re-record this part” or “I don’t know if this recording really captures what I was trying to create,” but those thoughts are not helpful. It is important to learn to let go and move forward. Things can always be improved, but it is also valid to see the beauty in imperfection.
Do you feel an emotional attachment to your music?
Without a shadow of a doubt. My music is nothing without my emotional investment. When you listen to one of my songs, I am literally giving you a peek into my inner life. My songs are emotional outpourings.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
You can listen on the main streaming platforms here! bit.ly/itoldyoucharleyyoung
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
Whenever a fan tells me that my music has helped them through a difficult time or that it has spoken to them, that is the best reaction/outcome. I create music, art with the intent to help others navigate their feelings and lives. If someone tells me that my music has helped them in some way, my job is done.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
I have a music video that is nominated for Best Music Video at the 2022 ARFF Paris// International Awards at the end of June. It will be my second time in France which is exciting since I’ve been speaking French since I was 5, and it was one of my majors at Vassar College! I am releasing another music video in July, and I have lots of new music coming out this year!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
I am finalizing details for shows in NYC and New Orleans at the moment. I am also performing at the #iVotedFestival in November!
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