One day I was listening to playlists compiled for me by Spotify as I was at work and I thought to myself, “I’ve never heard this ABBA song before”… the reason was because it wasn’t ABBA, it was this artist Pearl Charles. So you know I had to reach out and ask for an interview..
Q: I guess I would categorize your music as “everything under the kitchen sink” type of genre. It’s literally a mesh of indie, pop, disco, Americana, alt-country…. If I were a record store owner, what section would I file your album under? How would you personally define your sound?
A: That is a really great question and definitely a tough one to answer! People often ask me how I would describe my own music and I just answer by saying “70’s inspired” because I feel like that covers a HUGE variety of different styles, obviously haha, but implies that it’s very much based in classic songwriting and the use of real instruments. Like you said, my music does sort of dip into a lot of different genres and mixes them together, but at the core, both sonically and stylistically in the writing, there is a through line of sounds that were really developed and honed in the 1970’s. Of course, at the same time, I am an artist living and working in 2022, so while work is very inspired in the past, I still want to make it feel current and relevant to both my audience and myself and I don’t think “70’s inspired” is a section in the record stores which is why i think I can be really hard to define.
Q: What is your go to instrument? Are you more of a piano or guitar person? Do you write songs for the piano and then convert to guitar?
A: Though I’ve spent far more of my professional music life on guitar, my first instrument was piano and lately, I’ve really been drawn back to it. Honestly, these days I often write initially without an instrument at all with more of a focus on the melody and lyrics, and then I turn my attention to the chords and instrumentation after, but I have started many songs on both piano and guitar and then gone on to convert them to one or the other depending on the final arrangement we decide on in the recording and then how we want to present that in a live setting.
Q: Name a song written by you that best describes the place you are in your life right now….then explain the meaning of the song you chose.
A: Although my initial instinct was to talk about my latest single, Givin’ It Up, because it definitely accurately describes a certain place that I am in the moment in terms of my romantic/personal life, I actually think I would have to say Deja Vu, which was the single released prior to Givin’ It Up and the first single since Magic Mirror. Deja Vu is a song about not wanting to constantly repeat the same steps, and missteps, in your life over and over, hoping to change direction in some way that will unlock that next level, all the while trying not to lose hope when things don’t turn out the way you expect them to. I feel like I am in a place in my life where I am hoping to take a big leap into another level and I can’t say with 100% certainty I know exactly how to get there just yet, and there have certainly been many challenges, but I am trying to maintain a positive outlook and try new things in order to grow through it and reach new heights!
Q: Your parents made you go to college instead of your desire to become a musician after high school. Was that the best piece of advice they gave you or do you feel your life would be on a very different path right now?
A: I went to college for music, so I don’t think there was really any other path for me, I just think I would have gone into being a working musician earlier. I was still able to make touring work with both of my college bands, so I was luckily able to find a balance and I did end up learning a lot from music school and making many professional and personal connections.
Q: In 2021, you released the album, “Magic Mirror”, a few of the singles reminded me of 2 of the most iconic bands of the 70’s. Only For Tonight, sounds so much like ABBA, it’s chilling and then “All The Way” and “Don’t Feel Like Myself” was like listening to The Carpenters with the their melodious sounds but the lyrics on “Don’t Feel Like Myself” are anything but. “Some days, you wake up, walking on the wrong side, a face in the mirror, your reflection won’t look you in the eye”. Are you creating a new version of yourself? What were you feeling at the time you wrote this song?
A: The lyric you quoted is actually about not being able to look at yourself because you’re not proud of who you are in that moment, rather than trying to create a new version of yourself, but that song sat for a really long time and I didn’t know how to finish it, because I hadn’t yet embraced my truest identity. Don’t Feel Like Myself is about taking psychedelics to really turn inward, find out who you are and accept that person lovingly, which is in a way creating a new version of yourself, but from my perspective, it’s actually the most authentic version, rather than something “manufactured”. If you listen more closely to the lyrics of Only For Tonight, you’ll hear that there is actually a bit of darkness lurking below the surface of all the glitter and shine of that one too 😉
Q: Your latest single, “Givin’ It Up”, released this January is reminiscent of a perfect easy going 70’s groove… Love song, I assume? You wrote this with your partner Michael Rault (also a talented musician)… has your relationship helped your creativity in terms of writing songs from different perspectives? Will you and Michael be doing more collabs in the future?
A: Givin’ It Up is definitely a love song in a sense, but it describes the process of “giving in” to a relationship because you’ve been hurt in the past and have to learn to love and trust again, rather than the pure simplicity of just falling in love. I’ve actually been in many bands with romantic partners who were also creative partners so I definitely find that closeness to be key for both my collaborations and my relationships! Michael and I have so many collaborative projects in the works, since we met each other we have been so deeply involved in each other’s musical output, I sang all over his record, he even played a bit on Magic Mirror and has been a part of everything I’ve recorded since then in some capacity, we even have songs for a side project we want to do together already written, we’re just both so busy, it’s just about finding the time to work on that at this point!
Q: Who would pop up on your music playlist right now? What artists have been listening to lately? And what albums would you recommend?
A: I’ve got s pretty steady rotation of Heart, Christine McVie, Steely Dan and Ned Doheny on my personal playlist but I have to recommend Michael’s new single, Neither Love Nor Money, it’s a jam! **** Note: at the time of the interview, the above single had just been released***
Q: You’ve just come off of a nice European tour, how did it feel to be able to get out and travel & be overseas after the past few years of limited traveling and shows?
A: Unfortunately, our European tour ended up being canceled as it was supposed to be happening right at the height of Omicron and we were not able to make it work with all the restrictions, etc. I am really hoping we will be able to get back there ASAP, if not this year, then definitely next.
Q: Any EP’s or new albums due to come out this year? What can fans expect?
A: I have a whole new album in the works with a few songs already completed, I just need to figure out how I want to release it, so no official plans at the moment, but definitely keep your eyes peeled for announcements on that front!
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: If people are looking to buy music, they can check out my Bandcamp at https://pearlcharlesmusic.bandcamp.com/ but it is also available wherever you stream music and our music videos are on YouTube .
Thanks to Pearl for the interview… if you want to catch her on tour, she will be performing w/Michael Rault at The Airliner in Los Angeles on June 10th.
More interviews coming your way…
Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.