How to Get Started in the Music Industry | An Interview with CHAR

CHAR is an upcoming singer-songwriter who has just released her debut single: ‘Control’. In this interview, she shares with us some of her influences, her mental health issues, and her suggestions for how you can get started in the music industry as a student.

For someone who is trying to get started in the music industry, where is the best place to start?

I personally don’t think there is a one size fits all route, like anything I guess. For me I knew quite early on that I wanted to create my own sound, I loved posting covers online but behind that I’ve been in the studio writing and recording my own music. I’d probably say start writing, try and work with lots of different people and back yourself (that’s definitely a work in progress for me). For these tracks I’ve worked with the Roots Manuva producer Wagga Man, it’s been such an eye opening experience and I’ve learnt so much.

How did you find releasing your first single? What did you do?

The build up has been such a myriad of emotions. I’ve self-released through a distributor, which is brilliant as it enables artists to put their own music out but it has been hard knowing what the next steps to take are and how to best promote with a very limited budget! But I know I’m growing in myself constantly and feel genuinely proud to have my first ever track out there. It’s exciting!

What do your parents think of your music career? Have you ever had anyone suggest you should follow a more ‘traditional’ career path?

My parents have been so supportive, I know initially they would encourage me to think of a ‘Plan B’ but I’ve never believed in that. We’re a generation where we see people doing lots of things throughout their life. It’s possible to be fluid in your career and I feel lucky to not feel the pressure to fit into just one box as ‘Singer’ or ‘Charity Co-Founder’. My parents know I’m passionate and it’s something they’d never want to dampen in me, same with my friends – I’m very grateful!

What are your main musical influences?

My dad is a big music fan, I’ve grown up with him always taking an interest in current music but also hearing lots of Indie records. Whilst my style of music hasn’t gone down that way, I’ve always admired that kind of exposing and honest songwriting. As a 90s baby I’ve definitely been influenced by a number of strong female artists in the 90s/00s. Those who have truly inspired me are known for their raw writing; Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Lily Allen and more recently artists such has NAO and H.E.R I’m totally obsessed with. I love R&B and anything that evokes emotion and depth but nothing wrong with having a pop influenced chorus to move to.

Why did you start Mad Millennials? (A Mental Health Non-Profit)

So I Co-Founded Mad Millennials due to my own personal struggles with my mental health. I’ve had OCD and Anxiety for as long as I can remember but things exacerbated and got to a stage where I was having constant panic attacks and couldn’t leave the house. I manage to get back to Uni (where I was studying Psychology & Communications) and I had so much support there but when we left we had a shock to the system that there was this societal expectation to have your life ‘together’. Waiting lists for therapy are through the roof and if we could work at filling a gap in services it could be just what many people need. There are specific challenges millennials face (financial, social media..) and Lauren (Co-Founder) and I wanted to create a space to connect our age group to help them feel less alone.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

I hate sounding flippant or blasé because when you’re younger everything feels like the end of the world and for you in that moment it was a legitimate feeling. I’d probably tell her that being sensitive isn’t a bad thing but nor is being ‘too loud’ or ‘too much’, she can be sad and brave, strong and emotional all at once – emotions pass. Funnily enough my single ‘Control’ is exactly that. I’m talking to my younger self and trying to be the version of me now that the younger me needed. 

We hope you enjoyed this short interview. If you want to listen to CHAR’s new single, ‘Control’, then check it out here. You can also see her Spotify here.

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