Today we newest Spotlight – Oliver Charles. We sit down with Oliver to chat about his music and his newest release Let Go of My Ghosts. Hailing from Montreal, we are excited to hear some new music so check it out below.
What got you started in music? Was it more family, or friends?
I knew I wanted to pursue a music career when I was 15 years old. When I was a kid, I used to play with those toy-type keyboards that lit up red when you played with the keys. My dad used to sing and play guitar to some Eric Clapton, The Beetles, Cat Stevens, and I just knew I had to write my own music. It was definitely more family inspired.
I am curious about who some of your influences were growing up?
When I grew up, I was fascinated by a lot of different artists, but often around folk and pop. I liked what my dad listened too, but I quickly got attracted to so many more genres. Admiration with Rufus Wainwright’s song writing skills and Josh Groban’s voice is what I really went into. I always admired Eminem, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran… there’s just too many to list.
Montreal is a city like no other as a fellow Montrealer, the city has so much sound, both English, French, and otherwise. How do you think living in Montreal has shaped your sound?
It’s true, whenever I’m traveling outside of Canada and people ask me where I am from, the answer is always Montreal. It’s not Quebec, nor Canada. Montreal is a place of its own. I think cultural diversity played a big part because I got to listen to music from all over the world and that unconsciously shaped me. The accessibility to great music schools have also played a big part on my music education.
During 2020 you released multiple singles, which was your favorite of them and why?
Waiting for My Call is one of my favourite singles of 2020. I think it’s because it still resonates with me emotionally and it’s not trying too hard to be a hit song. The production of this song is a live one-take performance. I had a cold, so we were recording it as a rehearsal and the first take ended up being the final product. You hear a lot of noise in the microphones and that sort of created a mood of its own. I like how the song that was the least produced was actually the one that did the best last year on Spotify.
Tell us a bit about what it was like to write and record during the pandemic?
I have to admit that I feel very fortunate to be able have a home studio. During the pandemic, I was able to record back vocals for this album and sent it to the Grand Brothers (producers of this debut album). What I’m thankful for is the fact that COVID permitted me to write and record without feeling rushed. We had postponed the release of this single, so it gave us the luxury to re-record my voice for most of the songs and it was very beneficial.
Your latest single ‘Let Go of My Ghosts” comes out the end of April, what can fans and new listeners alike expect?
I think fans and new listeners can expect a similar pop-folk sound like my singles in the past, but with more maturity and a vintage appeal. My voice has matured since 2020 and that resonates in the song. It was recorded with real instruments and with the technics of our predecessors. The song is about trusting love again and leaving your baggage and your demons behind.
At this point you are teasing us but haven’t mentioned an album yet. When can we expect an album to drop?
We know for sure that there will be 3 singles this year, a music video and a live performance video. We would like to release the full-length album by the end of this year or beginning of 2022. Although the album is ready, COVID is a challenge, and we want this album to have the release it deserves.
Aside from being a talented musician, you are also an amazing home cook, and know your way around the bar- not many people can make a sake cocktail well. Have you always been comfortable in the kitchen?
Well, amazing might be an over statement, compared to real cooks that is. I think cooking is just as creative as making music. I always loved cooking for that reason. Plus, it’s so rewarding when it tastes good. When I was a kid, I naturally wanted to make my own sandwiches before going to school or help mom with diner. Today, I live with my girlfriend and she’s the real deal when it comes to being a foodie. So, I enjoy it even more now.
The playfulness and experimentation of music and with making food and beverages must lend itself well to one another?
Both writing music and cooking food is extremely similar. You must be sensitive to the details, patient, understand that everything is about balance, precision, discipline and not over doing it. Most of all, it’s about pleasure and sharing that experience with the people you love. Culture plays a huge part in its creation and, when done properly, it will leave you reasons to live. Literally.
What was it like to switch to playing online shows for you in 2020? What was your experience like with them?
I had a first show in the beginning of 2020 which was going to be the start of many shows during the year. It was a bummer for sure. I am very sensitive to people’s energy and I must admit that not having an opportunity to play my music on stage, even if it’s a small bar, and share magical, genuine, heartfelt moments with people… that’s something I miss a lot. That being said, I’m also much timid than people think, and I have not completely mastered the art of channelling my stage fright into positivity. I warm up well after a few songs but playing online took a bit of that fear away. Being able to do both would be the best.
With things so up in the air for touring is it difficult to plan into the unknown? Do you have any plans for this summer?
Being an artist and a creator makes you naturally gifted at filling up your own time. The unknown is all I’ve known really, so I’m just allowing myself to play, create and try to stay positive and relevant. Once you finish an album, you must put it out there and connect with your audience. So, I will put efforts in being more available on social media, do online shows and create Vlogs with a home studio I’m currently setting up for video content.
Any quick glance at your social media will show how much you love travelling. Where was your favorite place you have visited and why?
Choosing one favourite destination is unfair! Um, if you are a foodie like me, you absolutely must go to Singapore. The food is inexpensive, the city the centre point to so many ethnicities. Rules and regulations are so strict that street food or indoor food courts, called Hawker Centers there, are so good and super clean. Plus, its exotic and they have the best zoo in the world.
What is one thing you wish that people knew about you?
I wish people knew that music actually saved me. I come from being bullied, having no self esteem, and was scared shitless of being on stage… All my insecurities are channeled into my dream of becoming a successful singer-songwriter in hopes that it would give me purpose, a reason to live and ultimately loving who I am. I don’t know if this album will find success or not, but I do know that, in my heart, I have successfully become that person.
Lastly as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season, what are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
Are you ready? This is all food related. If you love Chinese food like steamed buns, you must try Bao Bao Dimsum in Chinatown. If you love disgustingly good poutine, you must order Mr. Poutine ‘N’ Ms. Shakes on UberEATS. If you love high-end food, but want it to be affordable, deliver food from Hélicoptère. Best coffee is either Olimpico (combine with the best bagels @ St-Viateur Bagel.) or Canard Café with their homemade muffins. If you love private imported Sake and Japanese food, go to my friend’s restaurant called Fleurs & Cadeaux. You’re welcome.
Spotlight – Oliver Charles is done. Big thanks to Oliver for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Let Go of My Ghosts out today!
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