Oliver Charles is a Montreal-based singer-songwriter who writes about romance and personal struggles. Always writing lyrics candidly, Charles is inspired when he is most vulnerable. Growing up as a shy and sensitive kid, music kept him company and, over time, gave him a voice to externalize how he felt. More confident today, he offers his songs hoping to connect and comfort those who share similar experiences.
We had the opportunity to chat with Oliver about his latest single “Let Go Of My Ghosts”, music industry challenges, and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “Let Go Of My Ghosts”?
Oliver: 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 pyjamas, my best friend invited me to a party where he insisted I’d meet this girl 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 this new person. I really needed to move on. That moment and time is what inspired “Let Go My Ghosts”.
Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track?
Oliver: I would like people to know, if they are going through something similar, that they are not alone going through this. Letting go of your demons and your baggage is fundamental if you want to fall in love again, it takes time, but it’s essential. It’s also a good song to simply drink coffee and work from home. If the melodies and my voice are keeping you company and makes you feel good, then that’s more than enough!
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Oliver: It takes time and maturity to start seeing a challenge as an opportunity to learn and thrive. In my case, the hardest thing is not being as good right now as I’d like to be in the future. Doesn’t matter how good you are, having ambition comes at its price. It’s hard to be unapologetic about what you believe is imperfect and you can’t judge yourself when you create because the whole point is to create something you haven’t mastered yet. It’s hard to constantly aim and work for a version of you that is better than the you-now. If you manage to accept and thrive on it, then that challenge becomes the magic in your art. It’s only after years of work that you start to appreciate what you’ve overcome. It’s the 10 thousand hours rule… it’s not a myth, it’s a fact.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Oliver: To be honest, my highlight is very close and personal to me; it’s when I found my voice. I’ve been singing since I’m 15 years old and I am now 31. It took years for me to break out of my shell and to understand how my voice works, especially since I wasn’t born with the most gifted voice. My voice has always been the hardest instrument for me to develop. The specific moment was in the studio with The Grand Brothers (producers of this debut album.) We had finished the album, but the release was postponed because of COVID. I had taken time off from these songs for a long time and had time to grow in between the original version and now. When I came back to the studio, we had decided, just to see, how it would sound if we re-recorded my voice for these songs. I was proud to see that we succeeded in doing it in only 1 week and surpassed the original versions that were recorded 2-3 years ago. It felt like I didn’t need to be insecure about my voice anymore. That was a big deal for me.
Kat: What challenges did you face as a music artist from Quebec while trying to break into the English market?
Oliver: This is a hard question to answer. There are a lot of grey zones between challenges I face because I write in English in a French province, and opportunities I have missed because I’m just not there yet in my career. So, let’s take all of this with a grain of salt. I think most of the challenges are industry based more than fan based. I think people love music, period, doesn’t matter where you come from. The hardest reality is not how to break the English market, because you need to work on networking and developing your art either way. What’s hard is not being nurtured by the industry in my hometown, at least, not as much as if I’d write in French. Which is too bad because my upbringing taught me that cultural diversity and being educated in English would reward me in the future. The industry in Canada is literally divided in two and apparently I have chosen the hardest route. This being said; Celine Dion, Half Moon Run, Simple Plan, and now Charlotte Cardin (to name a few) inspire me to keep going. I’m want to offer the best music I can, whatever its genre or language. It’s all about how good the music is really, the rest is what it is.
Kat: What’s next? We heard there is a full album in the works?
Oliver: I am constantly working on making my dreams come true, so my future is full of music, that’s for sure. We have a full-length album ready for release in the coming year. It is influenced by artists 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 acoustic, traditional and vintage. Artists like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran are good examples. We have one music video and one performance video ready to go. So we’ll be sure to engage with the audience before the official release of the album. I don’t want to think too much about live music in venues for now. My main focus and motivation will be my presence on social media. I am setting myself up in my home studio to record myself and be connected with my fans. I feel like I am becoming more creative every day and will put efforts into releasing a lot more songs and being much more present.
For more on Oliver Charles visit: https://www.olivercharlesofficial.com