RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST CHARISE SOWELLS
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Thanks for having me 🙂
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
When my performances moved people to tears I knew I was onto something.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I’m Charise Sowells and I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was a kid.
Midnite Tiger and I met in the Bay Area and immediately hit it off. We grew up loving so much of the same music in the 90’s that we were on the same page from the get-go making our collaborative process such a breeze.
Evan Malouf and I met in a band in LA and have been together ever since we all toured the country back in 2011 on a 1970’s prison bus. He’s all about the rock and roll and he has an album coming out soon too which everyone should definitely be on the look out for.
Bill Cole joined the band I started in Oakland. I really wanted an accordion player and he was the first one to audition. We played tons of shows together for a couple years and his family became like me and Ev’s Bay Area fam. He even took us up in his vintage Cessna plane which was a blast.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums.
I have so many faves but 3 I probably listen to the most are:
Enya – Watermark
The National – Boxer
Bjork – Debut
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Music has been such a big part of my life since day one that I can’t really narrow it down to one song. But I do remember tuning into Nic Harcourt’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on 89.9 KCRW after my mom and I had moved from Minnesota to California. I was having a really tough time with the transition and that radio show turned me onto artists around the world making all kinds of cool sounds that didn’t fit neatly into one genre box or another. Just like how I wasn’t fitting into the suburban box that was my life at that point (or any other box for that matter). It was comforting and inspiring and it made me feel less alone somehow. So, I decided to start get serious about writing my own songs in hopes of my music one day doing the same for others.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
Well, all I can say is I’m still making music and putting it out there which is the most important thing. Besides that, only time will tell…
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Everyone swore by TikTok so I’m giving that a shot. I guess the best advice is to use what tools and resources are out there and find what works best for you and your audience.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
I lived in Costa Rica.
I write scripts.
I was once bucked off of a horse.
What was the worst experience on stage?
In 2006, I was flown from NY to LA to do a show. We only had 30 minutes to rehearse. I was performing with a whole jazz band I had never met to a sold out house at a huge venue. An actor I admired since I was a kid read my bio before I came out onstage and then we met one another before I went on and I completely lost focus. When I walked out onstage, I blanked. It had never happened before. It hasn’t happened since. But for one brief moment, I envisioned myself running offstage in shame as some young pop star had recently done at the time. Then I snapped out of it realizing I was still standing there center stage doing nothing and thankfully, I recovered. The house erupted in applause when I was finished and everyone loved the dramatic opening. But man, that split second pause felt like an eternity of my own personal hell. Phew!
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
I wanted to be a zoologist or ecologist before the art life chose me. Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey were my heroes.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think my versatility as a songwriter sets me apart. I have always been a huge fan of so many different types of music and I love collaborating with a vast array of artists. It’s fun to flex different muscles creatively and see how that changes the process and end product.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
Obsolescent Adolescence is an album comprised of songs I’ve been writing over the course of the last two decades (and then some, honestly). Twilight Hour is the oldest one. I wrote it while crying into my guitar at 16. It’s about my estranged father. And there are tracks I wrote in the last few years on there as well. I sent the songs to Midnite Tiger during the pandemic and we emailed them back and forth a few times, fine tuning things before everything was mixed and mastered by two engineers I connected with through SoundBetter.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
It’s a universal tale of youthful (and not so youthful) follies.
What was the recording process like?
Low key. No pressure. All the time in the world. That’s the beauty of home studios!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Each song has its own demands and presents its own challenges. But I really wanted to tie them all together somehow. We settled on live drums and electric guitar. Midnite Tiger added both and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Always. And at the same time, never. I mean, never say never. But, as a writer, I’ve learned to recognize when a project is “done” and then keep things moving. There’s so much I have already created that I have yet to share with the world and I continue making more regularly. We only have 24 hours in the day and a limited number of days in our lives. The saddest thing for me would be for my creations to die when I do because I was too afraid to share them due to perceived imperfections.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Thanks for having us. And to all the readers, watchers, and listeners out there, thanks for your support!