RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CHESTERFIELDS CHARLOTTE HALL
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Thank you very much!
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I think I’ve always been tuned into music right from being small. My parents had a video cassette which was a compilation of Queen Music Videos, and I was just mesmerised by Freddie Mercury. I also really liked guitars and remember being obsessed with the Flying V for a while; four-year-old me did not see the cons of the body shape making it near impossible to sit and play the damn thing! I chose to pursue music at university when I was 15/16 and I’ll be honest, I don’t think I could see myself pursuing anything else. The pandemic made me realise that for sure as the arts industry collapsed; the absence of live music was a tough pill to swallow and at times it was honestly painful. I also learned that even if I could find more security and stability in other fields, it would only cost me my happiness.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
So I grew up in Chesterfield originally and both parents were into music; my dad plays bass and my mum used to play trumpet and cornet. The first time I sang a solo I front of an audience was ‘Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple and my brother played guitar. I started to really get into music in school when we had new, more enthusiastic teachers join the Expressive Arts department. I started having singing lessons which opened up a new world of Musical Theatre and Classical Music. So much so that I ‘crash-coursed’ Classical/Operatic pieces so I could study music at University; it was bloody hard work and that’s putting it lightly.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
I think one in particular for me that’s a Pet Peeve is; “what is the thing you’re most proud of?” These days I find that very hard to narrow down as I’ve had to work on a lot of different things over the last few years in particular. Whether that’s how I approach music these days or the much-needed self-growth. To answer with just one single thing just doesn’t feel right as it’s only a small piece of a much bigger picture.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with america and the UK, good idea?
Yes absolutely; the technology we have today makes us more connected than ever and enables us to delve into many different genres, cultures, and art. It’s a gateway not just to find song writing inspiration but to enjoying and celebrating the work of other artists around the world.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I’m not really big on conspiracy theories but I do find some interesting purely for the entertainment value. One I did discover through Stranger Things was ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ being tied to Satanism, and the game becoming an extension of the ‘Satanic Panic’ conspiracy theory. The season gave a good insight into how some conspiracies can do more harm than good; with all the terrifying events happening in Hawkins the characters scramble for answers but it leads to some drawing lines in the sand and rejecting facts that don’t fit their beliefs.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Oh I think I definitely bought a lot of things I didn’t need; one thing was definitely dark chocolate. I eat it 365 days a year and that’s no exaggeration! I started buying it as a treat since it was a little pick me up during lockdown and didn’t hit my wallet too hard…although if I probably did the maths I’d be picking my jaw up off the floor…
What useless party trick do you have?
I was pretty good at working with Birds of Prey, even the most stubborn. At uni, I volunteered to work with Birds of Prey for two summers and there was a Harris Hawk called Jed. He would scream at dogs and he would squeeze the fingers of some volunteers. He only squeezed my fingers once, but never again after that as I wasn’t afraid of him and he probably realised I’m not so bad after all. I know you’re not meant to have favourites but he was definitely one of them; he made it clear what he didn’t like and that’s admirable!
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I think one of my most recent gigs actually; was at Picture House Social in Sheffield and the atmosphere was just something else. There was a moment where I was quite taken aback because over half the bar sang Paul McCoy’s part on the chorus of “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence whilst I sang Amy Lee’s. It’s become a popular choice now for me to perform at open mics and gigs!
What was the worst experience on stage?
So for my last interview, I shared a story involving drunk band members, but I have remembered another one from my school show days. I had the role of Roxy Robinson in the musical Bugsy Malone and unbeknown to me, I was the first cast member to be “shot” with whipped cream on stage. It was in my hair, eyes, and my costume, just…everywhere! Needless to say, it put me off the stuff for quite some time!
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I am a keen baker and it’s something I do on a weekly basis. I’ve been vegan for over six years and I began to miss a lot of things I had before, so I had a go at making cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread and even chocolates. Not the most rock ‘n’ roll hobby but it keeps me both physically and mentally stimulated.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
Again, I’d say aliens would be able to explain this better than me! I’d probably say that my music is very influenced by artists of the past; particularly from the 70’s to the 90’s. I think both worlds of growing up in a working-class town and going into classical training at University give my music both grit and some ethereal moments. You can definitely hear the classical influence in some of my songs which make more of my vocal range.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I think the fact that nobody quite knows what sort of song I’m going to release next! I have been influenced by many different artists and the end product can be anywhere from a pink world of Pop to Indie Folk Guitar Instrumentals. If I do release an EP/Album I would like the body of art to be consistent, but who knows which direction I’ll go in?
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
I’ve certainly noticed from the start of the pandemic to the present, there is a lot more toxicity on the internet. There has been far too much negativity in my opinion; the news is often doom and gloom and we were isolated from each other for so long. To say it is so easy for us to connect through social media platforms and the internet, we couldn’t be more divided. I see conflict every day between users, and that is no exaggeration. Divisions can distract us from bigger issues and mental health problems have sky-rocketed. Being kinder to each other and finding positivity can really save us in unpredictable times.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I think my favourite song to play live at the moment is of all things, ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush. I see people singing the song of all ages; some are younger than I am and also the Forever 21-year-olds who were around to see it released in the 80s. I think the song was definitely key to writing the plot in Stranger Things Season Four, and after I binge-watched the first seven episodes I just had to learn it.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
So I have released a brand new single called ‘This Love, which is a more stripped back, Indie Folk song this time. It just has vocals, acoustic guitar, violin, cello and a bass drum beat to keep the momentum going. My love songs are few and far between; I find it easier to write about people who have broken my heart as opposed to making it skip a beat! Turns out people do like a good love song though as it is now my highest-streamed song.
Talk me through the thought process of the single.
So I had originally written this song for someone else to sing, so I was never meant to have my vocals on it. I wanted to know more about her favourite artists and she got me into Mumford & Sons, Damien Rice, Iron & Wine and Hozier. I wrote the guitar part first as I wanted it to be something more intricate but also replicated that so-called ‘rush’ you feel when in love. The big catalyst though for this song was Plain White Tees ‘Hey There Delilah’, and after stumbling across it again I just wanted to write a song like that. I did have to use my imagination of what I would write for a long term partner, who supported me in having a music career and that one day we would see the world together.
What was the recording process like?
I recorded vocals and acoustic guitar at home and Tom is based in Leeds; he produced and mastered the single. The Online Recording Studio (TORS) provided session musicians for the violin and cello parts. So a lot was done in various locations in the U.K.!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
A LOT of things. Firstly, setting a sensible tempo. The acoustic guitar part was even faster than the final recording so we had to slow things down a little. Second, with more complicated parts comes many, many takes. Fingers slipping, incorrect microphone placement, timing, working my way around sirens and motorbikes revving very loudly. My best takes were during a blistering heatwave and my god I was relieved the takes were all good after that! For most of my songs I was able to do takes in one day…not this one.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I’d probably have a look at backing vocals, but I don’t know if I’m overthinking it. For certain though the acoustic guitar solo in the middle, as I could probably change things up.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I am planning on one more release for the end of the year, and then it’ll be back to the grin after being on a hiatus this year. It was much needed but I’m really climbing the walls now in terms of wanting music to have a bigger place in my life.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Thank you so much for making it to the bottom of this interview and for your support along the way in the early days of *hopefully* establishing a music career!