Charity is defined as the voluntarily giving of help primarily in the form of money to those in need.
This Charity gives those in need beautiful music that feeds our soul. Coming off the high from her project “Yellow”, she shares some of the intricate things that make her the astounding artist she is.
1.) How long have you been singing? What inspired you to start singing?
I've been singing since I was little. My dad is a preacher so my two older sisters and I sang at church a lot. I can't really say I was inspired to sing as much as it was something I grew into, and didn't really have an option on whether I was going to do it or not lol. In hindsight, gospel music really molded me as a writer, and helped me to see music as sacred and even as ministry to some degree.
2.) Not only do you sing, but you play guitar, describe your journey as a guitarist.
I started playing guitar at 13 because my piano teacher who I had studied with since I was 8 was hitting my fingers with a pencil after I kept making mistakes on some music I was completely inspired by. I was done with her after that, but my parents made me pick up something else. I was into India Arie and Lauryn Hill so I thought guitar would be a good fit. I ended up with a really great teacher and mentor, Joel Palmer, who was an old white folk guitarist. His teaching style made me fall madly in love with music. He recognized I was a singer and made me learn covers to my favorite India Arie and Stevie Wonder songs. Soon after, he realized I was a poet and made me put those poems to guitar chords. So it was a very tailored, personal and creative experience learning with him. Really soon I was writing and performing original songs. I remember him telling my mom, "Charity's not just going to play. She's going to PLAY." I get what he meant now.
3.) You also write a lot of your music, what are some of your greatest strengths as a songwriter? What difficulties do you face as a songwriter?
I think as a writer I'm able to connect to human emotion. I'd consider myself an empath and I just FEEL things very deeply. I think my music, especially my new music, makes people feel something very familiar that they can relate and connect to and thus feel understood and that they aren't alone. That's what I'm good at. What I'm bad at is pushing past the fear of, "Oh shit, I think the last song I wrote is the best song I'll ever write." - essentially the fear that I'll run out of creativity. I take myself too seriously. I put a pressure on myself for every single song to be profound and exceptional. So, I throw too many songs out and sometimes I scare myself out of being a consistent writer.
4.) What's one of the most difficult challenges you face in the music industry as an underground artist?
I think finding the people to understand who I am and what my vision is and the resources to give my art the platform that it deserves has been my greatest challenge. It's hard being a woman too. It's hard being a BLACK woman even more. But that stuff is apart of the struggle that gives me the seasoning to be a great artist and human. So I can navigate that. I just don't have huge budgets to ensure that great songs will be heard by the masses. But I do believe that God can provide me with much more than a major label could. So I all things, I'm trying to shift my mindset to the abundance that I do have
5.) You've performed at many great places and for many awesome people, what has been your favorite performance to date?
My favorite performance was at my release show for my EP "Yellow". To be honest, Yellow was really boy crazy content. I was going through a bad breakup once it finally came out and I just didn't feel connected to it anymore and I didn't want to perform it. Mike Ellison, writer, creative director, performer, activist, and more came on to help me make it personal and authentic again and just to take my show to a new level. So I was able to transform these love songs to someone else into love songs to self, to God. It was a really dynamic, intimate and personal night. People cried. I cried. I felt after that show- "Okay, I'm really doing my work now."
6.) You are currently working on a new project, what can we anticipate?
You can anticipate the songs that a girl who has finally learned to really, deeply love herself writes. It'll have more bass and booty than my last project. I'm so concerned with all the layers of me (righteous and ratchet) being present on this album. So, I talk about feeling like nothing after having my heart broken, learning that I'm actually the shit, loving that woman, being a frustrated millennial, women going for more in life than the status quo, feeling like I'm racing the clock to success. I'm actually getting excited just describing it. It's really good lol.
7.) Your project Yellow - The EP is full of different genres of music like soul, blues, and jazz. Would you describe your music as genre fluid?
Oooh I love how you described that. Genre fluid is a beautiful way to put it. I'm genuinely influenced by so many Black movements in music- from Gospel to Folk to Jazz to R&B to Neo Soul to Hip Hop to Trap. I really don't want anyone boxing me into one sound so I've struggled for years with what to call my music. You'll hear even more of those genres on my next project so it needs to be allowed to be fluid. Yes.
8.) If you could work with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
My first instinct was to say Nina Simone, because I just think she would pull an even more dynamic writer out of me, but I think I struggle with always looking to the past for inspiration and rarely looking forward (which can keep an artist stuck in a moment that's over). So in the present moment I would say Anderson .Paak. The first time I heard his music I just felt like somebody was oiling my scalp. I think we have so much in common as writers and instrumentalists and his journey wasn't instant or easy as mine hasn't been either. I think he access to, indie artist or not.
9.) What other things can we look forward to from Charity The Artist?
A great album in early 2018 and visuals even sooner that push the envelope and celebrate the layers and complexity of a Black girl who is standing at the altar of her own heart.
10.) Where do you see yourself in a year?
I see myself touring a successful album; becoming peers with artists that I look up to. Speaking that into existence.