Interview with Charlie Brown: Taking soulful pop to higher ground
With a recent top 10 hit single and songwriting credits for artists like Jay Sean, The Script’s frontman Danny O’Donoghue, Wiley among others, Charlie Brown has quite an impressive résumé under his belt. At 26, the London-born, singer-songwriter is smooth enough to take career advice from Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller. But when it comes to his music, he’s the man in control.
Now, as he prepares to once again make his way to the top with Floodgates, a silky heartfelt ballad where he pours out all of his emotions like gravy on Christmas day, we spoke with Charlie about performing with Craig David and why he’s no one-hit wonder.
You recently toured with Craig David. Who called whom?
Craig asked if I wanted to do it which as you can imagine was crazy for me as he is one of my idols. I grew up listening to him in school, so when he reached out asking if I wanted to do it, I was really flattered. I just jumped at the opportunity.
What was it like performing alongside him? Were you nervous?
Obviously, opening the show was a little tense, but it was really cool to go out and introduce myself to his fans. There were some really good backstage moments – I remember Craig and my manager presenting me with a plaque for my single, On My Way reaching 10,000 radio plays in the UK. Moment’s like those were really unreal.
Did he offer you any advice?
No, he didn’t, but we did talk a lot about his songs. For me personally, it was more about watching him and how he was interacting with the fans. I love watching artists interacting with their supporters, especially people like Craig David, who have such a loyal fan base.
So the last time we met was before the release of your debut single On My Way, which as we know peaked at No. 7 in the charts. Were you surprised at how well it was received?
Yeah. I think so because it’s not that I didn’t think it was going to do well I just didn’t expect anything. The best thing to do when you’re putting anything out to the world is to do your best, expect nothing and work for everything. I didn’t know what the response was going to be, but when the video came out the reaction on YouTube was great. I have never released anything out on that level before so waking up every morning and seeing it climbing up the charts each day was crazy.
When you’re out and about do strangers serenade you with the lyrics?
I have had a couple of instances where I’ve seen and heard people singing along to the words without knowing that it’s my song. I was in Subway the other day where it came over the radio, and I heard this woman behind me singing every single lyric word-for-word. I turned around looked at her and she just looked back at me. She had no idea that it was my song [laughs]. In the end, I bottled it and didn’t tell her who I was, but hopefully with other things coming up people may start recognising me.
Do you feel compelled to prove you’re more than a one-hit wonder?
I haven’t really thought about it that deep. I mean everyone goes through that phase regardless if you’re a new artist or not. It’s all part of the package – you have one song that does really well and then you have to follow it up. To be honest, there is so much music around these days that even if you have two or three hits, there’s a lot of pressure to have another four or five.
In the video for your latest single Floodgates, you can be seen performing on a beach while belting out some high numbers. What’s the story behind it?
I just wanted to write a song that people could relate to. I think part of the reason On My Way was so successful is because people could connect with it. I really think you can do the same with Floodgates, which is about not being overwhelmed with things and just enjoying the moment instead of thinking too much about stuff that didn’t work out. It’s telling you to let those emotions out and don’t let them overcome you.
Are you a sensitive, romantic, type of guy?
It’s really weird because I do not remember the kind of guy I am in a relationship as I’ve literally been living in the studio. When you’re given an opportunity that I have in doing music full-time it takes up every single piece of your brain. I don’t even remember what kind of guy I am, but for the benefit of people reading this interview and for my reputation [laughs] – I am going to say I am super romantic.
So are you in the P.Diddy lane and looking for a girl to ride, ride, ride?
I haven’t been dating or anything, so yes, I am definitely in the P Diddy lane.
Will your album continue to be as personal judging from your current singles?
Definitely! I have always said throughout this journey that I want to make a brilliant soulful pop record, and I think my current singles have really allowed me to do just that. I am writing from many different experiences and I want the album to express every side of my personality. I really think these two songs have been the perfect introduction to who I am.
What do you do as a singer to make yourself better? Do you take lessons?
I don’t but I would like to because this is the first time that I have been performing so regularly. When I was a writer before the only performances I did were at small industry events, but now that I am performing literally everyday, I really would still like to get some lessons and learn how to look after my voice.
As of lately, you’ve been an advocate of big muscles. What’s your workout regimen?
I have actually just teamed up with a fitness company that approached me to collaborate with them on a project. They have given me a new routine, eating plan, and a trainer. I’m training five to six times a week and I’m really trying to get into shape and be an inspiration to other people.
Do you have any end of world confessions?
[collapses into fits of giggles] The only confession I have to make is to my new trainer about some stuff I ate yesterday, which were almost certainly not part of my new fitness plan.
Floodgates is released on July 21st and will be followed by ‘Thinking About You’ featuring Nathan Retro on August 11th.Tagged in: Charlie Brown, Craig David, Jay Sean, The Script, wiley
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