I am ending today…
by speaking with the Canadian artist Nuela Charles about her fantastic new E.P., Distant Danger. She talks about some of the themes addresses and who she worked on the E.P. with; what she hopes to achieve by the end of the year and which albums are most important to her – she recommends some artists to look out for.
Charles talks about how she got into music and where she is headed on tour; if she is coming to the U.K. at any point; whether she gets time to unwind away from music – the songwriter ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Nuela. How are you? How has your week been?
Hiya. My week has been great so far. I just got back home and unpacked after four weeks on the road!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure thing. My name is Nuela (pronounced new-ella) Charles. I’m an Alt-Soul artist based out of Alberta, Canada and I like to say that I sound like a soundtrack to a James Bond movie.
Can you recall when you made your way into music? Was there a time or artist that influenced that decision?
Music was always in our house growing up. My dad had an old acoustic guitar that he’d play. When I was around fourteen or fifteen, I started teaching myself how to play guitar after feeling inspired by artists like Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch and Fefe Dobson seeing them playing on MTV and Much Music.
Which artists do you draw from most? Do you have particular favourites?
It’s funny, because the music that I listen to leans more to the Alternative/Rock side; artists like Nothing But Thieves, Arctic Monkeys; Reignwolf etc. – so my influences are pretty ranged. But, I’ve always thought Kimbra, Jacob Banks and Lianne La Havas were great and would continually see what they were doing.
Distant Danger is your new E.P. What sort of themes inspired the songs we hear?
This E.P. touches on relationships, but talks about the strength that comes in realizing your own self-worth and standing up for that - like in Troublemaker and Do It Right. Danger is about taking a risk and stepping out of your comfort zone; even if only a little.
Sugar might be one of my favourites because it talks about the worst parts of a relationship, but ultimately asks for the sweeter side. And, after all is said and done, even if your world is crumbling down; you need to get up and March On.
Did you work with different producers and writers on the E.P.? Was it fun putting everything together?
I worked with a few different producers on this project. Do It Right was one of the first songs for this project and was written and produced with the Grammy-nominated producer Rob Kleiner (Andra Day, Ceelo Green and Sia), while I was in Los Angeles. Danger was produced in Vancouver with Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge) and the rest were co-produced by myself and production duo Towers in Edmonton, Canada.
It was fun being able to take the time moulding the songs into what they are now. I definitely pushed and we often went through several versions of most of the songs before we settled on the versions you hear on the record – and they’re better for it.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
The rest of 2018 is going to be a bit quiet as I look toward 2019. I look forward to playing more gigs and festivals in different countries and putting out more music.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
This past March, I was nominated for a 2018 JUNO Award for Contemporary Album of the Year - which is the Canadian version of a Grammy - so that was pretty amazing; being in a category with Michael Bublé is never a bad look. The event itself was amazing and it was my first time rocking a red carpet…although I definitely felt in my element!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
It was the first album I’d heard which made me think ‘You’re allowed to say that?!’ She was so raw and honest and it really resonated with me.
Mariah Carey - Mariah Carey
This album taught me how to sing. Every song is a lesson in vocal control and it gives me life every time I hear it.
And, most recently…
Nothing But Thieves – Broken Machine and Nothing But Thieves
I know, technically, that’s four albums but their albums are some of the few that I can actually get through all the songs and keep on-repeat. It’s just so good - vocally, musically and lyrically. They’re actually saying something that carries weight (and they’re killer live).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would support Beyoncé, any time, day, hour or place. In regards to a rider; I’m pretty easy going. A masseuse would be rad, though.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I tell artists to learn the different parts of the industry so that you know what is expected of people when you hire them to work for you. Be knowledgeable, develop your craft; collaborate and be nice.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Currently working on booking some more shows for the New Year but I have two nights at the Citadel Theatre here in Edmonton in January.
Will you come and play in the U.K. at some point?
I will definitely come back to the U.K. I actually just got back from there where I played my first Sofar Sounds gig. It was amazing!
IN THIS PHOTO: Grace Carter
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not much time to unwind, but Netflix and chill is always a safe bet. Especially, when I’m on the move – the familiarity is comforting. Even if it’s just on in the background while I’m working on the computer.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
I just head the new Lukas Graham song, Not a Damn Thing Changed. There’s so much tension; I love it
Follow Nuela Charles
PHOTOS OF NUELA CHARLES: