WE shall make this three…
for Canadian artists of the day! I have been chatting with Edmonton-based Nuela Charles about her latest gem, Do It Right. She tells me about her musical growth and upbringing; being influenced by the Soul greets; working with Rob Kleiner on her latest track – and seeing her album, The Grand Hustle, pick up honours and awards.
Charles talks about the way she disconnects from music; if we will see her in the U.K.; what she aims to achieve later this year; some worthy advice for new artists – some new talent worth a bit of our attention and time.
Hi, Nuela. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello! I’m great, thank you! My week has definitely been exciting for sure.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Nuela (new-ella) Charles. I am a singer-songwriter based in Edmonton, Canada - and I like to say that my music could be the soundtrack to a James Bond movie (smiles).
Do It Right is your latest single. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind that song?
Do It Right was written in Los Angeles while I was on a two-week writing trip to London (England) and L.A. We wanted to make something upbeat and catchy and, when we got the title, it kind of just wrote itself after. The title perfectly sums it up: If you’re gonna do it, better do it right! It’s kinda cheeky.
But; I wanted to talk about instances in my life when I’ve had people approach me and totally miss the mark.
You worked with Rob Kleiner on the song. What was it like working with him?
Working with Rob was great.
It was my first time meeting him and I’m so happy we were able to come out of our first session together with an amazing song!
Do It Right has a powerful, soulful sound! It sounds like music stirs passion in you! How important is music in everything you do?
I literally cannot go through a day without music in my life...
If I’m not creating it, I have to be listening to it. I love discovering new sounds and powerful vocals – it’s (just) really inspiring for me.
The Grand Hustle, your sophomore album, was nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for 2018’s JUNO Awards. What was it like receiving that news?
Finding out I was nominated was an amazing feeling! I actually overslept - so I missed the actual announcement in the morning because of the time difference between Toronto and Edmonton. But, a colleague of mine was there and sent me a video clip of the announcement - so it was super-rad!
Does an honour like that change how you approach future music? Are you already thinking of new ideas?
I’m currently wrapping up my next project and the nomination is definitely an added bonus! I think it helps in how people perceive what one does - when you’re associated with something like a JUNO; or a BRIT or a Grammy - but I don’t think it has changed my approach. My goal is always to create something better than the last time.
It seems like the greats of Soul are idols of yours. Which musicians did you grow up around? Were you raised in a musical household?
As a kid, my parents would play classic Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder all the time. As I grew up, it was all about the vocal delivery. Alanis Morissette was a huge one for me in my teens – stylistically different, but vocally super-powerful.
What gigs do you have coming up? Where can we see you play?
I’ll be performing as part of the JUNO Festival in Vancouver in March and then festivals starting in June - mainly in Canada and my first in Seattle, U.S.; all of which haven’t been announced yet - so, I, technically, have to wait to give specifics (smiles).
Do you think you’ll visit the U.K. at all?
That is one of the next steps for me. I love most everything musical that comes out of there and, although I’ve been to London a few times for writing, I haven’t the opportunity to play there yet.
Looking to change that with the new music coming out later this year!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
More music. Definitely more music…and a lot more live shows.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
A few years ago, I was asked to open up for Ziggy Marley in a wonderful seated theatre and it was an amazing experience! We play two totally different styles - but his audience totally took me in and we had a blast!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
The one thing I tell everyone is 'know the business and don’t quit'. Because, once you stop, it’s over…and you’ll always ask yourself ‘what if’. My parents gave me two years to pursue music - and that was nine years ago.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sam Fender
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
When I need a break, I like to watch movies. It still keeps me in a creative space but it’s a different kind of creativity and it takes me, albeit for a brief moment, to another place. When I REALLY need a break, I usually take a trip somewhere.
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).
Ooooo; I like this game. I have to, then say: Tom Misch and De La Soul – It Runs Through Me. It’s all about the music!
Thanks so much!
Follow Nuela Charles