Charley, please tell us your story! How did you get to where you are today?
Content warning: This article discusses mental health. Please contact Lifeline here if you need assistance.
Hi! I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember… I grew up on the Gold Coast, surrounded by family that loves music and started off doing eisteddfods with my sister, then musicals with my family and at school, then started a band with my cousins, where I first started writing at around 14!
My love for music kept on growing and eventually I moved to Sydney when I was 19 as I knew it was what I wanted to do… I needed to give it a crack and step out of my comfort zone. I was very lucky that my ex lived in Sydney and knew some people around town as he is a music artist as well. So I started doing sessions and met Cyrus Vill (who made Arizona with me) through a mutual friend that styled me on The Voice! Meeting him made me grow artistically so much as we created so much together early on that helped open up so many doors for people to start believing in me.
I saved up as much money as I could and flew myself over to LA, Nashville, New York, Melbourne and have been working my little butt off with the help of some amazingly supportive friends, family and people in the music industry!
After two years of living here, I finally found the most amazing manager in the world, and he helped me get a record deal with EMI. I’m very lucky to be signed with them as they allow so much creative control and support. It’s now been four years of writing and living in Sydney and I’ve released my second single, Arizona!
What does a typical (if that exists) day in the life of Charley look like?
Every day is different for me, thank the LORD. I need constant change, but also a secure home base to come back to, to feel some type of security! I’ll tell you about some of my most loved days. Start off at the gym and try to get through the day not drinking coffee… My stomach can’t handle it. Then I would preferably have a session with some of my close friends and write a song.
I’d probably try to get through one day without making a TikTok but then I’d remember that content never stops and would guilt-trip myself into making one, haha. Then for an introvert night, I would preferably come home and have Guzman y Gomez while watching Nashville and be asleep by 9pm. Or alternatively, I would have a movie night with my closest friends and we would order Guzman y Gomez and watch a scary movie together with a glass or a couple of wines.
What’s your favourite touring/show moment and why?
I’ve only played twice so far live! COVID keeps getting in the way!! But my fave moment would be when I supported CXLOE at Oxford Art Factory.
We performed a 30 minute set with all of my songs acoustically. When we played Hard For Me, most of the room knew the lyrics. When it came up to the part in the song where I usually sing the orgasm breaths, I held the mic out and the whole room did it. I couldn’t stop laughing and made them do it a couple more times. It’s surreal seeing people sing your songs back to you.
What is the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Never rush anything, quality is always what matters the most!
If you could work alongside an Australian artist that you have yet to work with, which artist would that be?
1000000% Troye Sivan… or 5 Seconds Of Summer, I cannot wait for that day.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Honestly, I am just proud of myself and my whole team every time I release a song. We put so much energy and love into each release that when we finally release it, it’s like a whole chunk of me is finally out there and I can move on from that moment in my life while also celebrating it!
What advice would you give someone just starting out in music?
Write as much as possible, for yourself, for others. Do as much as you can and make Pinterest boards! Move to a state that has a lot of music, and just keep going!
What has been the best gig that you’ve ever seen?
Julia Michaels last year. I cried MULTIPLE times.
How do you unwind when you’re stressed?
I find it very difficult to unwind. Usually, I will call a friend or family and will talk through my problems. But sometimes I will just turn off my phone and put a TV show on. My best way to de-stress though is by writing music. It is the most therapeutic and beautiful thing ever.
Who are your role models in the industry, be they international or Australian?
I look up to Julia Michaels so much. She’s so honest and raw. Her taste in music is so simple yet insanely amazing. Also, of course, Ariana Grande, Lennon Stella, Maren Morris, CXLOE & a lot of other female artists.
Who are your top three ‘artists to watch’?
Carla Wehbe! Kirsten Salty! Cyrus Vill! You can call me bias as they’re my friends but you just need to take one listen and they’re pure magic.
You’ve just released your new single, ‘Arizona’, please tell us about it!
I wrote Arizona with Cyrus Vill, Jess Kent, and Rory Adams last year (Robby De Sa did additional prod).
Arizona is all about the motions of an anxiety attack when you’re with your friends and your social anxiety just gets a bit too much. I wanted to show the physical feelings of an anxiety attack in the song like shaking, headaches, not being able to speak, and sweating like it’s so hot – just like how it would feel to stand in an Arizona desert. I wanted to write about my experiences with all of my mental health issues around depression, BPD, social anxiety, etc. and we just pushed it all into one song. We wrote how it honestly feels to have all of these symptoms, but also that you are not defined by any of them and you can rise above those feelings by yourself, or with the help of someone else.
I like to tell myself to snap out of it which is why we wrote “slap me and say that I’m fine” because everything really is fine. It’s all about how you try to look at it and understand it. I always wanted the end of it to feel like an anxiety attack, so I asked Cyrus to channel Charli XCX and he surprised me the next day with the anxiety attack outro which is still the exact same to this day. He is a genius and was somehow able to portray exactly how all of these feelings would sound in a song.
If you could collaborate with any artist from any time, who would it be and why?
If I could go back and collaborate with Elvis Presley, that would be a dream! Also Michael Jackson. So many artists to choose from.
What are your hopes for 2022?
I am hoping to release my next single in early 2022! And then it will be the start of my EP (shhh)! I’m hoping to spend as much time in America as well, and touring around Australia and America.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Eatin’ Pu**y & Kickin’ Ass… Go do yourself a favour and listen to this song on Spotify right now.
Charley’s new single, Arizona, is out now. Check it out above.