SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Charlie Straw

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with UK artist Charlie Straw.

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How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

If I’m honest, I don’t remember there being a specific point that I “began”, but I do remember my first gig. It was in Leeds (where I was studying at Uni) at the Cockpit in 2013. So many huge and amazing acts had played that venue whilst they were small and seeing their photos on the wall probably made me think that being a musician could be possible.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Whilst I often hear songs that make me want to rush to my guitar and start writing, I think my motivation comes from a need to write document what I’m going through at any given point. It’s sort of like keeping a diary. Going through my voice notes and listening to all the sketches of songs is probably the best way to find out everything about me.

What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?

“Living is what you do whilst you’re making other plans” from John Lennon’s song ‘Beautiful Boy’ springs to mind here. For a while I had fixed goals that I became obsessed with achieving, and when I didn’t achieve them instantly became really disillusioned. This didn’t seem like a healthy way to go about things. So now I try not to focus on goals and enjoy things as they happen.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

You can expect more music throughout spring and into summer. The plans are starting to form for another London headline show, but nothing is for certain yet!

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Broken Paradise was written for someone very close to me that going through a tough time. I wanted to keep their spirits up and let them know that I’ll be there to supported them no matter how tough it is. It is definitely a song that sonically-informed what my new music sound like. I would describe my music as roadtrip-friendly songs that aim to connect with as many people as possible.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

It can really be anything. Broken Paradise, for example, was born out of a conversation I had with the two people I wrote it with (Kat Eaton & Nick Atkinson). But, quite often it’s sat on the end of my bed late at night where songs seem to bubble to the surface.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

I wouldn’t say any meaning are hidden, but sometimes if I find something too personal or it sounds insincere to speak directly, I will use metaphors and other things to dress up messages.

Success, what is the secret to it?

I hoping it’s never to give up.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Selling out my first ever headline show and getting a standing ovation at the end. I’ll never forget that.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

I think how Nick Mulvey navigates the music industry is very inspiring. He seems really genuine. It’s also hard not to admire what Dirty Hit are doing as a label. Everything they’re putting out is super interesting and (as a graphic designer myself) the artwork is consistently incredible.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Hollow Coves, Matt Corby and Nick Murphy

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

The music industry seems to have shifted so now artist are more incontrol than ever. I can put out music when I think it’s right, work with who I want and write about what I need to. Therefore, I feel pretty good about the industry! It’ll be interesting to see how the new freedom artists have changes the quality/quantity of music over the next 10 years.

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How do you plan on cracking the international market?

Spotify great for reaching other countries. I remember waking up one morning to find a song of mine had gone viral in Turkey, it was very surreal!

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

Recently I’ve been trying to collaborate with more and more people. I’ve found it has really helped the quality of music and maes the process way more fun. In terms of dream musicians, people like Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner (The National) seem to have an amazing approach to collaboration.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans?

I think interacting on a personal level is the best way to go around communicating with fans. Posting on facebook is very one-way. Sending a private message and starting a conversation or speaking after a show is far more powerful that simply liking or re-tweeting.

www.charliestraw.co.uk

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