Maxim Meyer-Horn

16 Jun 2020

Interview: Belgian Artist Charles Talks Her Debut Single, Upcoming EP and More

Are you looking for an upcoming artist to obsess over? It’s your lucky day because we’re introducing you to the Belgian singer Charles. A year after participating in The Voice Belgium, the 19-year-old singer amazed us with her fantastic debut single “Wasted Time”, which is just a slight glimpse of her incredible talent. Between finishing her first EP, Charles took some time to talk about her music, racism, and her fascination for rock music.

Your first single “Wasted Time” is becoming a real hit and is the most played song on several radio stations. How did you experience these last few weeks?

It’s really weird because I didn’t expect that it would turn out like this. But, of course, it’s amazing to see that something we’ve worked so hard on is doing great and that people start to pick the song up.

The music video of “Wasted Time” is very atmospheric. What’s the deeper meaning of the video?

The song is about me going out and realizing that I shouldn’t be there because I’m bored and don’t feel well. The video is a representation of me feeling lonely between all the people that are there, which we tried to visualize with all these transparent clothes around me.

Do you often feel lonely or transparent when you go out?

I didn’t always have a lot of self-confidence and it sometimes stressed me out to go out with all my friends because I felt that they were cooler than me. So it’s definitely a feeling I know.

It doesn’t happen a lot that talent show winners become extremely successful. Did you expect your success to turn out so well?

I was a bit scared that people would forget me because it took me a year after I won The Voice to release the single. I just knew that I wanted to work hard and that music is the thing I wanted to do, so I’m proud that it’s working out quite well. It’s very nice to see that the song is, for example, the most played song on a big Belgian radio station and that people seem to enjoy it.

You’ve often performed alternative rock songs at The Voice. Where does your fascination for bands like The Strokes or Arctic Monkeys come from?

It comes from myself because my parents don’t really listen to music. When I was around 11 years old, a friend introduced me to Nirvana, and I immediately loved it. I started listening to a lot of bands and discovered my love for rock.

You ended school last year and are focussing on music now. Do you feel any pressure because you want to make it work?

Yes, a little bit because I don’t want to disappoint my parents who truly believe in me and let me pursue my way. Usually, people of my age are studying so I want to make them proud of my music. My parents know that it’s hard but also know that I’m surrounded by very talented people that put a lot of effort into this project. I’m putting a bit of pressure on myself, but I shouldn’t because I’m supported by the people I love.

You decided to make music under the alias Charles, which is a very historical and traditional name. Why did you decide to call yourself Charles?

It’s an ode to my granddad, who sadly passed away three years ago. He’s the first person in my close environment that I lost, so it had a big impact on me. I really wanted to honor him by naming myself Charles.

How does he inspire you in your songwriting?

For example, I wrote a song about his death and cancer because it affected me a lot. My granddad’s favorite song was “Can’t Help Falling in love” by Elvis Presley, and he loved it when I sang it. So that song reminds me of him.

You’re part of this new generation of artists that speaks up about important topics. What do you want to contribute as an artist to our society?

I like to pass around themes that are very important to me. In one of the new songs I am writing, I’m singing about domestic violence. It’s just so important to talk about these topics because you have a platform and influence on other people. As a young artist, I need to engage with everything that’s going on in the world right now.

Many artists sing about love and heartbreak. What are the themes you write about?

It’s about very different topics like, for example, domestic violence, losing a loved one, or things like racism that occupy our society. I just try to write about things that I feel connected to and make me feel a certain way.

You were at the Black Lives Matter march in Brussels. Why was it important for you to be there?

I just don’t understand why people discriminate others based on skin color. I really want this to change because I don’t think it’s normal that people behave like this. Every human being should have equal rights and be able to live freely. I want to fight for that because change has to happen.

Do you think that you can translate your frustration about it into a song?

Yes, absolutely! I already have something in mind… (laughs)

Your first EP is almost ready. What’s the vibe of the project?

I think the vibe of the whole EP will be similar to the one of “Wasted Time”.  There’ll be some songs on it that will be a bit more rock-inspired or melancholic. Globally, I would state that the stories of the songs are quite sad but with a certain power to it.

Can you already share some details about your second single?

Well, it’s an up-tempo song, and I usually don’t do up-tempo songs, so that’s already amazing. In the song, I’m talking about something completely different, and the energy is completely new for me. I made the song with the same team of “Wasted Time”, so the vibe is maybe a little bit the same. But I do think it’s a good contrast to my first release.

Do you always write with the same team or does it vary?

I work a lot with Wouter Hardy and Nina Sampermans, and we get along very well. But I also work with other songwriters and producers to explore more sounds and different styles of songwriting. I haven’t written songs before, so I need a little help to start a song. It’s very interesting for me as an upcoming artist to engage with different people in a songwriting process, but I have to admit that Nina and Wouter are definitely amongst my favorite people to collaborate with.

What’s your starting point when working on a song?

Sometimes, I just go to the studio with an idea in my head and I simply work with others on it. Other times, we just start from scratch and think about things that impact us. It’s always a little bit different.

What are the next steps you’re going to take?

At the moment, I’m focusing on finishing the EP. I work on it every day. I want to get it out soon, do some great promo, and also play concerts. If everything goes right, we’re able to play some little shows very soon and I’m really looking forward to that. For upcoming artists like me, these intimate shows will be a great way to learn and help me develop a great stage presence. I’m looking forward to introducing myself to an audience and make these experiences because I haven’t done real shows yet.

Photos by Robin Joris Dullers for Enfnts Terribles
Styling by Enfnts Terribles
Makeup by Ana Japson

Paige Bea: “The EP Is Broadly About Escaping a Version of Yourself” Once upon a time, Paige Bea was an opera singer, but these days she opts for a different sound. The…
The 10 Best Releases of the Week Christmas is just one month away, which usually means that many artists want to release their last songs to end…
8 Albums You Should Listen to Before Your Spotify Wrapped Drops We all know that feeling: Spotify Wrapped is coming up, and you don’t dare to share that you only listened…
Tristan: “’Wellif’ Is About the Schizophrenia of All Kinds of Relationships Where You Have So Many Different Personalities” It is a drizzly day in Antwerp when we meet up with Belgian Isolde Van den Bulcke for coffee. The last…

Subscribe here for free pizza*

(*Pizza might actually be our newsletter)

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.