#RDMusicFriday: An Interview with Chartel

I’m Nadia, one of the co-founders of Royal Dynamite. Today I was able to interview the lovely Chartel! She is a singer and songwriter, currently residing in Philadelphia that I went to Suitland High School with. (Go Rams!) With your help, she will have the opportunity to record and distribute her own music for the first time ever, in the history of all histories. Check out the interview below:

singer chartelQuestion: When did you first start singing?

Chartel: My mom says that as a toddler she’d put me on the phone with family members to sing songs from church. I really don’t remember when I started singing, but I don’t recall a time I wasn’t.

Question: Who are your musical inspirations?

Chartel: My musical inspirations are vast and change with time. I am equally as inspired by listening to Jessye Norman and Renee Fleming as I am by Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder and artists like Joni Mitchell or Roberta Flack.

Question: What kind of music do you listen to today?

Chartel: The shorter answer is to address what I don’t listen to. I’m not into heavy metal because I feel overwhelmed by the soundscape and in general, I don’t care for that type of use of the voice. And habitually, I don’t really listen to much country music. I don’t think I have a prejudice against it…I just don’t. I wasn’t allowed to listen to much non-sacred music when I was growing up so maybe I make up for it now by listening to anything I can get my hands on. And I’m a really big fan of singer-songwriters, indie and lesser-known artists.

Question: What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?

Chartel: My own! I record a billion creepy little song ideas and whisper incoherent things into my phone. They usually get imported into iTunes and then embarrass me by only seeming to play when I’m with friends in the car and we’re shuffling through the regular iTunes catalog.

Question: Where would you most like to perform?

Chartel: Right now, I’d like to perform somewhere in London or the UK in general. I’m so into many of the artists on the scene there right now and I really want to see Europe.

Question: Who would you most like to open for? 

Chartel: I haven’t really thought about that. Maybe Maxwell so I that could listen to him live afterward or Laura Mvula! She’s amazing!

make up your mindQuestion: If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?

Chartel: I’d love to sing more opera and classical music. It’s not foreign to me because of my academic background, but I truly miss it.

Question: I enjoy music the most when____

Chartel: I enjoy music the most when I hear lyrics that relate to my personal experiences. I feel that I’m somehow connected to humanity when another artist articulates a feeling related to my own through his or her offering.

Question: What have you learned about yourself in making this album and writing songs? 

Chartel: The EP isn’t done yet but I’m working on the songs for it and just writing in general, I have learned to be okay with what I think and feel. What I think and feel do not have to be pretty-just real.

Question: What has love taught you? chartel on stage

Chartel: Love has shown me my own humanity and that of others. We’re all just trying to get what we want and need on our journey. We ascribe the virtues of love to imperfect people and relationships and then blame “love” for any bad outcomes. Love is. It never ceases. We mess up, make mistakes, hurt others and get hurt. Still love remains and is always available if we’re willing to take the risk.

Question: What is something you want your fans to know about the new Album?

Chartel: It’s honest. It comes from my heart and is limited to my perspective within a given time.

Question: Tell us more about the campaign and how fans can support:

Chartel: I am embarking upon the “Make Up Your Mind To Love” Campaign to fund my first studio project. The lyrics of my similarly titled song are informed by my personal experiences and those of the people around me. I am excited for an opportunity to allow these lyrics to continue to live and breathe through the melodies on which they have been written. This is a journey against my own fears about releasing music that might be sung a bit different than the current mainstream. It is a leap of faith, toward my greatest dreams and aspirations. With the platform I plan to achieve, I intend to promote music education and encourage youth to run for their dreams with reckless abandon.

Fans can join the movement! Donate in any amount on the link below! Click the link to view our recent blog: How to Become a Pop Culture Icon or check back for more on social good, charitable graphic t’s and the latest in fashion.

Follow Chartel with:
Facebook and Twitter: ChartelOnline
Instagram: @Chartel

Interview conducted by RD Co-founder, Nadia Marie (@iamNadiaMarie)