Canadian Folk Pop singer-songwriter Oliver Charles recently talked to ai love music about his new single “Let Go of My Ghosts” as well as his inspiration and musical journeys. Continue to read to find out what real-life experiences inspired Oliver Charles to write this song? Also, how did he create this song? Find out below!
Check out Oliver Charles’ latest single down below and let me know what you think in the comments!
First of all, can you introduce yourself? What got you into music?
Hi, my name is Oliver Charles, I am a Montreal-based singer-songwriter and have been working on developing my singing and writing abilities over the past several years. I have been in the studio for the past 2-3 years with The Grand Brothers, who produced my first full-length album, which is getting released this year. I knew I wanted to pursue a music career when I was 15 years old. I used to play with those toy-type keyboards that lit up red when you played with the keys.
My dad used to sing and play guitar to some Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Cat Stevens and I just knew I had to write my own music. I wasn’t very good at first; actually, I wasn’t good for a while. I’m now 31 years old, I’ve released a few singles that did reasonably well on Spotify and YouTube (cumulated over 1M streams) and I still feel like I’m just getting started.
What musical genres and/or artists influence you?
When I grew up, I was fascinated by a lot of different artists, but often around folk and pop. I liked what my dad listened to, but I quickly got attracted to so many more genres. I really went into admiration for Rufus Wainwright’s songwriting skills and Josh Groban’s voice. I always admired Eminem, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran… there are just too many to list. This debut album is influenced by artists who brought me insight on how to blend thought-out lyrics, often about romance or personal struggles, with pop hooks and arrangements that are more acoustic, traditional, and vintage.
You have been writing and playing music for a long time now. How have you grown as a musician and songwriter?
I always wanted to write the music first and, because I used to be shy, sing second. I took singing lessons and joined a music class late in high school. To further develop my music language, I studied in college for a pop songwriting degree at Cegep Marie-Victorin in Montreal. This helped me with learning theory, arrangements, singing, playing the piano and the guitar, producing in the studio, writing, and getting familiar with performing on stage. I was a bit too shy on stage, so I auditioned and got offered leading roles in a few musicals in school, Segal Centre’s Performing Arts, and Centaur Theatre.
I wasn’t interested in going to university, nor did I want to continue acting in musicals. I always stayed true to wanting to become a singer-songwriter. So, once I graduated in 2011, I felt I needed to learn as an entrepreneur. I created a label, Inclusion Music Productions, with my father and literally spent the next decade learning about the industry, going to conferences, working with producers and teachers to bring my music to what it is today. It was an independent approach, it was extremely hard and I’m 100% sure it was the right way of doing it. I hope listeners can hear that commitment in this album.
Let’s talk about your latest single “Let Go of My Ghosts”. What is it about?
I was living alone and was going through a breakup. A lot from that relationship was weighing on my shoulders and, like most of my songs in this first album; I sort of documented my experience and wrote a song about it, typically with my guitar in my living room.
To help me get out of my pyjamas, my best friend invited me to a party where he insisted I’d meet this girl with who he thought I’d get along. He was right; we automatically connected. The problem was, I still felt the weight from my past relationship and felt like those demons were keeping me from moving on and finding peace and happiness with this new person. I really needed to move on. That moment and time are what inspired “Let Go My Ghosts”.
What inspired you to write the song?
I always try to stay genuine when I write a song. I believe that if something is bothering me or something I’m going through is occupying my mind in a significant way; then it must be an important lesson. Writing a song about it is my way to learn and go through it. Trying to connect with people who might also be going through a similar experience is my purpose. It’s not always a perfect thing, it’s quite fragile and odd to try and be inspired by something that matters to you, hope it serves others, and then hope you’ll be understood.
Nonetheless, that’s my songwriting process. If it matters to me and feels like it’s influencing who I’m becoming as a person then it’s most likely worth writing a song about it. Letting go of your demons and your baggage is fundamental if you want to mend your broken heart and fall in love again.
How was it producing the song? How did the song writing process go?
I typically write my songs writing lyrics on my computer and playing an instrument. It can either be with my guitar, which is the case for “Let Go Of My Ghosts”, but I also use my piano. Once I’m confident about lyrics, chords, and overall music, I record and produce a demo at home. For a long time, recording and producing was my weakest point, but I always adored it and it came in handy when came the time to present my unfinished productions to other people.
Once I had my demo for this song, I sent it to The Grand Brothers and was hoping they would be interested in producing it professionally. They accepted and I learned so much thanks to them. It’s a privilege for me to hear this final production. It was quite an adventure. So many talented musicians are on this record.
What is the center point of the song? Is it a certain melody, instrumentation, lyrics, vocals, or something else? And why?
I learned a new way to play guitar through “Let Go Of My Ghosts”. I tried to replicate my feelings by finding a melody on the guitar that would be beautiful, but also busy and distracting. It’s the way I felt about my baggage and how it was constantly distracting me from dating this new person. So the melody on the guitar is what came first. It was hard to find a vocal melody that could marry such a simple, yet busy riff. The verses came after, I tried letting the first few notes on my guitar tell its story before starting my sentence. This created a conversation between my guitar and my voice, which I found interesting.
Over time, Dominic Grand replaced the guitar in the verses for a similarly busy bass riff, which I thought was daring and I loved it. The song absolutely needed a post-chorus that would be simple and easy to listen to. It combines the original guitar riff, the new bass, a soothing vocal melody, and lyrics that automatically make you understand what it’s all about.
What do you want listeners to take away from listening to your music?
Being true and transparent about your feelings is rewarding and brave. Especially as a man, there is space for sensitivity and vulnerability. I also hope they will see that folk-pop music still has its purpose in this modern era. Romance is underrated.
What are your future plans?
I am constantly working on making my dreams come true, so my future is full of music, that’s for sure. I will most definitely be co-writing and producing much more than I have ever been before. I feel like I am becoming more creative every day and will put effort into releasing a lot more songs than I have been in the past. On a personal note, I plan on working on myself and try to lower my expectations in life in hopes to manage anxiety and other general struggles. I plan on becoming a better person for myself and for the people I love. I want to continue building a life with the person I love.
Finally, any final words for the readers of ai love music?
Ummm, can I please come and visit???? My dream destination has been Japan for the longest time. I love the culture, I love the food, I love anime and if I had any talent with language (which I don’t) I’d learn Japanese. If there would any love for me in Japan, I would be forever grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope to stay in touch. Speak soon ☺ -xxx-
Make sure to check out Oliver Charles at the following sites: