Celebrating here new record, Pearl Charles is happy taking her time
With retro charm and ‘cosmic energy’ in tow, Pearl Charles is the queen of old school pop-Americana. Through her eclectic music – mixing a ’60s-inspired backing, complex melodies and a honeysweet voice – the artist invites the listener into a hippy-fuelled daydream, one as enjoyable as it is intoxicating. But, as she sits chatting in her desert getaway, the artist effortlessly proves that this bohemian outlook is not just theme through her music, but simply part of her persona.
“I actually moved from L.A. to the desert and it’s been really nice to get away,” she explains with a smile. “Even though the city’s only two hours away, so I can still get back there, it’s been good to decompress.”
From the start of her career back in 2015, the artist has always conjured a type of nostalgic magic through her music that, according to her, stems from her long history with bands. “I used to be in a group called The Driftwood Singers’ that was country, close harmony duets,” the artist explains. “But then I moved away from that and joined a band that was psychedelic-focused. I learnt a lot from those bands, and definitely drew from them soundwise, but it’s been really fun to take those influences and make them my own.”
Despite the diversity, the singer’s influences don’t just stem from musical experiences, but extend to the Americana landscape more broadly: “My music is absolutely inspired by the desert,” she admits.
“My parents bought this house in Joshua Tree when I was an early teen, and I wasn’t really that into it at first. But when I got older, I realised I could take my friends there, take mushrooms and get weird under the stars! It was then that I realised how cool it was. Soon after, I found out about Gram Parsons, and his history with Joshua Tree, and started really being drawn to old country music. It’s a little hippie-dippy, but I feel there was this cosmic energy that drew me to it, and it really feels like the right type of stuff to be the backdrop to this place.”
You have to continue to strive, and be better, that’s what makes life interesting.
Using her unique mix of sounds, Charles has rung in the new year with her latest album, Magic Mirror, a work that mixes addictive pop melodies and the singer’s notorious country charm with a much more introspective themes of growth and positive self-reflection.
“I feel it mirrors my personal journey,” she grins, speaking of the album’s themes. “As an artist, I want to always be seeking more. Obviously, it’s good to be satisfied with where you’re at, and accept the moment you’re in. But you have to continue to strive, and be better, that’s what makes life interesting.”
The message of self-discovery feels particularly impactful at a time where the world feels at a standstill, and the singer is also determined to champion a message of self-care alongside it: “Take Your Time’ is about looking after yourself throughout that process. It can be so hard to confront your emotions, and it can really take it out of you. So, I think in addition to the message about confronting your issues, I want to tell listeners to take their time! I feel like people are really struggling at the moment, and I know music makes me feel less alone, so I want to offer the same through my music.”
However, despite the sentimental nature of the album, the work still captures a type of excitable spontaneity that Charles blames on the way they were developed. “One of the biggest differences from my previous albums is that I used my touring band as the rhythm section! They know me, they know the songs, and they know the styles I like, they just get me personally. I think that connection is really infused into the record, because they knew what it was,” Charles smiles.
“We also learned those songs on the road, they were really born and raised there. I think getting into the studio to document that was really special, and very different from my last record.”
The carefree energy provides a seamless contrast to the sentimentality of the album’s message and seems to reflect the singer’s open attitude to songwriting. “I don’t have one set way of writing: ideas just come when they come! Sometimes it will all come at once, and sometimes it can come from really random places,” she explains.
I think opening yourself up to all ideas is the best way to execute your craft, really.
“The title of the album came from a dream. It’s all very hippy-dippy, but I went to sleep and asked if the universe could send me a song while I was asleep. When I woke up, I didn’t have a song, but I knew the album had to be called ‘Magic Mirror’. I told my producer, and he told me to write a song based around that. And when I started writing with my friend, she was like, ‘I have an idea for a song about a mirror…’ It was so cosmic! I think opening yourself up to all ideas is the best way to execute your craft really.”
To release an album is already a massive achievement, but the singer’s plans for the new year stretch far beyond the release: “I would love to go on tour, and come to the UK, so that’s definitely a goal,” she states. In contrast, many of her immediate goals seem a lot closer to home – “I’m also gonna work on my music,” she declares.
“There’s no upside to the pandemic, but I’m trying to make the best of it by focusing my time on writing and making music. I probably wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I’d been on the road, so I am grateful to be home.” She says these last words with a glimpse of ambition in her eyes. The singer-songwriter has already turned heads through her updated vintage glamour, but with a seemingly endless determination, and a truly magical outlook, it seems that the whole world lies at her feet.