Charlene Kaye
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Charlene Kaye

New York City, New York, United States | MAJOR

New York City, New York, United States | MAJOR
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The New Yorker"

“The singer-songwriter Charlene Kaye had an impressive début in 2008 with the richly orchestrated pop album “Things I Will Need in the Past.” To fund her second release, “Animal Love,” the punky songstress (who is as fluent in classical piano as she is in glam rock) launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised more than thirty thousand dollars from fans.” - The New Yorker

"Charlene Kaye gets Grecian in "Human" music video premiere"

“Singer-songwriter Charlene Kaye, who just raised more than $30,000 via the social project funding site Kickstarter to complete her next album — with more than $20,000 dollars raised in the first 5 days alone — recently released “Human” as her newest single and turned to a trusted source to create the music video, her sister Liann…” - The Huffington Post

"Charlene Kaye review at Roseland Ballroom"

“The crowd erupted as Kaye continued playing her 45-minute set, a loud and buoyant assortment of songs that showcased her powerful voice and magnetic stage presence.” - VH1

"Charlene Kaye's Animal Love"

“Animal Love is a tour de force of Kaye’s songwriting talents and her voice. In a world with overblown American Idol nonsense Charlene Kaye could very well be America’s Best Kept Secret.” - The POP! Stereo

"Charlene Kaye: Animal Love"

“When I first heard Charlene Kaye, for the first time I heard the sound of a pop musician whose music’s excellence matches her theatrical personality. Kaye excels in a diverse brand of pop; throughout Animal Love, she goes from radio-friendly fare to a capella to blues, all without sounding like she’s forcing it.” - Popmatters

"Charlene on Acoustic Cafe"

After mesmerizing audiences statewide for over a year, Michigan-based singer-songwriter Charlene Kaye has been selected for Acoustic Cafe's Artist to Watch for November 2008! She has been gaining steam in the Ann Arbor/Detroit areas with her stunning debut album "Things I Will Need in the Past." - Acoustic Cafe

"Charlene Kaye carries the torch"

"Like a 21st Century Joni Mitchell, her strength of identity as a singer/songwriter frees her to skate across genres with wild abandon - mixing seemingly incompatible elements into a heady cocktail of hummable melodies over layers of great compositional depth. Simultaneously timeless and ultimately now, her freakishly eclectic approach seems destined to position her as a musician's musician and a songwriter's songwriter. Remaining so resolutely outside of fad or fashion invokes nothing but respect, and a sense that here is an artist whose work you will return to for years to come."
-Craig Donarski
- The Raven, Australian local music magazine

"Charlene Kaye: Metro Times review"


The cover art on Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Charlene Kaye's debut album complements perfectly the sound of the album. It sees the writer's hands melting into thickening, winding vines on which the occasional flower or clock is suspended. The black pencil outline symbolizes the humbling, work-in-progress feel of a collection that might otherwise have been too cerebral in the hands of a lesser songwriter.

Things I Will Need in the Past — a full-fledged rumination on the nature of time and love — is alternately mournful and light. That's true from the opener, "Andromeda," and its dimming and brightening acoustic guitar, tambourine, strings and twinkling bells, and the lyrics that imagine sunrise and dark times in almost the same breath. "All the Life Around" — aired on a recent Acoustic Cafe radio show after Kaye was chosen as that month's "Artist to Watch" — begins with a simple string and horn intro before the song (about the various seasons) is punctuated with horn and piano staccato blasts, backed by hand-claps and proclamations of "hallelujah." It's all very reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens, whose orchestral arrangements Kaye counts as a major influence.

And it's a very important influence on the album's complex blend of sounds. Each track builds from an acoustic guitar and piano backbone before a dozen or more musicians layer the songs with dobros, congas, flugelhorns, glockenspiels, Wurlitzers, electric bass, strings and multi-vocals. It successfully reflects Kaye's own mixed musical heritage. Trained in classical piano since childhood, she was later inspired by punk rock and the late Elliot Smith, which eventually led to her picking up a guitar.

"Skin and Bones," a sweet pop-rock song about long-distance love, employs San Francisco native Darren Criss in a soulful duet with the Hawaii-born, Arizona-raised Kaye. And "Bonnie Parker," one of the album's more pensive moments, uses a dark guitar to tell the story of the legendary lawless lovers, Bonnie & Clyde. Despite the album's moody eclecticism, its dynamic moods and contrasting tempos are grounded by consistency, the depth of personal reflection and Kaye's personality.

So the album's ultimately best described as a balancing act of sound. The songs don't allow the listener to rest too long in either the saucy or wistful, the warm or the cold. One moment, the music's danceable, the next perfect for reminiscing. In fact, by the end of a dense song such as "Magnolia Wine," the listener has been tossed about. And it's just that kind of rhythm of change that keeps the savvy listener suspended, waiting, excited. —Cherri Buijk

Charlene Kaye plays Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Blind Pig, 208 S 1st St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555. With Alex Brumel & Janel Elizabeth and Darren Criss. Go to more info. - Detroit Metro Times

"Charlene Kaye - Real Detroit review"

The more I listen to Charlene Kaye’s debut album, the more I think she won’t be staying in Ann Arbor much longer. I don’t mean that in the sense that the 22-year-old classically trained musician will be graduating from the University of Michigan soon, I mean it in the dreamier, grandiose, launch-into-the-big-time sense. I can’t see anyone not enjoying Things I Will Need in the Past — the LP is a sweeping narrative of sunny grooves and meditative sways that details a youthful but wary reflection on the wrenching intricacies of relationships, refracted through preconceptions of time. It's mystic, absurd and elastic.

Things is filled with soothing, singer/songwriter, Sunday-blues balladry, meticulously laid down by the multi-instrumentalist in between classes. She's joined by numerous talented collaborators, all splendidly produced with the integral Jim Roll. Take the heady, theatric dressing-ups of Rufus Wainwright’s baroque-pop, the sly, swing-able, indie-jazz of Feist with Kaye’s own earnest folk-punch and you find her blend of classical poignancy with pop’s whimsy. Kaye plays the Blind Pig on January 15. More - Real Detroit

"Charlene Kaye: Things I Will Need in the Past"

If Ann Arbor doesn’t become the next Brooklyn I’d be surprised. Whilst researching another band from Ann Arbor (who I hope to have for you tomorrow) I came across the new record from Charlene Kaye. The new record is called Things I Will Need In The Past and is as eclectic as her geographic identity (Honolulu, Phoenix and Ann Arbor). On the song “Skin And Bones” she impossibly mixes symphonic pop, with operatic folk and piano rock (a la Tori Amos).

If the whole record is like this (and I’m told it is) it should be one fine listen. PR flaks are always telling me that such and such are a “force to be reckoned with”. It’s an immediate turnoff but in this case it’s probably an apt description of Charlene Kaye. Buy the new record here through Cd Baby. -


Animal Love (2012)
Charlene Kaye & the Brilliant Eyes EP (2010)
Things I Will Need in the Past (2008)



It's been all systems go for Hawaii-born, New York-based Charlene Kaye since releasing her sophomore album "Animal Love," which reached #15 on the iTunes pop charts upon its release this May. In addition to touring relentlessly and playing CMJ and SXSW festivals, the ambitious musician/performer has earned enthusiastic reviews from PopMatters, VH1, Huffington Post, NPR, The Atlantic, the NY Deli, the Village Voice and more for her commanding voice, deft guitar playing and electrifying live shows. She has over a million views on her YouTube channel and has shared a bill with the likes of Big Boi, Minus the Bear and Holly Miranda. This past November and again in May, she went on two national tours supporting musical theater/internet sensation Team StarKid, gaining her thousands of new fans. Her single "Dress and Tie" featuring good friend Darren Criss of Glee was featured in a promo for NBC's Chuck, had extensive play on radio stations nationwide, and was selected as official boarding music for Delta Airlines.

With a sound that fuses the pop songcraft of of Robyn and Niki and the Dove, the grittiness of Joan Jett, and the sentimentality of Rufus Wainwright, Charlene Kaye is a force whose music is at once classic and contemporary, of the times yet unmistakably timeless. With a rapidly growing fan base and more touring on the horizon, Kaye shows no signs of slowing down, picking up steam even before she leaves the ground.