Charlene Soraia

Charlene Soraia

 London, England, GBR

Charlene is one big talent. With a voice as strong as Adele, but with guitar skills that would put most old pros to shame, she's a breath of fresh air in a somewhat tired genre.


Charlene Soraia

“I was born, I grew up, I’m still here”, chuckles Charlene Soraia in an attempt to avoid interrogation, a simple summary, from a complex young talent. Innately gifted and expertly trained, the extraordinary and emerging musician would probably have you believe that her life is that open and shut. But the fact is she’s got a lot more to talk about, if you can just get it out of her.

Thanks to the ever increasing list of so called ‘talent’ shows beamed into our homes and sites like YouTube making the World a frighteningly small place, we’ve become used to seeing precocious musical youngsters from around the globe on our TV or computer screens. We’re fully aware of that 3 year old drumming prodigy or the Ukulele whiz kid from the distant shores of wherever. But even so, there’s still no doubt that the site of an 8 year old girl taking the stage at an open mic night is always going to turn heads. After picking up a guitar at the age of 5, Charlene had already been preparing for 3 years before that night.

“My dad has always played and I used to sneak in and strum his guitar. After I broke his string a couple of times, he decided to get me one of my own for Christmas. By the end of Christmas day, I’d learned all the open chords”.

Now a veteran of the live circuit and still only 22, Charlene finds herself on the career defining verge of having her debut album released and yet somehow in the unusual position of seeming to not have a care in the World. However, appearances can be deceptive. Underneath the cheery disposition of this talented young lady from Crystal Palace, lies a chasm of worry and self-doubt as complex as her intricate finger picking. But just as there are two sides to every coin, there’s two distinct sides two Charlene’s personality, though she likes to keep the coin spinning and perceptions blurred. “I suffer from Cyclothymia, it’s a less severe form of Bi Polar Disorder” she explains “I’ve always been emotional I think, I didn’t stop crying for the first year of my life”. But it’s not something that gives her songs polar extremes, instead both ends of the spectrum land in the same record, “I got really down writing the album, so I wrote Bi-Polar and made it really upbeat and funny despite that fact I was actually in pieces”. Her ‘disorder’ doesn’t manage to get the better of her when it comes to her song writing, rather than morbidly morose; she knows how to tread the tightrope between light and shade and executes it to exquisite effect.

There’s an undeniable torrent of mood swings in her repertoire, “How I’m feeling at the time effects the song I’m writing but however it comes out is how it stays, I try and capture it all in one go rather than spending ages on it. The lyrics come later so are often effected by a different feeling, No two songs progress the same”. It’s a method that repeatedly results in bitter sweet and contrasting songs like ‘Daffodils’, “It’s harmonically really lovely but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s really sad”.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music” Said Aldous Huxley and when it comes to expressing something that’s difficult to explain, Charlene is a particularly interesting case, adding Synaesthesia to her handful of intriguing idiosyncrasies. And like the aforementioned wordsmith, she writes about the World she sees (but in her case, without the use of mind bending drugs). The little known neurological condition causes the stimulation of one sensory preceptor to result in an involuntary experience in another, in other words a touch or noise could cause her to see a colour. Not only is it instantly captivating but it’s something that has given her a very interesting song writing style, “When I create music, it bring out colours, everything I write has a different hue or timbre”. Possibly best illustrated by her album opener ‘When We Were Five’, which at almost 7 minutes long paints a musical picture of an almost surreal soundscape, constantly evolving amid tempo changes and tonal nuances.

Charlene’s musical development was nurtured by her musician father but his influence was short lived as the personal tastes of her parents left her searching for something else, “I was raised on Bob Dylan but I can’t stand him. It wasn’t until I discovered David Bowie that I knew what I really liked”, a path which would later lead her through the meandering fret board explorations of 70’s Psychedelia and Prog Rock. Citing her guitar playing influences as the likes of King Crimson’s Robert Fripp “My hero” and Adrian Belew, there’s little doubt that she’s always been drawn to experimentation, “I use a lot of Jazz chords but hate jazz vocals” she reflects on her playing style, “I think people are just being lazy when they call me Folk”. Genre tags aside, it’s been about the guitar from day one, from her earliest vocational dream of being a Luthier at the age of 10, down the line to her painstaking reb


Moonchild (Album) - Feb 2012