Artist: Charlie Marie
Hometown: Burrillville, Rhode Island
Latest Album: Ramble On
Personal Nicknames: Charlie
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
Patsy Cline was the first country artist I ever listened to. My grandmother can be very critical of singers, but she was in love with Patsy. I would listen to her CD over and over again. I got a Patsy Cline songbook, so I could learn her songs at my vocal lessons. What Patsy taught me was to sing with your soul. Hardship is inevitable in life, but when you feel the stories that you tell you can process that pain. When you feel the hurt in your voice and hold it, then let it go, it can set you free for a moment.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
It was one of my first live performances. I was around 10 years old. My vocal coach, John Cottone, put on a show for his students’ friends and family. It took place at the Caruso Club in Lincoln, Rhode Island. I was really nervous, but once I got onstage the anxiety settled. I sang “Crazy” and “Walking After Midnight” by Patsy Cline while using a bar stool as a prop. I had this little skit that went along with the songs. I rehearsed it for days in my grandmother’s living room. When I finished everyone clapped and cheered. I felt a rush of joy exiting the spotlight and found my grandmother waiting for me near the students’ dressing room. She helped me change out of my show clothes and I told her how I wanted to be a country singer.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
Luckily the fear and anxiety that come up around certain music events force me to meditate. Before a “big” show or before a studio day, meditating is what helps me put my head on straight. It helps me see the big picture and recognize what’s going on inside my mind and body. A few years ago I found Tara Brach on YouTube and have been visiting her website weekly ever since. On her site, she has hundreds of free meditations and “talks” for people to use. I highly recommend giving one of her meditations a whirl.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
My favorite place to write songs is rested on the grass. I spend most of my time with the earth and air. During the summer I deeply enjoy being with the ocean. Luckily I live in a secluded area surrounded by woods. When I’m sitting on the front steps and the sun is shining down, all I want to do is write a song. Being in the elements inspires me. It is the place I feel safest and where creativity flows.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
My ideal pairing would be Frank Sinatra alongside a plate of Chicken Sorrento and homemade pasta from Pat’s Italian Restaurant in Johnston, Rhode Island. Local Italian restaurants always play him in the background. Every time I experience the combination I feel young again. Everyone is together and we are all having fun.
Photo credit: Owen Filion