Meet Charley, a fresh face to Australian pop arriving with her debut single, Hard For Me
Out now through EMI Music Australia, the Sydney-via-Gold Coast musician's debut single heralds the arrival of someone new to Australia's pop world.
Header image by Mitchell McKay.
Australia's pop world grows with brilliant additions on a near-weekly basis, but even despite that, Charley is someone who stands out. The Sydney-based, Gold Coast-raised musician is someone whose arrival - which is out today, but we'll talk about that more in a second - has been a long time in the making; the byproduct of years of songwriting and musicianship that's evolved and developed throughout the years into what it is now. Oh, and yeah, the build-up does pay off - it's quite a moment, and one that demands your attention.
Today, we officially welcome Charley into the Australian pop world with her debut single Hard For Me, arriving today via EMI Music Australia. It's the type of slick, high-tier pop song that sits amongst the world's biggest stars, carrying the same acute level of sheen and confidence as Charley moves above a bright, synth-driven production that elevates her every word. It's the type of single that takes the foundations laid by modern-day pop heavy-hitters - she lists Katy Perry as an inspiration, for example - and builds upon them, evolving the sound forwards into 2021 and beyond.
Produced by Stephen Schmultz in Nashville three years ago now, the song introduces Charley and everything you need to know about her this early on. You get a taste of her sound and the energies and inspirations that fuel them, as well as the intimacy that underlies a lot of her songwriting, and how she brings pockets of her personal life to the forefront through glitzy pop songwriting. She's a welcome addition to Australian pop, and you get the sense that Hard For Me is really just the beginning.
"[Hard For Me has been] a long time coming, and as a Virgo, I am not patient," she says on the single. "In my head, this has always been my debut release. It’s got such a special place in my heart. I’ve had such a vision for every single part of it.
"Me and my boyfriend had kind of just gotten back together again at that point. All of the butterflies were heightened again. I just wanted to write a song about how I felt about him and how it gave me such a rush when I looked at him. Everyone has been there! When you just… melt."
Take a dive into the single and its Mitchell McKay-directed video clip below, and underneath that, introduce yourself to Charley before she dominates the year ahead - there's a lot more to come.
Tell us about yourself?
Hi! I grew up on the Gold Coast and my family has done some sort of music in their life, so I learned to love music from a young age. My dad was in a band his whole life, so I grew up listening to the radio because he was having to learn covers for his band... and that’s where I discovered my love for pop, like Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J, and more! When I was 12, I tried to make a plan for my parents to move to Sydney as I somehow thought it was the place to be if you wanted to succeed in music... They obviously said no…
After I finished school, I saved up enough money and moved to Sydney at 19. I was lucky enough to meet some amazing Australian artists who helped me get started in writing like Cyrus Villaneuva, CXLOE and Seaforth, and those sessions helped me be able to venture across to LA & Nashville!
Early 2020, I signed a record deal with EMI and that was a very significant moment for me - they’re a great team. I’ve been preparing this whole project for nearly 4 years now, and I’m so excited to finally have music out in the world!
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
I’m very pop! I love it. It sounds like Katy Perry crossover with Julia Michaels. I write very personal songs, and am very open about it - it’s sometimes the only way I can process something that’s happened. Whether it’s about love, my anxiety, all the struggles of life, or something to help empower myself, I’ll put my whole self on the table.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I love working with other producers, and mostly another topliner! I’ll always come in and just talk about how I’m feeling or something that I’ve needed to get off my chest, then we just go from there! I’m probably very annoying as a writer as I don’t like moving from one line until I’m absolutely stoked with it. I love collaborating with other people as I can learn so much from them and it’s just funner to write with other people in the room!
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Hard For Me, and its video?
Hard For Me was written with Seaforth and Stephen Schmuldt, on my first trip to Nashville. I was feeling so in love and obsessed with my man that I wanted to write a song about how I was feeling. But I wanted to flip it a bit, and make it a bit more open and quirky! So we came up with the idea of being out in public with your person, and just completely zoning out to the world around you and imagining that they’re lying there naked… It’s like that feeling when you’re first starting to see someone and you are just FRISKY and seeing everything through rose-coloured glasses! It embraces female sexuality and just love in general. I want people to open themselves up to the idea of love, and loving someone unapologetically.
I made the idea for the music video in my second session of writing Hard For Me. Stephen told me to pull up a Pinterest page and get all images that stuck out to me so that he could draw from that when finishing the production! Everything that came to my mind was from the 1950’s to 2000 and features old baby blue top-down cars, retro cinemas, and diners. After lots of back and forth with different production companies last year, I decided to write my own treatment. We pitched it to MyMedia, they loved it and made it come true!
What do you have planned for 2021?
My main plan is to release music this year, and focus on everything around the songs. I also have a YouTube series coming that I’m very excited about. And maybe a trip to the US if Covid decides to end...?
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I just hope people connect with it, and feel some type of break from the world as my music might say things that they can’t fully explain, or give them a feeling or release.
Where can we find more of your music?
I might have some covers on YouTube… but don’t you dare go looking for them.