My name is Charley Young. I’m an indie synthpop artist based in NYC. I was born in San Diego, California, and grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I’ve always loved music and always knew I wanted to be a singer, but it took me a while to become confident enough to pursue my dreams. About five years ago, I decided it was time to stop being scared and go for it – Whether or not the timing was good, whether or not I was “ready.”
Listen to the song while reading the text.
Some of my earliest memories from childhood involve me singing in the car with my Mom to the Pretenders, Phil Collins, and Ace of Base. I WOULD NOT go to bed unless my parents played my “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” CD. Even visiting my maternal grandparents’ home involved my grandfather playing folk songs on his acoustic guitar while I sang along. That being said, I wasn’t always confident enough to follow my dreams and faced ostracization and feelings of inadequacy during my journey.
As a child, I was a member of a musical theatre organization that gave me some great professional training and performance opportunities. During my eight years singing with this group, I got to sing in the White House, Austrian Embassy, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, to name a few places. However, my experience with the other kids and teens was not always positive. There were always a few people in this organization, adults and kids/teens alike that were clique-y and quickly judged you as being “worthy” or not.
Not Fitting In
As you can probably guess from my blog post title, I didn’t fit in. I didn’t kiss anyone’s butt, I hated listening to musicals like the “golden children,” and my aesthetic didn’t match that which was looked for, especially since at that time I was suffering from anorexia and depression due to my grandfather’s unexpected death.
It wasn’t until my final year in the organization when a guest choreographer from Tokyo Disney, who had also worked with Britney Spears, came and put me center stage did anyone else notice my talent. By then, I was so disgusted with the adults and children in the organization that I was ready to move on.
In college, I took voice lessons and only sang at home swim meets (I was on the collegiate swim team at Vassar). Even then, I was too scared to ever sing the national anthem solo. I always sang with another teammate. I always got compliments, but I still remember one time when one of my teammates made sure to tell me that, “You changed key midway through the song.” “Thanks,” I thought. It reminded me of a time when I was younger when one of my choir mates turned around and told me I was sharp as we were learning a new song. He had made sure to tell the choir director as well. Safe to say, these two comments stuck with me and made me insecure.
After college, I went to LA, where I met one of my best friends to this day, Greg Vincent, an RIAA multiplatinum steel guitarist for the rock band CAKE. He, along with my wonderful voice coach, Bruce Eckstut, helped me develop my voice and rebuild my confidence. A chance encounter with Michael Bolton, while there, also helped me become more empowered to follow my dreams (He and I still stay in contact).
Finding My Voice
I came to NYC and finally decided to go after what I wanted: music. I started out with cabaret shows, which then led me to working on my own music with the producer of those shows. I met songwriter and producer Russ DeSalvo through a songwriting workshop hosted by the cabaret producer and with him recorded some great new songs from some hard-hitting professional songwriters, including my newest songs, “Hold the Moon (Retro Mix)” and “Hold the Moon.”
With Russ and Jimmy Greco, a Grammy-nominated producer, I have been able to find my voice and embrace my individuality. They have encouraged me to return to my love of ’80s music that I grew up singing with my Mom; we have even worked to include that big influence into my music, logo, and more. Depeche Mode is definitely one of my biggest influences, and I was lucky enough to meet Dave Gahan last fall in the grocery store (He was super nice. He shook my hand, introduced himself by his real name, and even asked my name. I still have the date that happened on my desk.)
Believing In Myself
Needless to say, I no longer let words from the past hurt me. Are there people I grew up with who still don’t support me? I’m sure. But unlike before, I don’t care. I’m working with people who believe in me, and more importantly, I believe in myself. I know who I am, what I want to communicate in my music, and what sounds I want to explore. My biggest influences don’t try to fit in and aren’t afraid to be different. Debbie Harry, Chrissy Hynde, Gwen Stefani, New Order, and Depeche Mode were and are themselves and don’t apologize.
I no longer want to apologize. I don’t want to fit in anymore. I am now proud to be the odd woman out because I am no longer afraid of myself or my potential.
Charley Young, Category: Artist, Singles: Hold the Moon, Hold the Moon (Retro Mix), Bizarre Love Triangle, Greedy (Jimmy Greco Remix), Greedy, Top Tracks: Hold the Moon, Hold the Moon (Retro Mix), Bizarre Love Triangle, Phoenix Rising, Greedy (Jimmy Greco Remix), Biography: Charley Young was born in San Diego, California and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida.