Wherever You Will Go, featured on the Twinings tea advert in the lead up to Christmas last year. I was so enamoured with this song that I had to delve deeper into her work and was thrilled to find an already impressive repertoire to her name.
It’s interesting that Chalene’s biggest chart hit is purely piano led because she’s an incredibly gifted guitarist, self-taught and having played since the age of five. These influences feature prominently in her EPs and debut album Moonchild. At the age of 23 she is already a veteran of the touring circuit, regularly selling out the Night and Day in Manchester and countless other venues across the country. I was excited to finally get the chance to see her perform at the Royal Northern College of Music and her set didn’t disappoint.
To best describe the sound we have to talk about genre. I’ve encountered lots of musicians over the years but have never met one who liked being pigeon-holed by a label. This is probably because it becomes very constrictive; there’s a sneer if the artists venture beyond the genre that has been bestowed upon them by critics. Music shouldn’t be like that; it’s one of the most expressive and creative art forms so experimentation should be encouraged. Any good artist will want to enrich their own style by taking influences from many genres, therefore overlapping them all.
Here are some more labels for you: With similarities to artists like Katie Melua, Rumer and hitting the high notes as good as Minnie Ripperton, it made me wonder why the RNCM concert hall was only half full for the gig? Setting the ambience for the evening was the opening song When We Were Five, psychedelic in style. Charlene’s prowess with a guitar is almost mesmerising because it is so effortlessly natural to her. She switched to playing the mandolin for the mellow Midsummer Moon in June, baritone guitar for edgier Animal and back again throughout the set. All of which was interspersed with humorous anecdotes, making it a thoroughly enjoyable night.
With many strings to her bow (or should that be guitar?), Charlene Soraia has an impressive back catalogue, dabbling in various styles, that keeps on growing. If you’ve only heard The Calling’s cover song then her musical cannon is definitely worth exploring further. Especially if you like her style of music… whatever it is being labelled as at the moment. Regardless of what genre it is, the music sounds good. That’s the most important thing.