It's My Life PBS Kids Go!
Meet tween guitarist-singer-songwriter Charlie Dane

By It's My Life on January 24, 2011 3:03 PM | No TrackBacks

charlie_dane2.jpgCharlie Dane is a 12-year-old 7th grader from Oyster Bay, New York. Oh, and she's also an accomplished singer and guitarist who spends her free time writing original songs, playing live concerts, and working on her upcoming album. When we first heard Charlie sing, we were instantly moved by the soulful quality of her music. She doesn't sound like your typical tween pop star. She has an old-school style and confidence that make you forget (or amazed that) she's a middle schooler, and sings about things everyone can relate to.

It's downright cool to see someone passionate about what they do, no matter what their age. We thought IML'ers would enjoy learning more about this artist-to-watch and recently chatted with Charlie about her music and her life. 

IML: Tell us a little bit about how you first started performing music. How did you discover  the guitar and singing?

Charlie: I don't know why I wanted to start playing the guitar. One day when I was 5 years old, I just randomly asked my mom if I could start playing and take lessons. It got kind of boring just playing guitar and not being able to sing, so I tried singing and playing at the same time, and I really liked it. Since my voice was very small and I was kind of shy, I started taking voice lessons along with the guitar lessons.  

IML: How often do you practice?

Charlie: I practice every day. It depends on what upcoming shows I have and what I need to work on, or if there's a song I need to learn. I'll usually practice a half hour or an hour, something like that.

IML: What is it about the guitar in particular that you like as an instrument?

charlie_dane3.jpgCharlie: Usually beginners start with the piano because it's easier and it's all laid out for you, but I like the guitar because it's challenging. It's not what everybody else is playing. I think it's really fun!

IML: Where do you get ideas for your songs?

Charlie: It's usually things that happen around me. I pay close attention to specific things, things that people say, and sometimes when people say something really cool I make it into a song idea or a title for a song.

IML: So once you get a song idea, what do you do next?

Charlie: I think about it, see if it would be a good thing to write about as a song. Then I write it down on my phone in the notes section, and when I practice on the guitar I try writing a verse. I'll figure out some chords that I think sound pretty. Or when I jot it down I think about melodies I would possibly make with the song.

IML: Who are your biggest musical influences?

Charlie: I love Taylor Swift, and a lot of people tell me I'm just like her. I also like Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga, and older artists like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, because I'm also influenced by the music my parents listen to.

IML: What do your friends and classmates think of your music?

Charlie: They really like it! They watch my videos on YouTube and think they're cool, and they buy my songs on iTunes.

IML: Do you have any trouble balancing school and your other commitments with your music?

Charlie: Not really, because fortunately most of my shows are on weekends and things are after school.

IML: You play a lot of live shows. What kinds of reactions do you get from audiences?

Charlie: People are like, I love your lyrics, they really touched me. Especially with "Past The Point" which is all about losing people or things that you love, most people are crying and come up to me and tell me about people they've lost in their life. I just get a lot of "OMG, you sound like Taylor Swift" or "You're the next American Idol!" It's really fun.

IML: Is there one favorite performance that stands out in your head?

Charlie: The biggest one that was my favorite was when I sang the national anthem for the New York Islanders hockey team at Nassau Coliseum. It was really cool because I went out on the ice and saw myself on the monitor!

IML: Was that scary?

Charlie: Yup!

IML: Do you get nervous before you go out onstage?

Charlie: I never get nervous, but if it's in front of that many people at the Coliseum, then yeah!

IML: What has music added to your life in general?

Charlie: It's just really fun. It's not what a normal 7th graders life is like, but I like going out and playing live. I used to be really, really shy when I was little, but when I started singing and playing live, and getting up onstage, it became easier and easier. And I've met a lot of really cool people.

IML: Do you feel like you've found what you want to do in life?

Charlie: Pretty much! It would be really cool to be a musical artist. I'd love to have a career like Taylor Swift's.

IML: Well, it sounds like you're on the right track! We can't wait to see what you do next.

Charlie:
Thanks!

You can learn more about Charlie Dane and listen to her music on her website at www.CharlieDane.net. In the meantime, check out the music video for her full-of-great-guitar-riffs song "Dreamland":







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