It’s going to be hard for Nuela Charles to top everything that happened in 2018. Not only was she nominated for a JUNO Award for her self-released sophomore album The Grand Hustle, she also closed out the year with the release of her new EP, Distant Danger. However, if her new single “Long Way Down” is any indication, 2019 is sure to be even bigger and better for Nuela.
I got the chance to talk to her about how she first got into making music in the Bahamas as a teenager, why she would describe her music as the soundtrack to a James Bond film, her new single “Long Way Down” and so much more! Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I started making music when I lived in the Bahamas as a teenager. It was during a time when MTV and Much Music played music videos by artists like Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne & Fefe Dobson; killer women playing their own instruments. It was such an inspiration that I literally just thought to myself, “If they can do it, so can I.” So I began teaching myself how to play my dad’s acoustic guitar, and the rest is history.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I spent 5 years of my adolescent life in the Bahamas and during that time, I attended a church youth group where I became very involved with their band. It led to an opportunity to record my first little EP and since then I’ve been hooked on the idea that I can create something out of nothing. It’s magic.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. You classify your sound as alternative/soul, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I like to think that my music could be the soundtrack to a James Bond film. All the emotion and drama and intensity wrapped into one. There’s something there for everyone.
Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
My musical influences tend to come from artists outside of my genre. I’m more of an alt/rock fan, so Arctic Monkeys, Nothing but Thieves, and Sam Fender are my faves right now. But Alanis Morrissette will always be queen. There’s just a lot of great music out there.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Long Way Down”. What’s the story behind this song?
“Long Way Down” is about finding the blessing in having to begin again. No one ever wants to fail or start over, but it’s when you fail that you sometimes learn the most.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into what it was like specifically for this song?
This song came out of a session with Towers production group in Edmonton, AB. It started with that moody chain gang vibe and grew out from there. The lyrics came really quickly and it was felt like I was just telling a story. I like painting pictures with my lyrics, and sometimes when I write, I already have the video in my head for it. So, it’s like I’m always writing a soundtrack to a video.
Do you tend to write by yourself or do you like collaborating with other writers and artists in co-writes?
When I started, it was definitely a solo venture. I really held on tight to those songs, because they felt so personal and vulnerable. As I grew as writer, co-writing became crucial. It opened up a whole new world for me, and I love how it allows me to bounce ideas off of other people and at the end of the day we all just want the best song possible.
Was there any major changes to “Long Way Down” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
As we were writing for my latest project, we would write and produce at the same time. Then I made the point of revisiting each song and making sure that they were 100% the way I wanted. Sometimes that meant stripping them all the way back and trying to create parts that were better than before, and create sounds that really elevate the song. I definitely had the luxury of time, otherwise I’m not sure I would’ve had the same output.
I know you also got to shoot a music video for this song. What was that experience like? Was that your first time shooting a music video?
This was probably one of my favorite shoots. The team at Deluxe Design Group in Calgary (ddg.tv) was fabulous. I shot all of my scenes in 1 day, so it was a long day and I could feel myself fading at around 1am, but they kept me going, and it turned out great! This was my 6th video – which is crazy to think!
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
I’m definitely a tech junkie and am always fascinated by new releases. I used to be an Apple iPhone stan but have been obsessed with the Samsung S9+ since last year. The amount of customization available blew my mind, and it really allowed me to be way more productive when I’m on the road and touring. I don’t think I’ll ever go back, unless there’s some major renovation done to the iOS. I’m such a fan and definitely not sponsored, but everyone I talk to about it, thinks I am [laughs]. I’ve converted a few folks, so I’m pretty proud of that!
Photo Credit: Steven Hope