When Chloe Charles steps into the spotlight you know that you are about to experience something that is purposeful and profound. Chloe has the poise and beauty of a 1950s cocktail-sipping movie star, the depth and intellectual prowess of a beat poet and the sound of a modern day folk infused soul songstress. Her lyrics are filled with pain, reflection and a keen understanding of what it is to be a human trying to find their place in this world. Accompanied by her delicate classical guitar playing, Chloe's new EP, Little Green Bud, is an intriguing fusion of old, new, sophistication and edge.
She's been compared to everyone from Amy Winehouse, Feist and Bjork to Cat Power, Etta James, Nina Simone and Joanna Newsom, but Chloe always resists nailing down her biggest influences -- because they're everyone. "I listened to everything growing up. My mom listened to Stan Getz, Dionne Warwick and Joni Mitchell; we'd listen to Puccini in the car and then I'd belt out Lauryn Hill songs at home."
Chloe grew up an hour outside Toronto -- in lush dense woods that were a cross between an enchanted forest and an art museum. Her grandfather bought the land years before and planted it with trees and sculptures. "It was idyllic. When I was young, I would sit by the pond in the woods and make up little songs to the sounds of frogs," she says. Those early days in the quiet of the woods sparked her creativity and desire for authenticity.
Chloe's father married into a musical dynasty when he became the husband of Cynthia and stepfather of Julian Lennon. This gave Chloe insight and a realistic view of celebrity while enabling her to realize that music was something that she wanted to pursue on her own terms. Though Chloe started recording and performing in 2005, her musical identity was really shaped in 2007, when she bought her first classical guitar. With trance-like purpose, she went and bought a guitar, came home, and -- without any formal training or practice -- wrote "Soon on a Snowflake" in a few hours. She started performing at open mics around Toronto and it wasn't long before she was playing her own gigs and touring across the USA and Europe.
Chloe's performances resonate with a band heavy on rich string performances - violins, violas and cellos - all of it underscored by the depth and warmth of her classical guitar and a strong rhythmic foundation that allows her voice to float above; a voice that as Slug Magazine says "defies categorization ... and is absolutely riveting ... I still don't know where she came from—and more importantly, why she isn't signed to a label yet—but hers is a major new talent." According to Live Toronto „the depth of her range keeps a mesmerizing lock on the ears. Slow enough to absorb, moving enough to indulge."
She and her band have performed in eight countries and have consistently impressed. Live Music Toronto says Chloe has "a striking demure and strong vocal prowess, keeping the audience captive through her savouring stories." Her recording, Little Green Bud was chosen as the best EP of 2010 by Dryvetyme Onlyne and best album of the week by Alarm Press. Venus Zine states: "This album puts Charles in the spotlight. We can guess that her deep and peculiar sounding voice will give her an advantage and, soon enough, a record contract. This is definitely an album to be proud of."
There is a lot on the horizon -- North American and European tours, the current recording of a full LP, collaborations with DJ's and composers in Germany, Italy and Canada. All the while Chloe occasionally heads up Toronto dub step band, "Ninja Funk Orchestra" and the electronic Toronto/Montreal band "Sacred Balance" as well as being one member of the up and coming Austin TX/Toronto harmony rich collective "The Sweetness".
What won't change? Chloe's quirkiness and the honesty of her music "I try to be shamelessly me, as weird, gritty, raunchy or insecure and vulnerable as that may be," she says. "If there's anything I want to accomplish as an artist, it's convincing people that just being yourself is a natural and a beautiful thing."