What is your name?
Charles Connolly is my name, but some have taken to calling me CC.
What is your genre of music?
It has always been near impossible to pigeon hole myself in any specific genre. This is mainly due to being rather diverse from single to single. Widely speaking, I definitely make pop songs, but other than that it can be anything from indie to rock to Euro-dance to electronic to orchestral ballad and more. Sometimes bright and perky, sometimes dark and deep. I have been told by some that my music is Contemporary R&B (for example), but I genuinely have no idea what that means. I make what I make, and it sounds the way it sounds. I don’t really start the writing process by thinking about what sort of song I want to make – it just happens. The main reason I don’t stick to one sound or genre, is because I get very bored with the same sound. I feel that if one song has a certain sound, then that is the sound of that song – why repeat it? – I have done it already. One thing I will say about my sound is that I usually make a sort of “classic”, yet fresh sound.
Give us a little bio about you.
Despite being born and raised in London – still here, in fact – I had a pretty quiet and almost remote childhood. Which started me thinking. I’ve been thinking ever since! This in turn, turned me on to music. My small family is not remotely into music and none of them play any instruments. I started drumming at the age of 9, and over the following 5 or 10 years, I picked up the guitar, bass and piano. I was already singing my whole life. I started writing full songs when I was about 19. Many years on, and I am still writing – I believe better than ever. The funny thing is, it is only this year – 2020 – that I started going public with it. Don’t ask me why. I suppose a rather stupid error of mine. But here I am, for the world to hear.
What made you go in to music?
Nothing has ever affected me so instantly as music, so I genuinely couldn’t help it. I think by the age of about 6, I wanted to be a Beatle. I didn’t really CHOOSE music, I just picked up the guitar and never put it down again. I have always had the need for art in my life and music seemed to be my natural outlet. My release and relief. I soon realised I could write like few others and that I was a genuine songwriter and not just a wannabe.
Who are your influences?
I am a musical sponge. I don’t have definite influences. I certainly used to be influenced by McCartney – both Beatles and solo work. Other than that, I think it is probably a mish-mash of everything I have ever heard since birth. From Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra and Dave Brubeck to The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Yes and Queen to James Brown, Brian Eno and U2 to George Michael, Blur, Coldplay, Jamie Cullum and Oh Land to Everything Everything, Jon Hopkins and Lauv. And everything in between! A pure, subconscious, unadulterated sponge.
Are you a signed artist?
I am very much not signed. Lord knows, I would like that! But so far in my brief public music career I am still “single”. So far I am self-releasing my music.
You set released your single ‘To See My Lover Again’, tell us more about the single.
Well, I wanted to make a piano ballad – something I had never really done before – and I wanted it to be pretty much just piano and vocal. But as is the way with my music, I just couldn’t keep it that simple – it just wasn’t interesting enough and I knew I could go further with more layers. I wanted it to be quite cold, distant and fragile at first, but warming and thickening up as the track develops. This I could only achieve with layered tracks and multiple instruments. The song does have some electronic elements, but ultimately it’s a pretty organic piece. A piano piece ornamented with strings, synths, harp and beats. It seems to have gone down rather well, and I have lost track of the amount of people telling me I am the next George Michael…! Which I will take. I may be straight, I may be poor and unknown, but I’m alive!
What is the meaning behind the single?
Lyrically, the song is about me and my girlfriend. We have an unusual relationship – no, nothing kinky – in that she predominantly lives in Warsaw (for she is Polish), while I am always in London. Usually we would spend around half the year together, and half apart. This alone can be very difficult for both of us, at the best of times. This year however, has not been the best of times. We have barely spent any time together at all, so it has been crushingly difficult. The lyrics directly relate to the pressure upon us both, and how it will feel “To See My Lover Again”. The most beautiful thing though, is that this relates to us all, through the strangest time of our lives. This year has made me realise more than ever, that Love is truly the greatest force and strongest bond in the entire world.
Describe the track in two words.
Dope track. No no no, I would say…… “Lush classic”.
Will we see a music video for the track?
There is already a music video for the song. I released it around ten days after release. It is basically a lyric video with a difference. Made entirely by myself, I wanted to portray the feeling of the song, from empty fragility to warm and triumphant hope for the future. It is a blend of video, lyrics and simple graphics.
Watch and Listen below
You also released ‘Santa’s On His Way’, tell us the inspiration behind the Christmas song and why you decided release a Christmas song.
Although my first publicly released Christmas song, it is actually the fifth one I’ve written and recorded. Having written all these, it felt like now was the right time to release one of them. I chose the latest simply because it was probably the best recorded and mixed of all of them – as with all my music, I mixed it entirely myself. Rather than dwelling further on the deeply depressing year we have all been through, I wanted to simply pass it by and lift people’s spirits with something so utterly joyful, soothing, calming, fun and most of all, different. I wanted to make something that could compete with the classics, yet add something that pricks the ears and makes it NOT ”just another nice Christmas song”. The piece is very much a song of two halves. I was just about to launch into what happens in the song, but maybe it’s best if you don’t know. More fun for when you listen to it!
What was the writing process like?
I don’t really have a “writing process“ with anything I write. An idea comes, almost fully formed in my mind. I hear it with full production. So I just embellish it and try my best to copy the sound in my head. It genuinely feels like cheating. I don’t really think about it when I write, but it’s usually first idea to final mix in around five days. I don’t like lingering on a piece, or I get bored or frustrated with it. I start to lose sense of it. Best to dive in, and leap out. One thing I NEVER do is sit down to write a song. That whole concept is impossible for me. I get ideas at the most irritating times, and I rush to my phone to record it
Who did you work with on the single?
I never work with anyone on my music. A completely solo project. I just find it quicker, simpler and easier that way.
Listen to Santa’s On His Way
What else can we expect in 2020 and Early 2021?
I think we can safely call it quits for this year. As to early next year, I will be starting with some further promotion on “To See My Lover Again”, and as far as my plans are set, my next release will be in March. I would rather get the most of what I have released so far, rather than wasting songs by not having enough time to promote them. My plans could of course change, and there could be something earlier. We’ll see…
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Where I HOPE to be in five years – preferably far less – is writing and producing songs for the stars, and to have my own career as an artist in my own right – songs for money, my own career for fulfilment. Of course, ANYTHING can happen, we just don’t know. I never used to think that much of my voice, but people seem to really go for it. So maybe I can make it on my own! Again, we will see.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I don’t tend to like using phrases, quotes or proverbs… But I would certainly stick by “You live, you learn”.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Smell, sweat, keys, wallet, phone. And a bonus one – mind.