We recently did a shoot in the desert near Los Angeles with super talented musician Pearl Charles. She has been touring recently around America and working on lots of exciting things so we did a little Q&A with her to find out more!
For our followers who are new to your music, how would you describe your sound?
We like to describe it as “Country Disco”, but it’s really just some good old ’70s inspired soft/country rock with influences from the ’80s, ’90s and today.
What were your beginnings in music and how did you get to where you are today?
I started with piano lessons when I was 5 years old, then went on to study musical theater and began voice lessons at age 9. When I was 12 years old or so was when I started getting more into rock ‘n’ roll and took up guitar lessons. Playing guitar evolved into songwriting and joining various bands in college (I went to music school) until I struck out on my own with my first solo EP in 2015.
Who or what inspires you?
Although there are tons of vintage influences that I draw from constantly, I am currently obsessing over Neko Case who has been putting out singles for a new record she’s releasing this year. Amazing female songwriters who are speaking their truth in beautiful and poetic ways, whether they are modern or retro, are a huge inspiration to me.
The 70s is a very special decade for us, are there any artists from the 70s that you particularly admire?
I would say that pretty much all of my biggest influences are rooted in the ’70s one way or another. You can look at any major music scene from that time and find people I love and gravitate towards, from Laurel Canyon to Muscle Shoals (whether that’s Fleetwood Mac and Eagles or the Rolling Stones). I also love a lot of the quintessential ’60s artists/scenes that evolved into the ’70s (for example, The Beatles solo endeavors or later Grateful Dead material) that are perhaps less well-known for their contributions in that era, but are still definitely worth exploring.
How important is fashion to you and how would you describe your style?
Fashion is hugely important to me as I find it’s yet another way that I can express myself, both on and offstage. I definitely get a lot of inspiration from disco/Studio 54-era clothing for stage pieces (sparkly jumpsuits, platforms, etc), but in my everyday life I often find myself dressing the way I imagine a high school kid in the ’70s would (Nike Cortez, vintage Levi’s, vintage band t-shirts and the like).
We know you’re an avid thrifter, do you have any tips for our followers on finding those unique gems?
My first piece of advice would be to just enjoy the process because you won’t always find that unique gem, but sometimes it’s more about the hunt than the catch, if you know what I mean. Aside from that, I have spent a long time getting more familiar with the patterns and materials that I am always looking for, as well as vintage fabrics in general, that way you can scan a huge rack of clothing and immediately be drawn to the right thing, so I would just say to work on training your eye to find what you want!
Do you have one piece of clothing that’s more special than the others and what’s the story behind it?
My friend Anna has a brand called Desert Sun Brand based in Belgium that is all vintage-inspired, with a lot of gorgeous embroidery a la Nudie Cohn. She and I have worked together to make a few custom dresses with my name either printed on the fabric or rhinestoned on to them. Those pieces are incredibly dear to my heart.
We know you spend a lot of time in Joshua Tree, we fell in love with the place when we stayed their on our travels! Why is it so special to you?
My parents bought a house in Joshua Tree over 10 years ago at this point, so I have been going out there for what feels like forever and I have watched it grow into the thriving artist community it is today. It was the first place I found myself drawn to listen to a lot of the music/musicians I count among my strongest influences today, not sure if it was the spirit of Gram Parsons or what, but for that reason it will always have a special place in my heart. Not to mention it’s a beautiful escape from the city to just get away and write.
You recently released your debut album Sleepless Dreamer in February followed by a tour. Do you prefer songwriting and recording or touring and playing the tracks live?
It’s impossible to say which I prefer over the other, they’re just so different and I think I truly love both equally. They just allow you to get in touch with two entirely different sides to the music making process and I think they are of equivalent importance.
What’s next for Pearl Charles?
We’ll be on tour all Summer! East coast in July, Central/Southern US in August and Europe in September! If anyone is interested they can go ahead and follow me on social media and I will be posting all the dates as they come up. Hope to see some of you hippies out on the road! @pearlcharles