Katrina Charles: “Where This Began” – a grounded attitude, and a penchant for substance over form

Originally from Glendale, Arizona, Katrina Charles is a singer-songwriter currently residing in Seattle, Washington. Katrina began songwriting at the age of 16 while she was attending boarding school in the Arizona desert. Though she took piano lessons at a young age, she had also quit at a young age and had to re-learn the instrument. “Songwriting kind of came about for me as a way to channel my emotions into something positive,” says Katrina. “A lot of changes were happening at home and being far away from my family at the time left this hole that creating music kind of filled.” In 2014, Katrina recorded her first EP “Nothing Safe Out Here”, and then returned to the studio in 2015 to complete the EP, “Where This Began”.

Katrina Charles’
Katrina Charles

Comprised of five songs showcasing both her piano and guitar abilities, “Where This Began” is a glimpse into the transition she made into the Northwest and into adulthood.  The greatest songwriters make music that builds, crescendos, and then rolls back, with themes and variations, and little musical bridges – or the ‘middle eights’ as the Beatles used to call them. Katrina Charles is writing music like that, at least some of the time.

Her latest collection of songs makes a gorgeous contribution to 2016’s currently lackluster soundscape and proves a worthy sophomore successor to her debut release. At her delicate, playful best, Katrina is blessed with an exquisite knack for unpredictable melodies and smart hooks, the ability to turn a clever phrase and an irresistibly frothy persona blending an insouciant vocal pout with a formidably confident pitch, all captured in a package of impeccable arrangements and thoughtful production.

In this modern era of disposable personalities passing as music idols, likely among the least talented, most prefabricated crop popular music has seen, Katrina Charles could prove to be a viable threat to the current establishment with her grounded attitude, and penchant for what is usually described in accounting as ‘substance over form’.

And when you encounter the opening title track, “Where This Began (Beautiful Mess)”, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. The track is delivered with Katrina’s wistful, honey-like voice and a pleasant, catchy piano-driven, musical arrangement that is truly unique among modern indie songstresses – artfully crafted with a simple variety of traditional instruments. No frills, no fuss. Get it?

the EP cover
the EP cover

That Katrina Charles occupies a musical domain that is entirely her own, is clear on the upbeat guitar-strumming anthem, “Slow Burn”.  There’s no perfect way to describe Katrina; her unique style is best understood by listening to her music, and probably the best, most accessible place to start would be the track “Break The News”, for me the EP’ standout track – this is one that has all those ‘middle eights’ goodness the Beatles spoke about.

Can’t Take Your Word is wickedly cadenced with a bass line that you can’t help but bounce along to. “City Lights demonstrates the strength of her voice and her talent as a piano playing musician. Katrina Charles’ voice, piano and guitar strums are crisp and clear. Once you listen to “Where This Began” you’ll keep coming back to listen again, picking some musical or lyrical nuance you missed before. Thoroughly enjoyable!

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