New musicians are rarely comfortable in their own skin, especially pop musicians. Think about it. When was the last time you listened to a block of “top 40” songs that didn’t “feature” a second or even third artist? (I’m looking at you Sofi Tukker, Hailee Steinfeld and, like, every hip hop artist out there today.) Do we really need all these people vying for time on a three-minute song?
That’s not to say that collaborations don’t have their place in today’s music. Where would we be without the awful yet 2017-defining Despacito? But there is something to be said for an artist, a new artist even, who can find his or her voice through self-reflection and an emotional connection with fans.
Charlie Korman is doing just that. And his new single, OPTIONS, provides a certain kind of independent confidence and credibility, as simple as it is, to being broken down and cast aside while imparting a sense of playful optimism. The song itself has a great hook, and Charlie’s voice is a strong match for its R&B vibe.
I had an opportunity to talk with Charlie about his life, OPTIONS, and what he’s saying with his music. What I found is someone who is surprisingly mature for his age, knows he has a voice, and is generally just enjoying his life and music without any pretense for what others think. “I sing simply because I want to sing.”
Charlie, who has been singing since he could talk, grew up knowing he wanted to use his voice to connect with people. But more than that, he yearned to understand the process of making music, to understand the meaning behind music and lyrics. He needed a push, however, to kick start his passion into action. When a close friend overheard him singing from another room, he confronted Charlie and told him he needed to do something about his talent. After a little soul-searching, he decided to jump in. “When I say I’m going to do something, I do it.”
For him, recording OPTIONS was a way to reflect on something that was going wrong in his life. And rather than staying in that space, recording the song provided a way for him to see that his adult life was just beginning. He’s turned a bad experience into a song that people can listen to while relaxing or having fun with friends.
Musically, Charlie is targeting a connection with a broad audience. “I’ve gone through things like feeling alone, having my heart broken—the same as everyone else.” He wants to make music that portrays all of it. “There are others out there like me. People get really scared and hurt and instead of making bad decisions, they need to understand that they’re not alone.”
When asked about what’s next, Charlie said, “There are a lot of things planned around the release of OPTIONS but I’m riding the wave right now. Whatever life brings me, I’ll take it.”Listen to OPTIONS on streaming music services, including Apple Music.
Follow @charlie_korman on Instagram.