I'm so happy to get this interview out into the world. The way I met Charlie is one of my favorite stories since starting UPstar. Music. I believe that Charlie and I had followed each other for a while and had a few conversations about New Music Friday's and his releases. But we’d never had any full on conversations. When I was down in Nashville, he reached out and asked if I wanted to meet for coffee and talk. For Charlie to take time out of his day to meet with me was really cool. I went in expecting that there would be an “angle”, or something Charlie was going to ask of me. Instead, it was just two guys sitting down trading stories and getting to know each other. Charlie is such a good dude who not only cares about his music, but also about people. And as far as I am concerned, that's the greatest gift someone can have. I sat down with Charlie and we talked about his single "Wish I Woulda Said That", transferring his energy from college football to music, and some of his most influential moments in music thus far.
Get To Know Charlie
"I grew up in Dallas, Texas and got into music early on. I loved everything about it. I grew up watching my dad play in cover bands and thinking "to become a man you put a microphone in front of you". That's just what I thought. Being a band member wasn't my dad's main job though he was really good at it. That was a big part of me falling in love with music. There was always something playing in my house... a lot of Motown, Rock N Roll. There was not a lot of classic country music, but I really listened to a bunch of songwriters and pop music. I found Country Music through songwriting. It was one of those things that once discovered, it was "mine" since nobody around me was deep into Country Music. The more I got into it, the more I loved it. Of course, falling in love with Country Music led me to Nashville. I started early in bands, and looking back now, it's easy to see the obsession. I didn't realize everyone doesn't have a hobby they are so into, like I was into music. I was playing any chance I got, trying to write songs and playing guitar parts. I was trying to play Pearl Jam solos and all that stuff.
I was in a band called Mockingbird Sun. While in the band, I got to produce our records - mostly out of necessity, since we didn't have the money to pay someone to produce our songs. As a result of that experience I now produce my own songs. Right now, I'm primarily pursuing being an artist. I love the creativity of putting a song together and writing a lot of songs. Outside of music, I'm currently raising my daughter with my wife. This is what I'm all about."
Thoughts From Our Head Onto Paper...
Our favorite songs are usually the ones that are most relatable to us. Each of us have things we wish we woulda said. "I should have told her how I truly feel", ”I should have been there for when my best friend needed me". Sometimes it’s serious, other times a cringe-worthy moment we want back. From the production down to the songwriting, "Wish I Woulda Said That" is as authentic as they come and truly a work of art.
Inspiration Behind "Wish I Woulda Said That"
Written By: Charlie Berry, CJ Solar & Austin Jenckes, Produced By: Charlie Berry
"I wrote this song with CJ Solar and Austin Jenckes. They are both incredible songwriters, artists and people. With a write, usually you come in and throw ideas around. This was a rare moment where I had the initial idea. The idea stemmed from a couple of years ago when I had a lawn mowing business. I kept it low and didn't want to tell anyone about it because I didn't want people to think I was quitting music. Now I look back and wish I’d told everyone what I was doing. I didn't because I was embarrassed and wasn’t sure how people would respond. Like, "hey man, you free on Tuesday?", "yeah! You want to write?", "No can you mow my lawn?"... stuff like that always ran through my head. Moving on... when you are in the shower or have some time to yourself you tend to think about your cringiest moments. You ponder what you wish you had done differently or how you approached the situation. My alone time was often while I was mowing lawns. I would think "man, I wish I woulda said that". It could be from a moment yesterday or a few years ago. There is always something you wish you woulda said. So we took that idea and framed it in a relationship between a guy and a girl. We initially wrote it to be kind of funny, but by the time we finished, it didn't end up being funny."
Q & A With Charlie Berry
Q: What was your "lightbulb" moment, when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "In the fourth grade, it was 7:15 in the morning and I hopped into a carpool in a boxy Suburban. My parents didn't really listen to any Country Music and I heard "Sweet Home Alabama" for the first time. Now, people look at it differently since it's such a popular song. But honestly, it is a great song that I take for granted. I think I drooled the first time I heard it because I was in the zone. During the piano outro I was just like "I wanna do THAT". The exact thought I had was "I can do that". So I went home and asked for a guitar and got one the next Christmas. Of course "Sweet Home Alabama" was the first song I learned."
Q: What's something most people don't know about you?
A: "Most people who know me through music don't know that I was a college football player. In the past ten years or so of doing music, I've really mellowed out. There are so many people who are like "you played football? I can't see that". It's crazy to go from something like football which is such a physical lifestyle to something that is very cerebral, I would say."
Q: What are some of the most influential moments you've had so far in music?
A: "I feel like you can compare being in the music industry to golf - you get beat up a lot. There's a lot of getting your hopes up and then constantly getting let down. Every once in a while you have a good shot that gets your confidence up and brings you back every time. For me there have been so many positive moments which have been anchor points to me continually pursuing music. Like in 8th grade and getting to play at my friend’s birthday party and thinking "wow we have made it". Opening for people like Toby Keith and Eli Young Band and getting to travel overseas to play a show for the crew of an aircraft carrier while on the aircraft carrier was amazing. I get to travel and meet people. Looking back, seeing some of the things I have been able to do reassures me that this was my path and what I was supposed to be doing. My sister had a friend who was dying of cancer and wanted to sing lullaby songs for her son. I got to record it. I'm just really glad that I knew how to do that. Everything from something that serious to it's a hell of a lot of fun to perform live. Having the opportunity to sit down to do an interview is incredible. I spend so much time working hard and grinding with my head down, every now and then I look up and feel like I'm in the game and in the trenches."
Q: If you could go back 5 years, what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "I think that, I'd for sure tell myself to relax, enjoy myself and the work is going to be there. I have a tendency to grind and not stop. But with music, sometimes it is good to be able to step back and live your life; be outdoors, do things like that. Also, no matter how much you know or understand in the beginning, just get started and learn along the way."