Charlene Soraia is an extraordinary singer-songwriter who started playing the guitar aged five, aged eight she was turning heads at open mics nights. This gifted guitarist and self-confessed technical geek can rebuild her own guitars and has the rare condition, synaesthesia, where she experiences sounds as colours. Charlene will be releasing her new single 'Ghost' on Peacefrog Records as a prelude to her new album 'Love Is The Law' (released Summer 2012).
Charlene Soraia has never had any difficulty in standing out from the crowd. She has charted her own path. At school, she was the cool, quirky girl obsessed with David Bowie and vintage psychedelia while her peers were listening to grunge and nu-metal. And, when she started making her own records, she soon established herself as a natural talent who refused to comply with any stereotypes.
Aged 24, Charlene is justifiably proud of her new record. Among the high points on 'Love Is The Law' are songs co-written by Soraia and a former boyfriend, singer-songwriter Jon Allen. These include her first single, the indelible heartbreak ballad 'Ghost' - all acoustic picking, yearning vocals and real strings.
'The songs that Jon and I wrote together were mostly about our own impending break-up,' says Charlene.
'Ghost is about the aftermath of a break-up. When you're not with someone anymore, you can become annoying to them. You want to let them know how you're feeling, but they don't want to hear what you're going through. You're a ghost to them.'
She has filmed the video for 'Ghost' with the fabled Joshua Light Show in New York (her make-up was stylishly done by Scissor Sister Ana Matronic, whose husband Seth Kirby directed the film footage) and is now looking forward to bringing her new songs to life on the road.
Raised near Crystal Palace, Charlene's taste for music began early. She first picked up her dad's guitar when she was a toddler and, after breaking one of the strings, she was given her own instrument at the age of five. Self-taught, she honed her talents by listening to Bowie (favourite albums: Space Oddity and Diamond Dogs) and the progressive rock of the Seventies (favourite guitarists: Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and King Crimson's Robert Fripp). She describes herself as 'a geek with technique' - customising an old Japanese guitar to suit her needs. As her writing matured, she realised she was affected by synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which the brain causes two or more senses to combine. In her case, sounds are experienced as colours: seeing music in all the hues of the rainbow, she is able to explore unusual moods in her music.
Cutting her teeth as a performer, Charlene put out a series of self-financed EPs and began attracting interest from record labels. In late 2010 Charlene signed to independent label Peacefrog, home of Nouvelle Vague, Little Dragon and José González. The label were instrumental in putting her together with Twinings, who asked her to record a cover of Nineties alt-rock band The Calling's 'Wherever You Will Go' for a TV commercial. It proved a major hit (selling over half a million copies) the perfect launching pad for her debut album, which was eventually released to critical acclaim in November 2011. Now, with her new single 'Ghost' and album 'Love Is The Law', Charlene is setting her sights even higher.
The dates are as follows:
Mon 4th March - Paris, Casino de Paris
Tue 5th March - Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
Fri 8th March - Lille, Aeronef
Sat 9th March - Lyon, Transbordeur
Mon 11th March - Hamburg, Gro?e Freiheit
Tue 12th March - Copenhagen, Vega
Wed 13th March - Berlin, Columbiahalle