Artist Interview - Charley Young



Music videos that tell the story of how POWER is positive and how it should be infectious tops the list of the best inspirational pieces.  So, I was honored to get the opportunity to chat with an artist who is creating content like this.  Charley Young has released an official video to complement her single “Your Fire” and it is starting a dialog as it is made entirely by women while it shines the spotlight on women.  And what makes this artist so appealing is that SHE is not only a singer, songwriter, and producer, she is also an athlete, an actress, a Mental health advocate, and a survivor of anorexia nervosa and depression, so when she puts pen to paper and writes a song about women having POWER,  she is not preaching to the choir, she IS the choir.  In this interview, you will get to explore the themes behind the song and video and learn about the artist herself – this week on #WCM #FeatureFriday!  

Being an actress and a singer in the entertainment industry, a woman must display her power in varied ways, often choosing to quiet the “FIRE” so speak so as to not offend anyone.  Have you ever had to do this and when did you feel “I’ve had enough?”  

I spent a lot of my young adult years “quieting” my fire. I had anorexia from the age of 11; it was really a way to “erase” myself. About the same time I turned the corner in my battle with anorexia, I decided that I was tired of trying to quiet and harm myself. I decided it was time to honor myself, flaws and all. I still struggle in honoring myself from time to time, but I know that I am a work in progress and have come a long way in the past few years. 

Awesome!  I like how you state that you made the decision to “honor” yourself; so many females need to access this option on their mainframe board so to speak – that it’s okay to honor yourself.  

You have what I like to call a nostalgic powerhouse in a perfume bottle appeal when it comes to your style and music - much like the female artists back in the day:  Joni Mitchell / Madonna, were you always this way artistically? 

Oh! I love both of those words, especially together, KiKi!  I guess I have always been this way- I feel it is so hard to assess yourself accurately. But, I have always listened to and drawn inspiration from artists from the ‘80s and ‘90s (I have also listened to artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s too) and have always been inspired by strong women who have something to say.

I’ve listened to your music, a great collection by the way.  Many of your songs have a natural theme, and while female inclination is natural, not every female can find her own strength, so what made you take the women empowerment route this direction this time around for “Your Fire?” 

Thank you so much for listening! Nature is definitely a big inspiration of mine and I feel very connected to it. The decision to center the video around female empowerment came out of my conversations with my friend and director/cinematographer of the video, Emilia Mendieta Cordova. We started discussing the concept for the video around the time of this year’s Academy Awards. Natalie Portman’s decision to wear a cape honoring female directors who were not nominated really inspired both of us. We thought, “We love this idea. How can we bring even more exposure to these women in behind-the-scenes roles that are traditionally filled by men?” Emilia asked the ladies to join our project. I even got Emilia herself on film (she hates being on camera, but she deserves to be recognized!).  

A great observation Charley as women are overlooked on-screen and behind the camera, so this concept works on so many levels.  The video for the track is spot-on fab!  It has commercial appeal, but it is obvious that “commercial appeal” was not the only motivating factor behind the video as it does not contain animated characters; there are real women expressing real emotions showcased in the video.  How did you come up with the concept? 

After having the discussion with Emilia about empowering females, I left her to come up with the pitch deck. We always discuss general aesthetic ideas, but we have been working together so long she really knows me and what I am going for. We are usually on the same page. I completely trust her creative instinct and direction. Ella Thompson who is featured in the video came up with the storyboard which was exciting to see too!  

Yessss!  So, society (especially the music industry) will see why the tag under your official video reads “By Women. Highlighting Women. For Women” which is so great.  This is an all-female led music video – we have not seen this in music for a minute.  Can you expound on the process – how did you get all these bosses to come on board this project? 

I am truly blessed to have a wonderful friend and longtime collaborator in Emilia. She is the one who deserves the credit for getting these awesome women on board. She has worked with all of these women and I trusted her to invite women who would be inspired and supportive of this project and its message. I met so many of these wonderful women for the first time that day! 

I think that it is great that this is also showcasing how us women have to have trust amongst each other as well, as you have illustrated between you and Emilia.  And regarding the end-product, this song and video are cathartic and can be a catharsis for the masses who are muted today.  What emotion were you trying to evoke with the video? 

Pure, unadulterated CONFIDENCE. I am tired of having to apologize for being a strong female. I am tired of feeling like I can’t do something because of being a female or whatever other limitation is forced upon me by society. I wanted people to watch me and this wonderful cast of women and to feel EMPOWERED. I wanted the audience to see all these different females doing different things and to think to themselves, “Wow. I can let loose, be myself, and perhaps do something that I have never considered before.” 

Were your target audience young women, all women, or society as a whole?  I ask this because, from the first note, “Your Fire” fueled my fire, but I know it will resonate with many genders. 

My target audience was all women, but especially adult women. I think it is important to inspire young women and I strive to, but there are so many adult women who feel lost and uninspired. I feel like they are quiet because there is this unspoken rule that by a certain age women should be married, have families, and follow a certain path. I feel that many women follow a path blindly then one day wake up and have no idea who they are because they have done what society has told them a woman should do. I want these women to know that I see them and support them. Although the video is dedicated to all women, my music as a whole, including this song, is dedicated to all those who feel lost and unheard. I want them to know that I have felt that way and still do sometimes. I want them to know that it is okay to feel that way and to let them know they have support. Your life can look different than what society expects. 

Agreed – 100%  And, since your video is being picked up by female influencers, have you received any feedback from those women, and would you like to drop any names? 

All of the feedback I have gotten from men and women alike has been overwhelmingly positive. I am surprised at how many different people have enjoyed the video. For me, the best part of being an artist is receiving personal messages from fans telling me how much a song and/or music video has helped them, inspired them, or spoken to them in some way.  

Is your video a part of a campaign?  If yes, please share the details as #WCM loves helping to share the story of female artists. 

It is not at the moment, but I would love for it to be picked up by an organization to help empower women of all ages! 

It’ll happen.  What nonprofits are you currently working with?  Give them a shoutout so that #WCM’s readers can look them up and support them. 

Like most artists lately, I have been doing livestreams. Recently I did a livestream concert with my band which raised money for a wonderful nonprofit called Joyful Heart Foundation. It’s a great organization that supports survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. You can support them here

Charley, thank you for being so unapologetic while standing in your truth and honoring yourself, which in turn honors ALL women!  

I cannot wait to hear and see what else Charley Young has up her sleeve, because in terms of style and effect, when you hear her sound and the fervent control she evokes, it sticks.  

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then a video would be worth millions, right?  This video is worth it!  “Your Fire” is speaking volumes and unleashing power that competes with the sun!  pure, unapologetic props to women who are strong, giving strength, and supporting one another. 


REPOSTED FROM Women Crush Music 

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