Name: Charly B
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Nationality: French   
Current Release: Charly B's Multiplicity is out via Diggers Factory.
Recommendations: A great book is “The Secret” (it also has a documentary)
A great piece of music is a live album from talented German reggae artist Gentleman: “Gentleman MTV unplugged”  (a great reggae show with violins)

If you enjoyed this interview with Charly B and would like to stay up to date on his activities, visit his official website for more information. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I had the chance to study in Jamaica for a year as an exchange student when I was 14 years old. This is when I fell in love with Jamaican culture and especially the sound of the bass. I started to write music when I was 14 years old where I really got influenced by this fast Jamaican rap style called Dancehall.

What drew me to do music was the beat, the tempo (my father was a drummer) and also the sweetness of the melodies we can find in reggae music. Jamaican culture has all those styles of music combined from mento, ska, reggae, dancehall.

For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?

At first, I was inspired by fast powerful flows and simple melodies with fast beats: 90’s dancehall music, but also all kinds of reggae styles. The style I could really sing was Dancehall music so I started with that.

Over the years I learned to develop my flows, my melodies and also my range of voice, so now I can sing on slow reggae beats, or fast dancehall style.

How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?

I feel the energy of the people when I sing so it gives me the strength and the energy to sing and deliver music and give people love and also make them dream through music.

What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

My main creative challenge was to give the Jamaican community a song that has the power to be accepted, and I realized my dream. I got invited at the greatest festivals all over the island to sing my song “Prophecies Untold” and it was a great honor. This song was a gift for the community, and I really wanted them to feel the love through the power of music.

My new goals now are to spread more love through music on stage and create more and more music.

As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?

I have always worked with a computer and a sound card to record my demos at home but always record over and finalize work at an official studio. So my equipment is really basic and easy to update over the years.

Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?

Working in professional studios with professional musicians always gives the best result and this is why I love reggae that never gets old. I really love the new mixing boards and the timbre they give the sound of instruments.

New styles of music and ways of composing music are out regularly and I am always open minded to work on other styles.

Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?

Working with a good team is always good for inspiration and very important. Yes I work with other artists, producers, and musicians with whom I share different ideas for them, and sometimes they do the same for me. If they have any potential idea they give it to me and we progress from there.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?

I always work during the morning time. There are some times where I work night and day depending on the requests I have: recordings or shows, interviews. Some other days are cooler.

Concerning other aspects of my life I have to get organized to pause my music at the right time so I can sort out all kinds of things like family stuff.

Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?

When I was produced by TMMG, Tower Music Media Group, from Kingston Jamaica, I got a breakthrough in Jamaica. My song “Prophecies Untold” got me more than 100 shows, TV and radio interviews, also the song was used on a “Red Stripe Beer” commercial and I got invited by all the greatest artists to their festivals (Tony Rebel, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Tarrus Riley).

It was one of my main goals in my career, and what really touched me is when I sang at a school tour with I-Octane and really got the Jamaican pupils crazy. My main motivation was to send back some love to the Caribbean islands so they can feel our love.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

I love to use different kinds of beats and instrumentals to find maximum inspiration. Finding the right beat always makes you find the right melody easier but it is always important to send a good message. A good beat will just make you find the right song. (Lyrics, melody, rhymes)

Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?

The biggest need I see in music is the fact that it can unite people. Music can heal yes and it can also hurt, I have experienced both feelings during my album Journey Of Life.

There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?

Good art is made to be shared. Culture must be respected at all times. As you can see I love Jamaican culture and I’m French. This is why my dream was to become recognized by the Jamaican community, knowing that I am European. So that the people in the Jamaican community can feel my love.

Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?

Getting to meet other people all around the globe through my music's a great blessing. People that are specialized in the music industry opened my mind.

The more I listen and get to adapt myself and that inspires a lot. It shows me that we never stop progressing, especially in creating music.

Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?

Music is my art and I also work with painters, dancers, sculptors, designers, and movie makers. Music and other types of art are all here to make people dream because without art there would be nothing.

I do music to make other people dream so that they know they can be free one day by realizing their passion.

What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?

Music in a universal language, from the city to the jungle. Through music, some vibrations can pass through that could never pass through words.

Some vibrations that could even be understood by animals.