Ones To Watch┃ Words by Amy Woodroffe ┃ 23.08.2020
August Charles is a Black-British male, born in Ndola, Zambia, and raised in South Yorkshire. August roots from his birth name Augustine, while Charles is a name inherited from his late grandfather, who was a significant source of inspiration and a great supporter of both Charles and his music. ‘’He led me to believe that the sky’s the limit regardless of my circumstances, so therefore I felt it was integral for him to be included in my artistry somehow’’.
Expanding on this explanation, Charles goes on to discuss the influence of the music he creates. ‘’Everything I do is from the heart. My music will always have a deep and personal meaning behind it, which I won’t disclose at this time, however, I want listeners to be able to relate and reflect on it in their way. To move and to be moved with the lyrics and sound. I want to go back to the days where art is just art and is interpreted by the audience, I like to hear about what they take from it.’’
August draws inspiration from his personal life experiences, with music serving as his primary muse. He characterises the essence of his inspiration as a blend of both positive and negative reflections of himself in his favorite, influential artists. However, in a fashionably mysterious manner, he leaves it to the audience to discern who these artists might be.
IZLAND TALKS TO AUGUST CHARLES ABOUT AFRO-JAZZ AND HIS SUCCESS WITH BBC RADIO PLAYS.
When did you start making music?
I’ve been making music for a long time now - I started back in school when I was about 12, I would use this iMaschine app on my phone to make beats just to share with friends. Then I studied GCSE music where you had to either play an instrument or sing, I chose the latter as I couldn’t play anything at the time. At the end of the year, we held a school show where I sang in front of a crowd who seemed to enjoy it, which boosted my confidence to carry on I guess. I actually went to uni to study Graphic Design, following my dad's footsteps but eventually decided to follow my passion which let me drop out and study Music Production instead to become a music producer or manager, but then I thought why not give it a go as an artist and make my own music this year.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Oscar Jerome is someone I've been obsessed with recently. He's also the guitarist for a band called Kokoroko, which is an amazing Afro-swing/Afro-jazz band. His own music is so colourful though and he has a specific tone in his voice that no one can emulate really. His music resonates with me a lot.
What makes you make music?
I make music because it has an effect on people, I love the feeling of satisfaction when people tell me how my song made them feel, or just their enjoyment in general. One thing I would say - when I make music I don't intend to make it for a specific type of person; it's whatever comes out and whatever feels natural. So sometimes I can put out a song without ever having the intention of telling people what it means. I would love for people to come up with their own interpretations. It's a piece of subjective art to me.
What are you most proud of so far in your journey?
Honestly, it would have to be my debut single ‘Take Me Away’ but I would also say getting played on BBC Introducing Sheffield and BBC Radio 6 was sick! BBC 6 Radio is a station I've been listening to for a very long time now so I'm incredibly proud of that but my goal is to be played by Giles Peterson, who I'm a huge fan of. But honestly, I'm just really proud of the fact that I'm putting something out there that people enjoy and that makes me happy.
A lot is going on in the world right now, what is your next step from here?
I've kind of started my career in the mists of a pandemic, so I haven't had the chance to play any of my songs in a live setting. Obviously, there’s a lot going on in the world all the time, not just now, so you just have to be aware of the negative side of it all and either shed light on it or consume as much knowledge about it as possible just so you’re kept informed. In regards to my next steps, I guess it's just to keep going really, keep releasing, I'm not thinking too much about playing live as it's uncertain times right now but I'm excited for the time I do get to go in front of a crowd as I feel like I become a different person but yeah, more music, more fun and more entertainment... and all that Jazz.
August Charles is a Black-British male, born in Ndola, Zambia and raised in South Yorkshire. August roots from his birth name Augustine, whereas Charles is a name passed down from his late Grandfather, who was a large inspiration for and great supporter of Charles and his music. “He led me to believe that the sky's the limit regardless of my circumstances, so therefore I felt it was integral for him to be included in my artistry somehow.”
Leading from this explanation Charles goes on to speak about the influence of the music he creates. “Everything I do is from the heart. My music will always have a deep and personal meaning behind it, of which I won’t disclose at this time, however I want listeners to be able to relate and reflect on it in their own way. To move and be moved with the lyrics and sound. I want to go back to the days where art is just art, and is interpreted by the audience, I like to hear about what they take from it.”
“My inspiration does stem from personal life experiences, however music in itself is one of my greatest inspirations. The reactions I have to different artists, whether positive or negative, entices me and I learn from them. It would be impossible for me to list the highest ranking musicians that have influenced me, so I’ll let you come to your own conclusion as to who or what I sound like.”