Tre. Charles: Currently, EP
Written by: Richy Jones
Alternative indie soul musician, Tre. Charles describes himself as nomad. He’s been exposed to many cultures and vibes up and down the East Coast throughout his life, but Richmond stands out.
“I feel like an adopted child of Richmond. This city has always embraced me from the jump,” Charles said to an audience on Wednesday evening at Shockoe Atelier. Charles donned his signature rolled-up beanie, a fresh dark blue denim suit–pants cuffed just above his black walking boots. The handmade denim store was a curiously perfect venue for the release show of Charles’ new EP, Currently. As we were swept up in the vibes of the rich, and mellow guitar chords, and Charles’ emotional melodies, the setting felt like a physical extension of the mood. It was sort of like “huh… yeah, I suppose this is what denim would sound like..”
Charles shared with us insights to his personal journey with his mental health. It’s called Current because it’s right where he was/is–being present.
The lead single, off the EP, Lately was written during the pandemic. It was a cathartic process for him to write and face tough emotions head on. “Masculinity doesn’t typically see vulnerability as a strength,” Charles explained. This song is him processing being vulnerable
Memory examines the complicated relationship that Charles has with versions of his past self which people still try to box him into. This song speaks to a common desire we all have to improve ourselves and find reconciliation with our past.
“It’ll all work out like right now,” are the only lyrics to the aptly titled track, Mantra. Soothingly sung, sometimes a good mantra can help us get through our stress and anxieties.
The final track, Stressing, came from the turmoil of mid 2020. Early into a global pandemic, Americans found themselves grappling with the murder of George Floyd, the then latest iteration of a black man unjustly murdered at the hands of the police which was heartbreakingly documented with video and audio for the world to see. The civil unrest at the time made Charles question many things about the future, leaving him feeling stressed and uncertain, again, reflecting on where he fits into it all.
Charles closed the performance with one last song, unreleased, but inspired by his partner and his godmother. Following was a Q&A with the audience:
Q: How did you get started making your own music?
Tre. Charles told a story about how he decided to cherish and nurture his musical gifts. He had been working in the restaurant industry for a number of years when he was sent to Orlando, Florida to help start up a new location. The company had provided him with a rental car during his stay which was later wrecked in a bad accident. With an injured knee, he was shaken up pretty bad. It was a reminder that life is short, so he began asking himself what he really wanted to do with his life. “It was like a divine intervention,” Charles said. In that moment he promised himself to pursue his passion from then on. Shortly after he began picking up gigs at small venues and breweries.
Q: What made you want to do the performances for the kids in the community that you do?
“I wanna provide exposure for kids to engage with the art and decide if it’s something they might wanna try… I at least wanna help nourish that in kids and bring it to them”
Q: What is your creative process?
“Life is my creative process… moving, breakups and relationships, losing and gaining friends... I try to remember that process in the simplest terms of how it made me feel”
Q: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?
Charles jokingly berated the audience member who asked this question. Surely it’s a tough one for any musician to answer. But in sort of an “ah hah moment”, he said matter of factly, “My dad.. He’s not a musician but the work ethic and the art differences really make me want to make him proud… Like… he did a good job as a father.”
Q: How and why use the live looper?
“Cause nobody wanted to play with me early on. It was hard to find a backing band and pay them all of course… I have a structure of what I like to do but looping helps me get lost in the music. I like cannons and things that swell up really big.”
Q: Why the guitar?
“I was listening to John Mayer like a million other college kids,” Charles said, sharing a laugh with the audience. But then he explained how in that life altering car crash, his guitar was the only thing that survived unscathed. He named the guitar Miracle.
Blog Author - Richy Jones: Hey, my name is Richy Jones (they/them) and I’m a freelance creative holding it down in RVA. In 2017 I earned a bachelors degree from Virginia Commonwealth University with a discipline in music education. As a former school music teacher, I maintain a passion for sharing my love of music through various media. I’m happy to be apart of the HearRVA team, being a proponent of Richmond’s vibrant and growing music scene. As a hip hop artist, I record and perform under the stage name Qing Richy.