Born in Sydenham to hardcore hippy parents, Charlene first picked up a guitar at the tender and impressionable age of 5. It belonged to her dad but she secretly plucked away at it until the strings broke. She didn’t own up. But by then she had fallen head over heels in love with the instrument and her dad knew it. So he bought her a guitar of her own and Charlene spent hours teaching herself to play and honing her innate talent. And she was good. So good in fact that she performed in public for the first time aged just 8 years old. She hasn’t looked back since. By the age of 10 her life ambition, if the music career failed, was to become a luthier (how many 10 year olds even know what that is?) and after a few years practice she rebuilt a 1973 Japanese 335 guitar when she was 17.
It was around age 9 that Charlene first fell in love with David Bowie. By 10 she discovered the experimental sounds of The Beatles and got deep into ‘60’s psychedelia and intricate jazz guitarists before exposure to artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and King Crimson led to her encyclopedic knowledge and deep love of prog rock. I kid you not. This girl is as far from the run of the mill singer songwriter as you can get.
Charlene’s love of the guitar and the above musical genres has developed her distinctive fret flexing style that is incredible to listen to and mesmerizing to watch. Her unique talent and hippified individuality also won her a coveted place at the Brit School, where her peers were Adele, ROX and Kate Nash. Even at such a young age she has captivated sufficiently to be invited to tour with the likes of Stephen Fretwell, Howard Elliot Payne, Kami Thompson and Jon Allen.
Keep an eye on this girl – you’ll be hearing her name a lot in the months to come.