Charlie Belle, hailing from Austin, Texas, are a trio of talented musicians who are about to take SXSW by storm.
Name: Charlie Belle
Age: Jendayi Bonds (guitar and vocals) – 17 / Gyasi Bonds (drums) – 14 / Zoe Czarnecki (bass) – 15
Location: Austin, Texas
Style: Power pop with plenty of catchy hooks and soaring melodies.
Look out for: The Get To Know EP is out now and a series of secret Sunday releases is just around the corner.
It’s hard not to be impressed while speaking with Jendayi Bonds, lead singer and songwriter of the Austin-based power pop trio Charlie Belle. Her way with a melody and clever lyrics helped make the group’s debut EP Get To Know something of a shimmering sensation. At just 17 it is startling to find out that she’s already a music veteran. “Our parents were like ‘if you want to live in this house, you’ve got to learn how to play an instrument’, so they signed me up for guitar when I was seven years old and they signed my brother Gyasi up for drums when he was four. I started writing when I was 10.”
From then on songwriting became Jendayi’s calling. “Writing out my feelings helps me to process them more. All the songs on the EP are about something that happened which made me write a song.” Inspiration also came from the Arctic Monkeys and in particular the words of Alex Turner. “I love them so much. When I was 11 I was listening to their music because it sounded good, but as I got older I started listening to Alex Turner’s lyrics and I was just blown away and couldn’t understand how he could do what he does, and I’m still blown away – all the time. When I am writing a song I try to put a lot of metaphors in and play with words like he does.”
Jendayi’s own lyrical talent can be heard on the band’s devastatingly catchy track Shake It Off. “The whole song is about a toxic relationship you’re in. You want to get out of the situation and they won’t let you. The chorus is playing on when you’re in a café and the waitress keeps on coming by and filling up your coffee cup. This person keeps on coming back when you don’t want them to.”
With the EP now out the band can focus on the future and an exciting hometown gig just days away. “We’re playing two shows at SXSW. The first year we played was in 2009 and we’ve been playing every year since. This one is definitely bigger as it’s the first time we’ve had a lot of publicity so it feels a little different. After that we have a really cool thing coming up, I’m gonna give hints and not say exactly what it is but things are going to start coming out every Sunday. Then in the middle of April we’re going to upstate New York to record some more, possibly an album or possibly a couple of EPs. I’ve just got a bunch of songs and I’m gonna record them and then figure out what to do.”
And as for the future? “My biggest dream for the band is that I would really want someone who could change our lives to decide that our lives are worth changing. I don’t have a specific goal in mind I just hope that someone listens to our stuff one day and says ‘you know what, I’d like to help them out’.” With their combination of memorable hooks, erudite lyrics and infectious enthusiasm it’s a safe bet that this dream will come true for Charlie Belle.
For more about Charlie Belle visit their official website at www.charliebellemusic.com and watch the video for Get To Know below…