Born in Kenya, raised in Switzerland, Canada and the Bahamas before returning back to Canada, Nuela Charles’ multicultural upbringing has provided the alternative/soul singer-songwriter a diverse platform in which to hone her talent. The 3x JUNO-Award nominated singer is perhaps best known for her soulful vocals and captivating stage presence, which has enabled her to solidify her position as a Canadian music staple. With a nod of approval from The FADER, three singles under her belt and festival performances scheduled in both Canada and Hamburg, Charles is set to release her fourth single and highly anticipated self-titled album later this month.
Charles speaks to DMC about her influences and inspirations when making her self-titled album and what we can expect from the track list…
Nuela, great to meet you! How are things?
Hey! Nice to meet you as well. I’m doing great thanks.
Firstly, could you introduce yourself to DMC’s readers?
My name is Nuela (new-ella) Charles. I am a 3x JUNO-Award nominated artist, singer-songwriter from Canada, and I’ve been releasing music for the last 10 years and look forward to the next 10!
You were born in Kenya and raised in Switzerland, Canada, and the Bahamas, before settling down full-time in Edmonton, Alberta. How do you feel your upbringing has shaped you as an artist?
I definitely think that my upbringing has informed me as an artist, but first and foremost as a person. It’s given me a very wide worldview and I’d like to think, has allowed me to be a very open and accepting person, who is always willing to try new things and meet new people. In regards to the music, it’s allowed me to be very observant and willing to incorporate many genres and influences into my own songs – resulting in what Nuela Charles currently sounds like.
Your highly anticipated self-titled album is due for release on the 16th September. Could you provide some more information about the pending release?
This will be my 4th official album release and I’m biased, but it’s definitely my best work to date. I’ve been able to really sit and write songs that speak to my own life, but that have themes that listeners can latch on to. And I’m looking forward to having others hear it.
What kind of inspirations have you drawn upon when making the album?
When writing this album, I started in the early part of 2021, I was really into affirmations and positive thinking at the time, and those themes run throughout the album. I wanted to be real with how I was feeling but also have a universal themes to everything – all about being able to conquer every hurdle that comes your way and loving yourself even if it feels like no one else does.
The upcoming release is a personal record for you and draws on themes of self-doubt and personal toxicity. Could you touch more on this?
Yeah definitely. I think in life we’re quick to speak very negatively about and to ourselves. Thinking we’re “not good enough” or “worthy” of good things in our lives. I didn’t want the album to be negative either, so all of these themes were spun around and made into more positive anthems, much like affirmations.
When making this whole body of work, did this allow you to work through your own feelings of self-doubt? Do you think you’ve found self-affirmation through the process?
Yes it did. Each song has helped me work through different situations in my life, and were like therapy for me. Having spent a whole year (2020) not doing anything or writing anything – these songs have definitely allowed me to work through my inner struggles.
You’ve released four three singles so far which have garnered some support. What can we expect from the rest of the album’s tracklist?
You can expect the rest of the album to be in line with the singles thematically, but the rest of the songs are definitely a lot more “moodier” sonically – getting everyone in their feels.
Do you have a favourite track off of the album? Why is that?
My favourite track on the album is definitely the opener, “Alive.” When we finished it, I had this moment of “I’ve arrived” – like this is what I’ve always wanted NC to sound like. It definitely leans more into my alt/rock influences, but I love it so much.
It’s been lovely chatting with you Nuela and good luck with the album release. To round off, is there anything else in the works from yourself that you can let us in on?
It’s been wonderful chatting with you as well. I’m really excited for the album, and can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I’m also excited to have been able to pair each song on the album with a live performance film coming soon! And lastly, I’ll be performing at Reeperbahn Festival this year in Hamburg, Germany as well – which should be amazing! – thanks!