Genre-bending Charlene Kaye has big summer plans to promote her new album “Animal Love”. Having a sold-out tour with Team StarKid, a musical and comedy ensemble, feels good she says, but without a tour manager and booking agent it is hard work. She has to ask herself everyday “What can I do to make these things happen?”. Being self-employed, Kaye is the only one who can give herself a day off, but she is happy working because she gets to do what she loves.
Touring isn’t all the performer has in store for fans in the future. Kaye wants to explore different genres and release several albums in a variety of styles.
“I want to keep making music as long as my body, brain and my heart will allow,” she explains.
She isn’t the only one on board for bigger things. Her fan base is multiplying and huge support was shown when she launched a Kickstarter account to raise money for her new album. The account surpassed her goal of $20,000 by an extra $13,000. The excess money allowed her to experiment, unlike her previous record (which she paid for with grocery money). As a promotion, any money left over from the account after the completion of the album went toward her sibling-produced video for “Animal Love 1”. Her newly presented ability to experiment in a studio helped her develop a more pop-based record as opposed to her previous folk-based record.
The guitar, although not her first instrument, came naturally to Kaye and the Ann Arbor music scene surrounding her resulted in her love with the folk genre. This inspired her first album, but shortly after she tired of the folk sound and found herself in New York’s music scene. Kaye described her shift in sound as a “break-up with the acoustic guitar”. Her drummer, who produced and co-wrote a lot of the album, helped her adapt to a more pop sound. A lot of the album was written in Garageband, on planes or buses, and then recorded with a synthesizer.
Kaye noticed her hard work paying off when she learned through text messages from friends that her music had become the official boarding theme for Delta Airlines. As well as her music traveling throughout the country, a well-known and sometimes track-sharing friendship with Glee’s Darren Criss has also brought her attention. His company, StarKid Productions, created such musical comedies as A Very Potter Musical, obviously spoofing Harry Potter. Kaye and Criss were both working on projects alone when they met at her first open mic night. The room was full of slow break-up songs when Criss got on stage and performed a song from the Disney musical Mulan. This drew Kaye to Criss and she approached him expressing her love of Disney. Shortly after meeting, they began playing together. The two artists are not currently working on any projects together but Kaye says she is happy the world is recognizing his talent and would love to work with him in the future.
With big things happening and time looking promising in front of her, fans can look forward to the summer’s promotional tour and August when Kaye will be doing her own thing.
Written by: Ashley McAteer