By: Shayla Lee
If you’re craving a girl power anthem, look no further than Charisma’s song KING. After one listen you feel so empowered you will be ready to take over the world while inspiring other women in the process. Charisma is a dream chaser; at the age of 16, she relocated to LA from India to pursue her career in music. Obviously she has been killing it ever since.
She is an inspiration for girls around the world and she is a beaming light of confidence. We were lucky enough to interview Charisma and we chatted about KING, the impact social media has on our generation, and self-love.
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Charisma: I’m a singer/ songwriter based in Los Angeles. I grew up singing in church at the age of 8, with my elder brother and my mom back in my hometown, Kolkata. Born to a catholic family, my father owns a food business. I’m the youngest out of the three siblings, major food lover! If I had to write a song about food, that will be my first love song. Like for real !! Other than singing, I love to paint, read books, and watch movies.
What inspired you to become a musician?
Singing in church at a young age and being surrounded by great music, that my parents made us listen to, like Michael Jackson, George Michael, Whitney Houston, ABBA, is what inspired me to be a musician. At the age of 14 is when I decided to take singing as a profession, and I began to write inspirational songs with my brother.
You were born in India but are currently living in Los Angeles. How do these two places differ from each other? Have they influenced your music at all?
Both are home to me. My growth has always been a reflection of my surroundings. Gladly I have great parents by my side to support me and my dream. Making that big step across the globe was indeed challenging, culturally as well. The process of developing myself as an artist I became more acquainted with the independent life. Yes, moving to another country has definitely influenced me to write more music. At 16 I made that big step, moved out of my comfort zone to witness a whole new culture, failure, hardships and day to day lessons. This helps me to write more great songs.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
For me it’s more about what i’m feeling at that very moment be it in the studio or at home. I usually write at home with my brother. We both come up with the melody by the piano and then we just start to pen down our thoughts and go back & forth from there. Content for me is really important and i’m always trying to think of what hasn’t been done and how unique it could be as a song. My music influencers have been LORDE, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, BORNS and of course Michael Jackson.
Do you have a favourite lyric that you have written? (We love ALL of KING)
To me, in the song KING, every lyric has a deep inner meaning, like you said you love all of KING, so do I. And if I had to stress on a specific lyric it would be “When was truth ever based on acknowledgement”, the reason being, society has always tried to fit one to a specific mould. For example, we’ve had songs like Royals by LORDE, the meaning behind that song was you can still be royal at whatever circumstance and position you are in life. We don’t need to adapt to society. Real truth is acknowledged by being yourself. That is how you brand yourself in being unique and spectacular. The message is honest and its about having to know the real truth about common sense and self esteem. So why would I care if this song is not a hit? I raised my voice and it’s not a diss.
We don’t need to adapt to society. Real truth is acknowledged by being yourself.
KING is the ultimate girl power song. We love empowering music and want to thank you for creating such a badass song! What was the inspiration behind it?
Thank you for the love and appreciation towards KING. This song was written in 2015 over three years ago with my mentor Cassius. While we were at a writing session there was a discussion between us, about how society is influenced by fakeness. They crown fakeness as their role models. They hide their insecurities just to be perfect, and society lays a blind eye to self worth and crowns fakeness as Kings. I was heartily depressed to see the Kylie lip challenge take place all over social media and disheartened to see young girls and several women accepting that challenge and destroying their natural self. Society has crowned these “role models” as Kings. Hence “I can’t wait , I can’t wait to be KING” to empower all about self love, self esteem and consciousness.
You released your music video for KING on December 31st and it is has over 350,000 views. Congratulations! What was it like the music video creation process like?
Thank you it’s been a blessing and I’m so grateful to all the listeners who have self acclaimed and appreciated the truth behind the lyrics. The music video was rushed but I glad we brought meaning to it. We did go through various treatments initially. The song was released in September, I was leaving for India late November. We were in two minds in shooting the video due to the span of time. The director Jakob Owens, had a simple but deep meaning behind the visual of his treatment. It was direct and we didn’t have any rehearsals, just all gorilla style by the forest. My brother, who is also my creative director, scheduled a meet and explained our vision in detail before we set a date to shoot with the producer, named Samuel King! Ironically lol, the shoot date was a day before we left for India. Visuals were shot in Lake Arrowhead which was filmed, edited and color corrected in one day, all thanks to Jakob!
We love the lyrics “So if you tired of fakeness as I am / Then give me the freedom to sing / I can’t wait I can’t wait to be king”. Social media has an extremely strong influence on young women and it can be hard not to compare yourself to others. In reality, people only show what they want to show on social media. It’s not real life, and our self worth should not be based on the amount of Instagram likes we got on our latest photo or how many twitter followers we have. Do you find it hard not to get caught up in it all? What advice could you offer to young women who are seeking approval from others on social media?
For me social media has its advantages and disadvantages. As an advantage, being an independent artist, social media helps to reach various audiences around the world. As a disadvantage, we need to take precaution on how we can be our own brand and not categorize ourselves with numbers. Being creative and unique, is what will pull you through and make you who you want to be. Like I said earlier, to all my girls out there, love yourself and don’t let insecurities dictate you, the brighter picture, shines within you.
In the words of Gandhi:
We must become the change we seek in the world.
Have you faced any adversity being a woman in the music industry? Do you have any tips for other females experiencing adversity in their lives?
Coming to a new city in a whole new country, was a major move and I did step into failure, hardships and depression. This just made me stronger as an artist and helped me to grow in mind and soul. My advice to all my ladies out there, through my personal experience will be, to take every failure as a lesson, to be who you are and we have so much in this world to take pride in which starts with being prideful with our natural self. I’ve said this many times already, but it’s a reminder, this is the only way we grow as individuals and stay strong, and I’m sure this stands out as a universal message as well.
What can we expect from you in the future? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver soon!
I have something coming, been quite a few years in the making, but definitely trying to make things perfect before my next release. Hopefully an EP mid 2018. Yes I would love to visit Vancouver and perform. My close friend lives out there.
What 3 songs are you currently listening to?
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Some surprisingly say, why KING and not Queen?
My answer was, Why not KING?
King has always had a higher ground even in the game of chess, KING means higher superiority and dominance and I can’t wait for all to know that everyone is superior in their own way, and have their own truth towards greatness.