Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Charmaine, a name I say was handpicked by the divine, for I am the quintessence of its core meaning “singer, song, delight.”
I am fueled with passion daily to empower people to embrace their greatness within, and I have been blessed with a powerful gift of music and do not take lightly my platform to transform lives and impact the world for the better. I am an adventurous and creative human being indigenous to the exotic island of Jamaica, West Indies. Music and the arts have always given me strength to withstand the storms of life.
I am also known as CHAR, Soul/R&B artist based in Chicago. Originally called to music through my faith, as a child I began singing in church at six years old and knew then this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now as an adult, I have had numerous experiences and felt it was time to share my gifts to new audiences. My message has recently shifted towards themes of self-growth and spirituality.
From Jamaica, I moved to America at a young age. My artistic talent was nurtured by New York City’s schools and vibrant music and arts culture. I eventually settled in Pittsburgh where I developed as a song writer after winning a National poetry contest in High School. I got married at 19 and immediately started a family. I am the Mother of two beautiful daughters. Some years later, I experienced vibrant success in the Gospel music industry after the release of my debut recording, Chosen to be Blessed, I was voted Pittsburgh’s 1999 Best Gospel Performer. I was the opening act for the likes of MC Hammer, Vickie Winans, Ben Tankard, Commissioned, and was also asked to open for CeCe Winans. My “Family Christmas” special aired on BET and The Inspiration Network. I have released an EP, “Suitcase and a Dream,” and numerous singles which are available on all digital platforms.
One of my latest singles titled “Closure,” which was recently submitted in The Great America Song Contest, was chosen as one of the 100 finalists out of 1900 songwriters from 42 countries who competed. The inspiration behind the song was for personal closure when my 23 year marriage ended. I needed to find a way to let go and move on. I thought about people who have faced traumatic life experiences but have not had a safe space to express their pain in honesty so I recently launched a vodcast, Adult Conversations with CHAR. The first season just ended and I am in the process of pitching this to TV Networks before Season 2 begins. Visit the Adult Conversations with CHAR YouTube channel to watch Season 1 episodes.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Why me? Funny you should ask. I have had to overcome many obstacles. Everyday for me is like a battlefield but I somehow find the strength to get up, go and show up!
Growing up, I never had a sense of belonging. I struggled with depression most of my life but the Divine gave me this gift of song that continues to breathe life into me and so my mission is to use that gift to breathe life into others.
I recently found my biological father who was/is a serial rapist. In and out of jail for rape. Over 20 something children have been discovered. I was introduced to two of my biological sisters. I said all that to say, living life in broken pieces is not easy but finding a reason to live soothes the ache.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
During my bouts of depression, music has been a constant. My debut recording was birthed through pain. The songs were written during one of the darkest times of my life and after releasing the album in 1997, it has become a favorite for many. I get phone calls and emails about how the songs have brought people through difficult times in their lives. The worst bout of depression years later had me planning my funeral. BUT, the Giver of life once again gave me a reason to live through music. “Lay down and die, or get up and try.” I got up!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Having to leave my toxic marriage of 23 years was the most difficult. When I needed help during that time, family and friends rejected me. I went through homelessness. Strangers took me into their home and gave me a chance to figure out my next steps. I enrolled in Elgin Community College and graduated with my Associate of Fine Arts degree. Transferred to Columbia College Chicago and graduated with an Bachelors of Music degree.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Oprah WinFrey, Tyler Perry and Barack Obama have similar stories and are relatable. They have candidly shared their stories to encourage others who are on a similar path. They have been able to be productive and successful in spite of their painful past.
Drop your social media links.
Official website: www.chardreams.com