If there’s one thing, folks can’t say that British singer Charlie Winston is without personality or spirit. His songs are heartfelt and rooted in a very real place that can be found relatable for many. This week he released his sophomore album, Running Still, and we were lucky enough to catch up with the insightful artist to get a little closer to where he’s coming from.
Giant Step: What’s the story behind your first single, “Hello Alone?”
Charlie Winston: This was a song that got started many years ago. The chorus, that is. I wrote it awhile back, inspired by listening to a lot of Tom Waits at the time. So it was written more like old countryman’s blues, but I wanted to give it a little more soul now that I was thinking of it for my record. It talks about the paradoxical feelings behind the ending of a relationship. On one hand, you can feel sad to be alone again, whereas on the other hand, there is something liberating about only having to answer to yourself again. The way I describe it in the song is as if “Alone” is an old friend whom you hoped you’d gotten rid of, but there he is again, on your doorstep… and after a little time, you remember he knows you better than anyone.
GS: It seems like you had fun doing the video for “Hello Alone” – how was that experience? Is your demeanor in the video a pretty accurate portrayal of your personality?
CW: It was a lot of fun making that video, and it was certainly an accurate portrayal of my life at the time, living in LA, and having just come out of a relationship, spending a lot of time on my own doing a whole lot of nothing special. I was staying at some friends of mine, and that’s where we shot most of the video clip. I was swimming in that pool most days, sometimes fully clothed.
GS: How does it feel to be making your way to US audiences? Anything you’re specifically excited about in connecting with US fans or touring here?
CW: It feels good to be reaching out across the water. Over the years I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the US, and I’m fascinated by the people and the culture that we don’t get to see in the media. I’m really hoping and looking forward to a tour. So far, all my experiences of playing the states have been a lot of fun.
GS: How would you sum up your intentions with this album? Any particular feel or message you were keen on conveying?
CW: Well, on Hobo, my previous album to this, I had some big hits in Europe and experienced the life of a touring musician in full impact, in all its highs and lows. So, I guess you could say that Running Still is a reaction to that experience. In the same way the song “Hello Alone” talks about the feelings encountered with a break up, I suppose I’m also referring to how I felt with all the attention that came with a hit record. It’s a paradox of exhilaration and loneliness. This record just explores those places in oneself, be it feeling trapped and wanting to back out, like in “Wild Ones” or “Rockin’ In The Suburbs,” or finally realising that I’ve earned a little money from my music in the knowledge that money doesn’t mean happier, like in “Where Can I Buy Happiness.”