Charles Perry, The 'Soul-Superhero' Talks Solo Career and Debut Album
Charles Perry, the self-proclaimed “soul superhero”, has performed in a broadway musical at the age of 15 and shared the stage with such legends as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. With a debut album out later this year via Verve Records Perry talks about his album, his solo career, growing up in Brooklyn, and befriending Jeff Goldblum.
This is your first time having to create something on your own. Has it been difficult?I’d say it’s been organic and very easy. The only thing I’m doing is being who I was created to be. I’m soul and I’m rock and I’m blues and I fuse them all. I’m singing the music I grew up listening to. So the creative process has been easy, I guess.
How you deal with genre definitions?
I’m gonna be honest. What I do, what my brain does, is make good food. Who eats it is not a factor. When people eat something great, they don’t say: “oh this is amazing such and such food” they say: “this is great food.” That’s what I’m doing. I’m making great food. There is no genre. This is world music. Life music. There is no box that can hold this. This is eternal. You can’t limit eternal. This is music from the soul and from the heart.
Looking at your twitter, your music, and talking to you it’s evident that you’re extremely positive. Where did that come from?
That’s a good question. My grandfather was a Doo-Wop legend. He was a light, a walking light. He said to me: “We’ve got the tools to be beacons. Walking lights. And when people see the light, they should be inspired. Because the light comes to change things.” With everything that’s going on in the world, so much hate, the riots, you know. It’s important that we spread the message of love and peace.
What do you want to bring to the music scene?
It’s important that we not suffocate the hope. There was a time I looked at myself in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I learned to love myself. And that’s what I want to help people do. Help them love themselves. You have to love yourself first. Because if you do, people will see the light in you. We must keep the hope alive.
I grew up in a day with cinema legends, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, people who made pictures with their movies that are stuck in our minds forever. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Malcolm-X. I’m big on visuals, it’s important to me that whoever directs my video understands the visuals. That they see it, hear it, feel it.
Jeff Goldblum is playing the piano in one of your recent music videos. How did you set that up? Do you know him?
Jeff Goldblum is one of my favorite actors, but I had no idea he was coming. I was told we were having a tiger on the set. They wanted to surprise me. I thought I was gonna see a real tiger. I was like, “I don't know how this music video is gonna work with a tiger on set!” And then Jeff Goldblum walks in. I could not believe it. He told me he heard the music and he wanted to help out. We had so much fun. There are some moments that you guys didn't get to see. He's an amazing musician, let me just add that. That’s what a lot of people don't know about Jeff. Watching him play the piano and singing the words to MY song. It was unbelievable.
You grew up in East Brooklyn and still live there half the time (bi-costal), what does BK mean to you?
Brooklyn made me. There’s so much that created me the singer, the soul superhero. I sang on the streets, I sang on the playground, I sang at the church, I sang in the schools. It was here, in the streets of Brooklyn, that my talent was molded and developed. Dreams are born and legends are made. We have the greatest singers here in Brooklyn. You can walk outside your door and see young people harmonizing, people singing. It’s amazing.
You’ve got a new album coming out, talk about the process of making it.
When you give 100 percent all the time that’s what you get. I just go in there and give it the best of me. I treat every time as if it were the first time, like my life depends on it. That’s important for me because only that way can the people get what they’ve been waiting for so patiently.
As a person with such a diverse music background do you feel that this album is sporadic, as you try to fit all of yourself into it, or is it only one side of you?
This album is so many shades of me. So many shades of sound. It captures the essence of who the soul superhero is, who Charles Perry is. We managed to fuse so much in this, I’m telling you people are going to be shocked when they hear this album. There’s so many fusions, but it’s still together, it works. Each song accommodates the next. I cant wait for y’all to hear it. I’ve never felt this confident about a body of music in my life. This album came from the core of my soul. Every writer, every producer, everyone who worked on this, they put 100 percent of their soul. When you hear this album your life will change. You will know what feel good music is, again. There’s still light.