If you have walked the streets of Madrid in recent years, particularly near our studios on Gran Vía, perhaps the name and voice of Charlie USG sounds like something for you. If not, we’re already bringing it to you in LOS40. And it is that this 20-year-old from Madrid has spent many afternoons singing versions of the latest pop scene for passers-by in the capital – avoidance, sometimes; and receiving, other, various fines from local authorities.
Since he was 15 years old, this young street artist headed to the most central area of Madrid, guitar and speaker in hand, with the aim of surprising pedestrians and giving them a good time, initially performing only a few songs that were learned in cycle. He did this always believing that the persistence and tenacity that characterized him, with just the right amount of added fortune that was needed in these cases, would make him fulfill one of his dreams: released a first single and start a music career hand in hand with one of the most significant recording companies in our country.
But before he released his first original song, there were many anecdotes and many attempts by Charlie to belong in the music industry. Stories that range from run-ins with the police and threats to unforgettable moments with artists like Marlon or Lola Índigo, who, after hearing him interpret their own songs, joined in singing with him in the middle of the street (or invited him to one of their shows, as Cepeda did) until he attracted the attention of a big major as Warner Music Spain and put him in their catalog as a rising artist.
Charlie USG currently has very few songs on the market. Since the beginning of April this year, he has a total of three: Gran Vía 82, I don’t care and the last one, which i never told youwhich are just the beginning of a the biggest project that will see the light next October 14, an EP titled Everything I finally dared to tell you.
We spoke to Charlie himself about his latest single, his future dreams and his history as a street singer. Keep reading and find out everything he told us!
For his latest song and his first EP
Question (Q): Who is your latest single addressed to? which i never told you And how was it received?
Answer (R): This is a moment that everyone has experienced. About when you’re in love with a person but as always you don’t know if it’s mutual or not and in the end because you’re a piece of shit or a coward you don’t say anything and lose that person… Something that’s happened to all of us wow . It’s going really well right now. Overall, I’ve released a few songs, but people are receiving them super well, and that’s something I didn’t expect, to be honest.
Q: Will it be on your next EP? Everything I finally dared to tell you?
A: I will release an EP in October, compiling the previous and two unreleased tracks. It will be released physically in stores. Super cool everything.
Q: Are all the songs autobiographical?
A: Yes, it’s all autobiographical. Many times I get together with Jonathan and Neva, who are two amazing composers and great artists, to compose the songs, but yes, the songs are 100% autobiographical.
Q: How would you define your style?
I think it’s very real and very sincere. And I don’t want to give it to myself, but when you listen to a song, what makes you stay with it is that you empathize with what it’s saying. Beyond what it sounds like and when you compose, the songs [que hago] They are very sincere and very clear with the message which makes the listener empathize with the song very well. So that. I think it’s a very sincere way of composing and very direct.
Q: How long have you been waiting for this moment?
A: It goes back to when I was 15 when I started messing around. Actually right below the LOS40 offices. I started playing on the street and ever since then I’ve always had this desire to want to get something out there and show that not only do I know how to sing other people’s songs, but that I know how to make my own stuff that really sounds good. I knew I had potential, but I lacked the team to take it forward. After all, no one does anything alone in this life. Warner signed me off the street and it all went up from there.
I knew I had potential, but I lacked the team to take it forward.
Q: What are Charlie USG’s plans for the end of the year/next year?
A: Right now just the EP in October to see how it’s received… Obviously I’ll be releasing an album later and then a tour… Let’s see how it goes. That’s assuming I’m not dead and all is well.
Q: Can you tell us if you will be doing concert tours?
A: I can’t wait to do it, but for now we have to wait a bit. When more songs come out and there’s a bit more anticipation… but come on, yeah.
About his origins as a street artist
Q: How much has your life changed since you released the first single: great road 82, compared to how it was before?
A: That’s the typical thing that’s said, but it really was like a movie. It all happened too fast. I started, as I said before, when I was 15, playing in the street and I spent about three years doing that, always getting kicked by the police, which was like the biggest stupid thing in the world there. And suddenly when I see that someone who works in the industry likes what I do, not just the people, but someone who is dedicated to it… Something in my head changes. I see there’s an opportunity to be able to fully commit to it and, Jolene, I don’t know how to tell you, but the things that I used to see that were crazy to do and that I would give all my money to be able to do, now I do them for free because Warner Music pays me, pays me to go to the studio, the productions, things like that… And right now I feel like I’m in TV right now.
Q: What does signing a record deal with Warner Music mean to you?
A: I always tell my team that I feel super, super grateful. Every time a song comes out, I thank everyone for trusting me. And it’s literally a gift to me. Because I went from just having the street to being signed to one of the biggest record labels. This is a gift. I’m so grateful and I feel like it’s not mine, you know? I was very lucky.
I always say it: I’ve been very lucky, but luck doesn’t come on your couch. You have to get off the couch to seek that fortune
Q: What do you think the music industry is like from the outside and what is the industry like from the inside now that you’re a part of it?
A: I thought it was all very fake (laughs)… That the artist didn’t do anything, they left everything done and that ultimately the relationship between people [de la propia industria] there were few. But over the time I’ve been here, I’ve realized that what a record company does is extend the artist’s work, it doesn’t give him anything, but the more the artist does, the more the record company can do for him. At least I work a lot. And also that everyone inside knows each other, which is something I had no idea about. And everything, everyone gets along super well, or so it seems. After all, you can request favors from almost anyone.
Q: Do you miss playing in the street? Would you do it again?
A: Actually yes, I miss singing to people. What I don’t miss at all is how he was chased by the police even though he had all his papers. And yes, I haven’t done it yet, but I will do it again from time to time.
Q: What got you into playing on the street?
A: I’ve always been very sassy and very forward about everything. The street wasn’t something I could be ashamed of, because it was a touch of air that those who like it stop and those who don’t don’t. What the street has given me is perseverance, very hard and insisting on what you like. I always say it: I’ve been very, very lucky, but luck doesn’t come on the couch. You have to get off the couch to seek that luck. And that gave me the street.
Q: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?
A: Many things happened to me. From the first time I went to play, a musician Lucitas Puentes saw me, helped me and instructed me, I was a very beginner. He gave me a guitar and helped me a lot; while other musicians threatened me with knives and spit on me and everything and then the police, just to play with all the papers that more than 5 municipal patrols stopped to fine.
Q: Any positive anecdote you always remember?
A: I played in Preciados once when it was still playable there. at first not many people stopped but one day just a homeless guy with a labrador was sitting in front of me and i kept playing. When I was done, this homeless guy came up to me and put everything he had done that day into my guitar case for me. I said to him, “No, man, what are you doing? Please. No, no, no.” He told me that in all the time he had lived on the streets, this was the only time he felt like he belonged in the world again. He told me that no one looks at the people on the street or talks to them and there comes a time when they feel invisible. That thanks to this mini-concert, he felt himself in society again. I’m sticking with that.
Q: Has your family always supported you?
A: My parents in the beginning… Well, I did everything on the street in secret: I got my permit and bought the equipment without them knowing. And suddenly one day, when he was 15, his son came to them and said, “Hey, I’m going to play in the street.” They told me no, that I was crazy, but I left anyway, as I said before, I am very stubborn. They told me no, I went and started playing and I saw two people with raincoats, hats covered with scarves and I saw that my parents had come to spy on me and see how I was doing. When they saw that it was going well, they encouraged me. Now they’re on me.
We will be posting very soon 40 things about Charlie USG, by Charlie USGto get to know this rising artist a little better who has a lot to say… You can’t miss him!