Mississippi native and Berklee College of Music graduate Charlie Worsham has been in the studio, prepping for his sophomore album for Warner Bros. Records.
MusicRow caught up with the triple-threat singer, songwriter and guitarist to discuss digital music, international touring, and other topics.
On songwriting with Ryan Tyndell:
I feel as if he and I are just now hitting our stride. If it’s your best friend, you don’t necessarily have that pressure to finish a song that day, because its not going to be six months before you can get back in a room together.
I think it is a really tough time to be a staff writer in Nashville. Obviously there’s not a lot of money, unless you get the single. Therefore, there is a lot of pressure on every staff writer’s back to deliver a single and that’s not an easy set of marching orders.
On Writing For His Debut Album, 2013’s Rubberband:
I’m so proud of that first record and the songs on it. That record was written and recorded over time, which was a completely different experience than the one I’m in the middle of now, partly because we made about half of the [first] record before I had record deal with Warner Bros.
There were two separate sessions at Omni and we cut four or five songs in each of those sessions. Then we plugged acoustics into amps and we put strange mic ideas around the sound, and we tinkered with it a lot. I got a record deal and the budget became easier to work with. We had three days at RCA Studio A and we were a little bit drunk with opportunity, I guess.
All of this happened over the course of a few years, so my life was a bit of a roller coaster then, just in terms of learning about record label marketing and promotion. It was a lot to take in at once.
I know Spotify is a hot topic, but I am a fan of Spotify. I pay for premium and would gladly pay more. I think that’s where it’s going and where I hope it goes. I had Napster for a couple of years. People love music and they are going to go where they can find music. It is not about whether they are having to pay for it or not, so much as what makes the most sense for a music fan. If I remember correctly with Napster you could make your own playlist and burn CDs. Then iTunes came along and it was the perfect platform in that time and place and I miss the old iTunes. Sorry, Apple, I do.
I think at the end of the day, we want our music. I’ve read as much as I can on it. I do think Spotify is trying. I don’t think they completely grasp the difficult situation songwriters and publishers are in and they need to. I look to NSAI and other organizations who do great work for us and our future. It’s this great experiment we’re all in right now and for me, I have three playlists I’m updating all the time.
When they listen to my playlists of those 20 songs, it’s a chance for me to be one cog in the tastemaker gatekeeper wheel. And that’s where I think we are going. And I challenge my fellow artists, and anyone who has an audience, to look at Spotify and their presence on it as a chance to be a gatekeeper and tastemaker of tomorrow. You can totally fight for music you love by giving it a push. And that’s an Instagram thing, a Spotify thing, it’s calling your buddy … it’s my soapbox right now. If we lead with the music, the rest will fall into place. Leave it to the lawyers and politicians. We are never going to compete with the lobbyists on the other side who have armies of lawyers and money, but we have the music and they don’t.
On His Upcoming Acoustic Tour of the UK in November:
I’ve been working on running my acoustic through a small amplifier with a loop pedal, and last night I tried the same approach with an electric — I’ve opened Pandora’s box. It’s a great way to break down songs I’m in the middle of writing or change up the dynamic of older songs. I’m very excited to try that on a stage on the other side of the ocean.
My mom was a teacher, and she felt that travel equals education. I’ve been to England half a dozen times and spent a summer at Cambridge University. It’s an inspiring place. It’s also where I had Indian food for the first time, and I ordered it 5 hot. I learned that lesson the hard way.