Last week was an exciting one for Charlie Houston, ArtSci ’23, who got to perform with and play for her friends at The Mansion, the beloved live music venue.
The Toronto-based artist has received plenty of recognition for her indie-house melodies in recent years. Having debuted a series of EPs and her first album in October 2022, the soon-to-be graduate is more excited than ever to focus solely on her music in a few months.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was a kid. My dad taught me a lot of classic rock songs that we’d play together, but I was never really into the idea of covering songs,” Houston told The Journal. “I was immediately very interested and amazed by the idea of being able to play to my own music.”
Nothing else has ever excited Houston nearly as much as music, though she didn’t know what pursuing a career in it would entail. Though her parents have always been supportive, going to university was not to be debated.
“I started my undergrad at the Clive Davis Institute at NYU for music production, but I ended up having to leave after first year,” Houston said, thinking back to her time back at home before reapplying the next fall to Canadian schools.
“[While in Toronto] I continued making music myself, not really knowing what I was doing or the direction I was going. I found a good group of people making music in the city—specifically my current main producer, Chris Young.”
Soon after working with Young to release their work, Houston’s songs were published by Arts and Crafts, an independent label in Toronto that signed her after her first year at Queen’s.
Music serves as a source of expression for Houston, and her choice to major in philosophy came from a desire to have the existential and anxious questions she had answered.
“I did not [have those questions answered] but in my newer style of writing I am trying to be more intentional in what I put in my songs. I do notice some things I learned in my undergrad seeping their way into my songwriting which mayjust be like bigger words because I’m reading a lot more,” Houston joked.
When asked how she would describe her sound, she told The Journal she never really knows what to say when asked that. “I feel like a lot of artists are currently saying that genres are becoming less and less meaningful and defined.”
As for what’s next for Houston, she’ll be turning her attention to an album she’s been in the process of working on once graduates this year.
“I’m really excited to flesh out the ideas I’ve been chipping away at.”
house, indie, Music, The Mansion
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