Raindazed Blogspot reviews “The Best Damn Ride”

♫ Artist to Watch: Charlie Leavy – “The Way Life Is” from her debut EP “The Best Damn Ride” (Listen + Interview) 09/03/2014

Oh you think you’re so clever when you walk around the town
Let me tell you why everyone’s looking down
It’s cos you’re looking so dumb when you make a sound
Oh you’re throwing out words that were better left unsaid

Most 17 year olds are just starting to try to figure out what path they want to take and UK artist Charlie Leavy may be too but, one thing is sure, hers will lead down the road to music.

The talented singer, songwriter and guitarist just released an impressive EP titled ‘The Best Damn Ride” on August 1st and is gearing up to take her career on an incredible ride, indeed.

The first single off the EP, “The Way Life Is”, showcases her melodic voice and clever catchy lyrics like, ‘But it’s not just you making havoc; untamed, uncurled. You’re insignificant, just look at the wider world.”

Charlie describes her music as acoustic pop, with a bit of a folky, country feel and I’d have to agree. It’s a different, fun and refreshing sound and I really look forward to her music making it here to the US radio stations.

You don’t have to wait for that to hear her latest single ‘The Way Life Is’. You can check it below along with our interview with Charlie as part of our Indie Spotlight Series.

Take a listen and let me know what you think. Also, be sure to support our young indie talents and head over to iTunes to purchase Charlie’s debut EP “The Best Damn Ride”. As a bonus, head over to her soundcloud page to hear some great tunes that are not on the EP and download them for free.

Interview w/singer & songwriter Charlie Leavy

Describe your music forthose who have never heard it.

This is my first “release” as such. I have written nearly 100 songs and really struggled to decide which songs to include on mu first EP so this definitely won’t be my last!

I write about things that affect me. Things I see; experience or hear about. Whether in person; from friends and family or on the news. These all end up in my music to some degree and at some point.

My EP, “The Best Damn Ride” is a blend of acoustic folky pop, with hints of country, funk and some synth/guitar pop. A real mix you might say.

Read more at http://arainofthought.blogspot.com/2014/09/artist-to-watch-charlie-leavy-way-life-is-from-her-debut-ep-the-best-damn-ride-interview.html#k9BidvvHsR44vXbt.99

Tell us about your new song “The Way of Life”

“The Way Life Is” is the first track on my EP and I wrote it because I think it’s about time people realised that there are bigger issues and concerns in the world besides whom each celebrity is dating and all of the stupid scandals in the Hollywood world.


Also, because the troublemaking people of today have no respect for anything and think they’re the royalty of the world as they create havoc while carrying weapons. We have bigger things to be dealing with than people who have no respect, who could easily take a look at their life and think “wait a second, I’m better than this.”


It frustrates me how change could be within our grasp if people stopped being so closed-minded and started to think about not only life now, but life for future generations too.

What inspired you to pursue music?

I have always liked singing and tried out for all the school musicals. However, I had no skills with any instrument. At Christmas when I was 14, I was visiting relatives, bored and messing around with an old keyboard and managed to pick out 7 or 8 Christmas songs.


My Grandad heard me and said would I like an old electric guitar of his to play with. He gave me it and about 3 months later I was writing basic songs on the keyboard and the guitar. Then my Dad bought me my first electro-acoustic guitar that I then gigged with for about 18 months. I now have an amazing Martin and play bass & Ukulele as well.


Who is your favourite artist?

Ooh, this is hard. I am listening to a lot of KPOP (Korean Pop music) at the moment, but I would guess – myself included – that Ed Sheeran would feature as a lot of acoustic singer songwriters’ favourite artist or at least one of them.


However, if I had to choose one artist then it would be Carole King. Tapestry is a masterpiece of making the complicated seem simple, when in actual fact, it is really complicated. She just makes it seem so easy.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far?

I would say that creating my first EP and getting out there to be actually played on the radio, is my biggest musical accomplishment, followed closely by playing the Oxford O2 academy which was an amazing experience.


What has been your biggest challenge?

Well I am only 17yo, so I doubt I have faced anywhere near my biggest challenge yet. Although, if I had to choose one, I would say “Being taken seriously as a young androgynous female”. Just because I don’t confirm to society’s norms, doesn’t mean I don’t merit my place in life.


What’s your career goal for the year?

Easy. I set myself a target of 52 gigs in 2014 and as of the end of August, I have performed 45, with another 5 already booked. Fingers crossed and I will easily hit the 52. They haven’t been all local either, I have gigged all over the UK this year and also I am still at school.

Connect with Charlie Leavy


Jacqueline Cassell from entertwine.com

By  on Sep 1, 2014

Charlie Leavy - Oxford O2 - 2 (low res)
Charlie Leavy, a young female singer/songwriter from across the pond in the UK is on the fast track of her career. Charlie is currently busy gigging throughout the UK promoting her most recent EP release, “The Best Damn Ride.”   She mostly performs her original acoustic music in and around Oxfordshire and has performed close to 100 gigs within the last 20 months. Since the EP release in August, Charlie has been busy keeping the hype of her new EP alive – we caught up with her to ask her how the reception has been, and what she has planned next!

Entertwine: Could you give us some insight into your musical background? What inspired you to begin creating music in general? 

Charlie Leavy: I have always sung. When I say “always”, I mean, ever since I can remember, I have sung songs from the radio and wanted to be part of the school musicals. When I was 14, we were at a relative’s house for Christmas and I was playing with an old keyboard. After a few days, I have picked out 7 or 8 Christmas songs and learnt the words. A couple of months later I was writing my first songs on that keyboard. My Grandad heard me singing some covers and a few original songs and offered me his old electric guitar to learn. I was then asked to join a school band, but on bass, so my Dad bought me a cheap bass and I joined a couple of bands. But I always enjoyed the solo creativity and performing, so eventually, me, my bass, my keyboards, my electric and acoustic guitars and a newly acquired ukulele went solo.

ET: What encouraged you to begin performing live so frequently?

CL: Initially (obviously), I gigged infrequently, but as more and more people started asking me to gig it really took a life of its own. I never consciously decided to gig more, but as I have never really been nervous I never really said no. Now I actively seek out gigs and when I miss a week without gigging, something feels like it is missing.

ET: What can you tell us about your local music scene? What about the state of music in the United Kingdom in general? What are some of your favourite places to play, and why?

CL: My two main scenes are Yorkshire and Oxfordshire. Both have fantastic and thriving music scenes in Leeds and Oxford. A few promoters have taken me under their wing (so to speak) and given me loads of gigs, culminating in an opening set at the Oxford 02 Academy, which has been a highlight of my gigs so far.

ET: What life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of your debut EP “The Best Damn Ride”? Can you walk us through the album and tell us about each song’s meaning or significance?

CL: I didn’t set out to record an EP. Each track was written during a period of time where I wrote around 30+ songs. I then wrote a song for Oxfam aged 16 which won a national competition and I was asked to record it in a local studio in Bradford. It was at this studio that I first wondered whether I might record an EP. The studio is basic, but large and not posh. It is the top floor of an old stone mill and I loved the feel of it from the very first moment I started to record that Oxfam track.

When I started to record the EP, I didn’t decide on which 5 tracks initially. I chose each track as I went along, based on how I felt at the time and when each was complete, I then chose the next track. The tracks were already written and already performed live, so I had a feel for them that wasn’t just based on how they looked on paper & sounded in my bedroom.

I mostly (but not always) write songs based on things I experience; see or hear around me; on the news or things my friends and family experience. These sometimes take weeks or months, but the major things will eventually filter into my songs.

Track 1: The Way life Is – I wrote this song because I think it’s about time people realised that there are bigger issues and concerns in the world besides whom each celebrity is dating and all of the stupid scandals in the Hollywood world. Also, because the troublemaking people of today have no respect for anything and think they’re the royalty of the world as they create havoc while carrying weapons. We have bigger things to be dealing with than people who have no respect, who could easily take a look at their life and think “wait a second, I’m better than this.” It angers me how change could be within our grasp if people stopped being so closed-minded and started to think about not only life now, but life for future generations too.

Track 2: Tongue Tied – No great hidden meaning to this song. This is one of those upbeat pop songs, the kind that I find are really easy and enjoyable to write. Basically, I just really liked the title ‘Tongue Tied’ and so I constructed a song. I think it was written in less than an hour. The original version also had a ukulele in the quiet chorus after the middle.

Track 3: Summer’s Day Runaway – I wrote this after something really good had happened, though I don’t remember what it was now. I do remember a few things though. I remember feeling quite spontaneous and that forms the desire in the song and the weather was blissfully warm outside with the sun was shining on my back as I was writing. Ah the good life.

Track 4: Falter Baby – This isn’t a personal experience – I wrote this about an experience a close friend has and is about when you’ve started to become close to the person you like, but their actions can sometimes be confusing as to whether they actually feel the same way about you.

Track 5: Running My Mouth – This is one of those unfortunate experiences you have in life and is definitely one of mine! I accidentally spoke without thinking and upset my best friend. I wrote the song as a way to express the frustration I was feeling towards myself, and helped me to understand that everyone says stupid things sometimes, but with a little time and compassion everything can be sorted out.

ET: Can you tell us also about the two live takes you included on the album?

CL: Why Are You Waiting and Wearing Your Kiss are two of my favourite lives songs to perform and did consider adding them as more produced versions as part of the original five tracks, but I knew I wanted to add two live tracks and they seemed to fit that purpose better than any of my other tracks.

Why Are You Waiting is the story of a relationship that has happened too early, with no         time to live life and gain the experience necessary to make it work properly. So, why are you waiting, I’ve said you need to go, so please just go.

Wearing Your Kiss tells a slightly different story of a kiss that perhaps shouldn’t have happened but did and what should I think about that kiss.

ET: What was it like working with Luke Haran, John Fitzpatrick, and Prospect Studios? What musical equipment was used in the making of this record? Is that consistent with what you generally use live?

CL: Luke is amazing. He is in his 20’s and a talented musician, as well as the owner of the studio. He made the whole experience easy for me and he did seem to know my music and how I felt I wanted it to sound. Luke was the only person, I worked with in the studio, other than my Dad doing a little whistling! Luke brought John in as felt he needed them.

When I perform live I will mainly be just me and my Martin. I do occasionally also gig with an electric and an electric tenor ukulele, although I have my heart set on a hollow body Gretsch 5420T for my 18th, so I feel that could be as important to my gigging as my Martin in the future.

Charlie Leavy - Oxford O2 - 1 (low res)

ET: You’ve performed nearly 100 gigs in the past twenty months; what has kept you motivated during this time? 

CL: I just love gigging. I never have to make myself stand up and sing in front of people.

ET: How are you able to keep up with your studies being that you play so many live shows?

CL: Averaging 1 gig per week, hasn’t really affected my ability to study. My studies come first.   When I am happy that I have completed my homework to the required standard and have    then completed enough revision, only then will I write or practice in my bedroom.

ET: You’ve obviously been able to observe a number of different music scenes and areas during the many times you’ve performed around the United Kingdom; what are your favourite aspects of certain places? Has there been anything you’ve seen or experienced that you really didn’t like?

CL: I love festivals! Attending to watch other bands and also performing. This is my favourite type of venue. In a pub or club, you might get anywhere from 5 to 50 people watching you I’ve not been lucky enough to play a main stage at a large festival, but either on the main stage at a small festival or a small stage at a large festival you can have hundreds of people watching you!

Sometimes for whatever reason you can perform in front of only a few people in a pub or club. This can be a little disheartening, but I always perform as if there are thousands watching me.

ET: Is it true that you wrote nearly 100 songs before deciding on five to release as a debut EP?

CL: I think the reality is closer to 150+, but I only recorded about 100 or so in my bedroom as demos. The rest I deemed as not ready or not good enough. Some of those “not ready” tracks do eventually get recorded in my bedroom, but sometimes they might take months or a year to mature enough in my mind to turn them from “also rans” to a demo.

Connect With Charlie Leavy:


In conversation with Jessica Biggs from Musicvein

Charlie Leavy in conversation with Musicvein


I first heard of the talented, up and coming Charlie Leavy when I reviewed her single ‘The Way Life Is‘ for  website Chartburst.

 What captured me about this young lady was the powerful thought-evoking lyrics she wrote set against the  delicate simplistic backdrop of acoustic guitar, the youthfulness in her voice but her acute social awareness. All of  this led me to getting in touch with Charlie and here our conversation begins.

 “…Carole King, I am in love with the way she writes…”

MV: Who would you say your biggest influences are and how do you think they’ve influenced your style?

CL: My influences are mainly artists like Ed Sheeran and Carole King. Ed Sheeran because I find that our writing styles are quite similar and I love the way his lyrics are original and meaningful – no two of his songs are the same. I think I am like that, I don’t believe that any of my songs are too similar, my lyrics come from the heart or from the passion I have in something  – just like his.

With Carole King, I am in love with the way she writes, her music is incredible! Although it’s sometimes simple, I often think that’s what makes it all the more effective. I now understand (through Carole) that sometimes less is more. Before I was introduced to her music I would dream of every song of mine having all the band instruments and loads of complicated parts, but then I realised that while it’s good for some songs, often a simple song can be the one that people remember.

MV: At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a musician?

CL: I think ever since I was little I wanted to be a singer. I couldn’t play any instruments until I was 12 so I didn’t think of myself as being a musician until then. I participated in little things such as ‘Rock Club’ in my primary school – where the leaders would try to teach us about music. Then as I grew, I auditioned for all school plays because I loved singing on the stage.

Right now I play guitar, piano, bass and Ukulele. I taught myself piano at the age of 13, I had a little 3 octave keyboard from which I would learn the demo tracks by ear until I realised that I could learn my favourite songs from tutorials on Youtube and chord websites! I’ve been playing guitar since I turned 15 – my granddad gave me an electric guitar and I decided to learn. With the Uke, I’ve only been playing for about 6 months or so, I got one for my 16th birthday.

MV: How does the creative process begin for you? Do the lyrics come first or the melody?

CL: When writing it very much depends on my mood. Some days it will be the lyrics first, other days it will be the melody. I don’t sit down and go “I’m going to write a song”, usually something comes to me whether it be a tune or some lyrics as I’m going about my daily activities, then I write the song when I’m home with my guitar or piano. ‘Player 2′ was written on a walk to school. I  had the melody and a lot of the lyrics and just had to retain the information and tune until I got home and was able to work out the chords. 

“…The first time I had one of my songs played, I just squealed…”

MV: Your songs are being played on the Radio, How does that feel to you?

CL: It feels unreal! The first time I had one of my songs played, I just squealed and then sat in awe! It feels surreal because it’s hard to imagine that there are actually other people listening to what the presenter is saying about you and your song. It feels weird to know people might be sat there thinking “This is catchy” and then becoming interested in my music. I also feel very grateful that I have had the opportunity to be played.

MV: So, are you in the process of making an album?

CL: I’m not currently working on an album, I’m just writing for me and if people like what I write then that’s a very flattering bonus. I have been asked by a US based producer if I wanted to work on a 4 track EP – we’ll see how that goes.

“…Love to work with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters…”

MV: Who would you like to work with in the future?

CL: Ed Sheeran! (she says without hesitation) that would be my ideal collaboration. I would also love to work with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters – I think he would have so much great advice that I could learn from.

MV: What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

CL: I can’t pick a highlight – I’m tied between 2! It’s got be both having my song, “Summer’s Day Runaway”, played on the radio and playing at the Westfield Shopping Centre in London a few weeks ago.

When my song was played on the Mark Forrest evening show, it was broadcast on 37 radio stations across Britain and the Channel Islands. I got a message from Mark on my facebook page saying it was going to be played! Almost the whole family was sat in the living room in silence just listening. It was so cool! 

When I played at Westfield, in London, I honestly don’t think I have ever smiled as much on stage as I had then. It was probably one of my favourite performances I’ve ever done because I was just so happy. I looked into the audience and there were people smiling back at me and tapping their feet, it was such a good feeling.

“…Touring would be an amazing experience.”

MV: What are your plans for 2013?

CL: To keep writing and recording to the best of my ability and to gig more to gain exposure and valuable experience. I hope that more people find my music and like it, I dream of being able to release an album one day and maybe even tour. Touring would be an amazing experience.

To find out more about Charlie Leavy and her music visit her website

Charlie Leavy in conversation with Musicvein

Eric Wong from MVRemix interview

I stumbled upon a Soundcloud account a while back. It belonged to a prolific songwriter from the United Kingdom. Her name is Charlie. She is sixteen. I suspect she have a bit of genius about her. When I was sixteen years old, I had trouble holding major seconds in vocal harmony. I could play four chords on guitar, and my fingers were still getting raw from practice. At sixteen, Charlie has written well over fifty songs, and shows no sign of slowing down. When I last checked in with her, she informed me that in a six day period, she wrote and recorded fourteen songs. Her music can be found here.


MVRemix: How many songs have you actually written?

 Charlie Leavy: I have the lyrics to 55 of my songs on my computer but I have actually written quite a few more in the past that would bring the total up to about 65.


MVRemix: What inspired you to play music, and what inspired you to write your own music?

 Charlie Leavy: I was inspired to play music when I was very little. I loved singing at home, then I tried out for school plays in primary school and ended up getting a main part in all of them. My love for music developed on from there. I got a small 3 octave keyboard when I was about 8 and started to teach myself, and then I got a larger 6 octave keyboard at about age 11/12 which I loved. I just had a huge passion for music which made me want to learn instruments and sing.

Then for the inspiration for writing songs: I always, from a very young age, made up little songs in my head which I loved doing. Then, I wrote my first song which I named ‘Blank Canvas’ when I was 12 for one of my best friends who was really upset over a boyfriend. Song writing just progressed from there. I loved writing my first song, and singing it after so I just kept writing and I haven’t stopped to this day!


MVRemix: You mentioned you’ve played in bands before. Tell me about them. Do you write songs for those bands as well?

Charlie Leavy: I’ve been in a few bands: The Last Laughs, The Alternatives and Atlas. In the Last Laughs I was just the lead singer and we stayed together for about half a year. We played a gig at a pub and a set for St. George’s Day in the middle of my town. We also did a few school concerts, it was a fun time while it lasted! We wrote one song called ‘That Love Song’, our guitarist wrote the chords and me and our keyboard player wrote the melody and I wrote the lyrics. Then The Alternatives didn’t get nearly as far, we didn’t play anywhere, just rehearsed. And finally, the last band I was in: Atlas. We were a four piece with a lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, drummer and I was the lead singer and bassist. This band lasted the longest out of all 3, we didn’t write any songs together but we did have 2 of mine in our set: ‘Be Mine’ and ‘Hello Hello’. We played a couple of pub gigs and a small charity festival too.


MVRemix: What is your set-up?

Charlie Leavy: My set up is in my bedroom. I have a laptop which has Avid Pro Tools software on. I use the Pro Tools Audio Interface plugged into both my laptop and a Studio V3 Tube MP pre-amp. I then plug my instrument/mic into the pre-amp. I have a mic stand which the mic sits in and I also have a pop filter which I use.


MVRemix: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Charlie Leavy: I draw my inspiration from just about everything. My experiences and feelings, friends’ experiences and feelings, nature, the way people are, sleeping habits seem to be a common occurrence too. I love to take things from different angles and write about what I see in the natural world, then link it to a feeling or an experience. I also am inspired by writing with a message. Quite a few of my songs, (e.g: Good Enough and Who Are You), convey a positive message about loving yourself because you’re you and that’s something I truly believe. I think that way too many people dislike themselves and hate their differences, and that needs to stop. Uniqueness is there for a reason.


MVRemix: Tell me about your songwriting process.

Charlie Leavy: My song writing process varies significantly with each song. For the most part though, I write in my bedroom with a wordpad document open on my laptop. There are exceptions though, for instance: ‘Player 2′ was written on the way up to school and ‘Picture Of You’ was written during Form time at school in my planner. I just try to retain the melody that I’ve thought up until I get home and I can work out which chords I should play. Sometimes I write because I’ve found an interesting melody or some gorgeous chords, other times it’s because I’ve experienced/seen someone experience something that I’m inspired to write about, other times it’s simply because I thought up a few lyrics that I feel like writing a song about.


MVRemix: You’ve done most of your recordings on your own. Do you prefer the do-it-yourself method, or do you hope to find a label one of these days?

Charlie Leavy: I love recording at home. It feels like a mini project and I feel so great when I finish. However, I would definitely like to find a label in the future. I feel like with more professional recordings I could do so much more – in my room I am limited. In a studio I could add drums if I wanted or strings, etc and the tracks could be mixed a lot better since I’m still a beginner at that sort of stuff.


MVRemix: Do you see yourself studying music at the university level, or would you prefer to hit the road and tour your own material?

Charlie Leavy: I actually see myself studying Economics at university, it’s another passion of mine. Music is my ultimate passion though, so, I may study Music at university if it looks like I’m going to make it somewhere. I feel like I need something to fall back on if nothing happens for me regarding Music in the future. However, I would love to tour. If there are ears which want to listen to my voice, my voice will get there. I think touring would be incredible and so fun to do, especially because performing is one of my favourite things ever.


MVRemix: What direction do you want to take your music in the next few years?

Charlie Leavy: In the next few years I’d love to have recorded an album of professional quality in a studio. I’d love to be doing gigs a few nights a week too. I’d also love to experiment with some more collaborations. I think my some of my music will stay I the acoustic genre, but I think that some of my tracks will be a full band because that would be amazing to work on! Also, I will definitely continue to write with all sorts of influences like pop, folk, country and rock.


MVRemix: Any thoughts, comments, questions, jokes or manifestos you’d like to leave us with? 

Charlie Leavy: Yes, I’d like to say thanks for this interview! It’s been really fun to do and something which is a great piece of advice…Two little words; be you.



written by

Eric is a writer from San Francisco. Being Asian, he was forcibly inducted into classical music and choirs at a young age. So clearly, he knows what he’s talking about.