“Awakening,” released on April 1, is the latest single by Sherwood Park’s local pop/R&B/soul artist Nuela Charles. Reminiscent of cruising down the highway on a summer road trip, the single provides some much-needed uplifting and empowering vibes.
The Gateway sat down with Charles to discuss “Awakening,” female empowerment, her recent win of the HER music award, and the moment she knew she ‘made it’ as an artist.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
The Gateway: Congratulations on winning the 2022 HER Music Awards! What did that win mean for you?
Nuela Charles: It’s very special because when the award ceremony happened and I actually got to meet the women who had the really hard job of selecting the winners, it really just made me feel so much more grateful for that opportunity because they’re currently working in the industry. They’re in bands, they’re successful in their own right, and it just meant a lot hearing them say all these wonderful things about me. Sometimes as an independent [artist] you’re in your own head;, you’re working solo most of the time so you have no no way to gauge if what you’re doing is actually resonating with people. Getting that award meant that people are watching, they’re paying attention, and they appreciate the things that I’m doing.
Q: You just dropped your latest single “Awakening” on April 1. The lyrics are about a woman who’s waking up to her power. How did you come up with that concept?
Charles: For myself it was about my time in the industry, 10 years coming up now, and having been in situations where I’ve had men tell me that they created [the song], they wrote the words for me or they came up with all of the melodies, and I’m just sitting there like “what are you talking about?”
“Awakening” for me was [about] taking the reins back and just saying, listen, I’m here, I know what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let people lower me or dim my own shine or subconsciously dim myself for the benefit of other people. So, personally that’s what it’s about, but universally I think there’s a message in there for everyone to kind of just let your light shine and be proud of who you are.
Q: Is there one show, album release, or moment that really defined your career?
Charles: Oh, I mean, getting nominated for back-to-back Junos three times was pretty epic. But I will say, I’ve had a lot of music placed on film and television and the one that stuck with me to this day is on ESPN one of my songs was used in an NFL teaser, like a trailer montage with the Green Bay Packers. I still remember being a kid watching football with my dad. He loved the Dallas Cowboys and they always had these epic montages with cut together scenes of people getting knocked over, touchdowns, long passes and I always wanted one of those and when it happened I was like “I made it!” Like, this is it. If I never get another thing again, I’ll be fine because I got the NFL and it was sick!
Q: What can we expect from you in the near future?
Charles: I’m going to be putting out a lot more music, that’s for sure. [I’m] announcing some exciting things [in] a month or two, [including the] next single in May. And just pumping out the music, music videos, all of that fun stuff, and just sharing more of Nuela Charles.