By late 2019, Charly Reynolds was gaining steam in Music City. She had been in Nashville for over a year and had two singles that not only established her as an artist to watch, they had the streaming numbers to back it up. Instead of continuing to ride that momentum, Reynolds did what may have seemed impossible to do ahead of her next release.
She waited for the right song to come. 14 months later, it did, in the form of her single “Half of It,” a single that served as a “rebrand” for the Florida native and saw her becoming comfortable with being vulnerable in her music. Three months later came “Hey Hypocrite,” which charted at number 33 on the iTunes country singles chart and more than picked up where “Half of It” left off. Fast forward to the end of April and Reynolds is preparing to release a single that has all the makings of a summer anthem, “Bs I Need,” set for release on April 30th.
We chatted with Reynolds about her early start in music, making her move to Music City, the success she’s had so far, rebranding, what listeners can expect from “Bs I Need,” her plans for the rest of the year and more!
Pro Country: Your bio mentions that you showed a very early interest in music, even performing The National Anthem in kindergarten. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life?
Charly Reynolds: Yes, even when I was younger, I was always drawn to music. In Disney movies, I always danced around the room singing all the songs, and it was my favorite thing to do. I have a musical family, as everyone loves music and can sing a bit, so I think my family definitely had a huge influence on music being such a big part of my life. I then started listening to Broadway musicals, which became my next favorite thing around the age of eight, and honestly, it still is! If I could go back, one thing I would do is participate in theatre.
PC: At what point did that early interest in music translate into you wanting to/realizing you could pursue it as a career?
CR: I knew I wanted to pursue it, but it became the big question early on in my senior year when deciding what was next for my life. I felt so much pressure to have to go to college. Not from my family, but from society. So I planned to go to the University of Alabama to go into Broadcast Journalism in hopes to one day become a news anchor. But when I had to make the final decision, I decided that college is something that will always be available if I wanted to pursue that down the road, but chasing my dream doesn’t come around every day. So here I am now living in Nashville!
PC: You left Florida and moved to Nashville in June of 2018, just two weeks after graduating high school. What was the move like for you and how were you able to immerse yourself with the scene?
CR: Moving to Nashville was such a mix of emotions. I was so excited, scared, nervous, happy and in shock honestly! Being 18 when I moved here, I couldn’t really go to too many things, and it was a challenge for me to meet people. I actually worked at Chick-Fil-A in Spring Hill for eight months, and that was how I started at least having a little community around! I didn’t know hardly anyone in music, and it took me a good six months before I found myself actually meeting people, co-writing and starting to perform a little here and there. Looking back, it is so crazy to me how many people I have met and collaborated with over the last two and a half years. God has blessed me with a great circle of friends and life here.
PC: Your single “Shelby’s Song” was nominated for and won “Best in Country” at the Hollywood Music and Media Awards in 2019. What did it mean to you to have the song recognized in that way in a category with seven other nominees?
CR: This was the craziest feeling! Just being nominated was so exciting. I truly did not think I was going to win the award, I mean I really had no idea. So when they called my name, I was in shock, and my parents and I were so excited! I went up there not knowing what to say at all, and I think I blacked out from the excitement of walking up to that stage and receiving my first award in music. Now I get to look at it sitting on my shelf every day and be reminded that hard work pays off!
PC: While “Shelby’s Song” tackled the heavy subject matter of divorce told from a mother’s perspective, its follow up single, “We Need to Talk” is a more lighthearted, fun tune. Is it at all important for you to have that certain sonic and thematic versatility between releases?
CR: It is important for me to have all different vibes. But honestly, I don’t always look for a certain tempo or feel when writing a song; I just have the idea and write it as I think it should be written. I love all types of music, and for me, sometimes I want upbeat hype music, but sometimes I want to hear a sad story being told in a song. That’s what is so incredible about songwriting; you write what you feel in the moment.
PC: Prior to the release of your single “Half of It,” you took more than a year between releases to “rebrand” and wait to release the right song. What made you feel that “Half of It” was the right song to return with, and what went into your artistic rebranding?
CR: When taking a break from releasing music, I was waiting for the right song to come back with. I knew I would know what that song was when writing it, and up until that moment, I hadn’t had that feeling. I loved all the songs I was writing, but wasn’t feeling that they were what I wanted to release. Before writing “Half of It,” I was with my best friend Nicole and her mom Lisa and we were enjoying wine and having a deep, honest conversation, and I brought up how sometimes it is hard to go on social media and act like everything is fine when I definitely don’t have my life together and the pressures of wanting people to think that I do. People only see that half that is shown, not behind closed doors. That night, Nicole spent the night and we started writing it at 1a.m., and I knew after just having the chorus, it would be my next single. It was real, raw and unapologetically me.
PC: “Half of It” has earned nearly 70,000 Spotify streams in just six months since its release. What do you think it is about that song that has allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has? Did that validate the time you took to hone in on your artistic identity?
CR: I think because it is so real and relatable, people can connect to the song. Everyone loves a good breakup song, love song or drinking song, but sometimes you need a song to speak to you. I think “Half of It” does a good job of assuring you that you’re going to be okay, even if you don’t have it all together all the time and remembering that you only see the half of peoples’ lives that they show you as well.
CR: It is vulnerable, and it has taken me a long time to realize that being vulnerable is okay, it’s not embarrassing or weak; it is healthy. I didn’t learn this until quarantine. I never thought when others were vulnerable with me that they were being weak, but I always felt that way about myself until now. It is still hard for me to be vulnerable and talk about my feelings, but I am working on it, and writing and releasing “Half of It” really helped me a lot with that.
PC: You released your single “Hey Hypocrite” in February, which climbed to number 33 on the iTunes Country Songs chart. What was it like to tangibly see the support you received with the song and to see your name and song among the biggest names in the genre?
CR: This was such an incredible feeling! I was so stoked to see my song and my name next to artists such as Morgan Wallen, Blake Shelton, Lainey Wilson, Tim McGraw and more! I just felt so blessed to have the support that I do from my friends, family and fans. I don’t even think they know how much their pre-orders and pre-saves mean to me as a person, and an artist. Being an independent artist it can be so hard to get your name out there, but I am blessed to have the support that I do.
PC: You’re set to release your next single, “Bs I Need” on April 30. What information can you give about the song? What can listeners expect to hear?
CR: I can’t wait for this one. My friend Brad Hutsell and I wrote “Bs I Need” almost two years ago now, and I was going to release it last summer, but COVID happened and I got stuck in Orlando, FL, so it never happened. But it is a summer song, so I had to wait for this summer! When writing it, Brad and I were talking about how Tennessee doesn’t have a beach and how we never realized how spoiled growing up in Florida is when you have the beach so close. I had a horrible morning before going over to write and mentioned how a beach day would’ve been ideal because of the morning I’d had. I had the title and we turned it into one of my favorite songs I’ve written! You can expect to hear a song that will make you feel like you’re on vacation and want a margarita in your hand!
PC: With live performances largely being cancelled over the last year and a half, what have you done to stay busy and creative? What was the adjustment like for you?
CR: It was definitely an adjustment. I was in Florida for three months before coming back and really didn’t know what to expect. There weren’t many shows available when I first came back, so I mostly set up co-writes and that is what I did until I started getting more gig opportunities in October. COVID was so hard on everyone, and I am so glad to see our country opening back up again and live music happening everywhere!
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?
CR: You will hopefully see lots of performance dates on the calendar and more singles to come. Maybe even an EP later in the year, but that’s all the details on that I will give 😉
**Charly’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**