Charlie Keller is a singer songwriter from Byron Bay. He describes his songs as alternative folk pop. “I write about love affairs between insects, illicit liaisons between Kings and Queens, and the contemplations of old ladies in a nursing home,” Charlie says.
Charlie began playing guitar at 11, learning a repertoire of Christian songs from an ex-reverend who was the only music teacher in his birth town of Inverell in North-Western NSW.
During a surfing trip to Costa Rica when he was 21, Charlie stumbled across songwriting. “As I was falling asleep one night, a song started going around my head that I’d never heard before,” says Charlie. “Since then, most of my songs have come that way – unexpectedly and fully formed. I just have to make sure I catch it before it passes, and - just in case - I always check that I didn't hear the song at the pub the night before.”
On the advice of his friend, ARIA Producer of the Year (2001) Steve James (The Screaming Jets, Sex Pistols), Charlie spent a year dedicating his time to songwriting and music. He's been writing songs ever since.
Charlie was a finalist in the MusicOz Singer/Songwriter Awards with his song The Girl From Kosovo, the story of an asylum seeker struggling to fit into the Australian community. He performed The Girl From Kosovo at Brisbane’s Pinkenba Detention Centre as part of the Refugee Action Collective.
He was also a finalist in the UK Songwriting Competition 2013 for Hold Me.
Charlie creates quirky film clips that add a new dimension to his music. “I always seek out an awesome creative team to make clips that reflect the song's story, and sometimes they take on their own life.” Charlie says the clips are as vital to his process as the sound.
Storytelling is also central to Charlie's work, and is always part of the dialogue in his live performances. “I like to have a conversation with the audience between songs. Music is always give and take,” he says. His emphatic live act has seen him support such icons as James Blundell and Sam Brittain.
In 2013, Charlie toured the US through pubs, saloons and ranch bars. With no prior bookings he played twenty shows in fourteen states from San Francisco to New York and Montana to Austin, in a fast-unfolding adventure that included meetings with blues legends Bonnie Raitt and Marcia Hines.
For two months in 2013, Charlie and the incredibly talented indie artist Nick Balcombe joined forces for their Triumph and Disaster Tour, crossing Australia from West to East. This tour launched Charlie's EP Life's Much Easier When You're a Cowboy, a collection of quirky folk, pop songs produced by Steve James at Rockinghorse Studios in Byron Bay. Nick died in tragic circumstances two months after the tour, and a tribute album is in production from a pool of talented musicians who loved and admired Nick and his music.
2015 saw the release of Charlie's latest EP, Minor Mystery, which was recorded in the spirit of pioneer blues greats Robert Johnson and Skip James. It was launched in June 2015, and was dedicated to Nick Balcombe.
After a bit of a break between drinks, singing in post-rock bands and doing life stuff, Charlie is releasing his new single and film clip Goldfish at the Nimbin Roots Festival in September 2017. His debut album is planned for release in May 2018.