Charlene Birkbeck's approach to music has always been defined as much by her willingness to evolve as an artist as her single-minded determination to make music her life. "In dark times, in lonely times in my life, nothing helped more than music," Char says. "It's the one thing everyone can relate to. For me it's not just about the lyrics and the sound, it's about creating something that's a true expression of self – something that people will connect with emotionally and, hopefully, inspire them to follow their own dreams."
Her drive to do so manifested itself early on, she continues: "I decided I wanted to be a musician when I was 12-years-old. A friend heard me singing and said, "you've got a great voice. You should be a singer." I remember thinking, "I should be!” and that was it. I've always believed I could do anything I wanted to and now every aspect of my life comes second to music."
Over time the BC-based singer, songwriter and recording artist has never shied away from taking risks to realize her dreams. After studying jazz at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, she relocated to Victoria. At the time she only knew two people on Vancouver Island, but soon became a fixture on the local music scene by performing with various blues, experimental rock and pop bands while working on her own original material on the side. "I started fresh, played with people who came from a completely different place musically and that really helped me figure out who I truly was and what I wanted to get across with my music."
Since Char has continuously pushed her musical boundaries in an effort to express her personal and artistic evolution with complete honesty – an ethic informed as much by the country classics she sang along to while traveling the world with her parents as a child as by later influences including 1990's alt. rock, Jeff Buckley and modern Electronica.
Following the release of her debut album, Blame It On The Moon (2007), Char toured Canada on her own for the first time and began fleshing out her live sound by looping her vocals, guitar and keyboards in real time to add texture to her stripped down acoustic show. Intent on broadening her horizons as a performer and writer, and eager to experiment with a more aggressive sound, in 2011 Birkbeck formed Wolfheart with guitarist/bassist Aidan Logins and drummer, Alex Campbell. The following year, the three-piece released their own debut, Subtle Bodies, and began touring Canada regularly, performing at iconic venues like The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and The Opera House in Toronto and at Canadian Music Week, JUNOFest and Victoria's own Rifflandia Festival.
More recently Char worked with Wolfheart producer, Brandon Delyzer, on an Electronica version of Mumford and Sons "I Will Wait For You," contributed to recordings by Toronto electronic music outfit, Deadly Vanity, and leant her talents as a composer to the soundtrack for director Richard Nicole's debut feature film, "In The Corner."
Currently she is focusing on a new musical project directly involving the community, bringing awareness to the earth, and musically harnessing the influences that truly opened her eyes to the beauty of music; blues and electronica. With a big production in tow, you can anticipate hearing more about it by the end of this year.
In conjunction with her new project, Char is starting a foundation to unite the world through music. “By holding multiple concerts simultaneously around the world and uniting everyone with a beat, a song, or even just a sound with the same intention, we can physically change matter and create harmony throughout the world.”. Char is now building a team to bring the idea to life. If interested in supporting the foundation, please inquire via email.