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Daily Inspiration: Meet Charlie Reichert Powell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlie Reichert Powell.

Hi Charlie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I got started with a nudge from my parents: my dad is a hobbyist musician and songwriter, so he left guitars around the house, which I was tinkering with and banging on since before I can remember. Eventually, I started taking lessons with a neighborhood guitar teacher, who showed me how to learn songs from tabs and by ear. My dad also got me set up with a copy of Garageband early on, so I was already producing songs that I wrote on the crappy upright piano in our house before I was in middle school. In middle school, I joined the school jazz band, which introduced me to both a new style of music and a few friends who were serious about music and their instruments who I still play with today, which jumpstarted my love for jazz and improvising. I also started putting my electronic music on Soundcloud, which introduced me to a whole network of other producers who were just a year or a few older than me, which really encouraged me to dive way into my own sound and gave me a whole network full of inspiration.

These two threads have really spun out into the stuff I’m doing today — exploring and developing my production/composition brain and my guitar/improvisation brain so early really laid the foundation for me to spread out in all the directions I’ve gone and am going in. Of course, I’ve been guided by so many awesome people and experiences between middle school and now (I’m in my fourth year of undergrad at Peabody Institute for jazz guitar), who pushed me to really develop my interest in free improvisation, writing for dance, a play, acousmatic/electroacoustic music, pop singers, rappers… I’ve been lucky to get into so many hijinks this early.

Special shout outs to Bobby Broom, who whipped me into shape early in high school; Ernest Dawkins, who took me under his wing around the same time and gave me a ton of wisdom and performance opportunities; Matt Stevens, who I studied with my first three years of undergrad, who opened up my creative process and had an enormous influence on the refining of my guitar playing and writing; and so many of my friends and peers, of whom there’s too many to name.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I lead an incredibly charmed life, which I think about almost every day and count myself extremely lucky for: I’ve always managed to be surrounded by awesome folks who encourage, push, and support me both creatively and life-ly.

I think I struggle with a lot of the same issues 21-year-old creatives struggle with: self-criticism and doubt, the great void that is the next handful of years between where I am now and a really simmering career, etc., but I always have my people to corral me back on the rails to stumble into the next cool endeavor.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a guitarist, producer, and composer. In my personal creative practice, I explore my own idiosyncratic approaches to composition and improvisation, mixing the two intuitively in concise, playful ways; I draw a lot on my love for the woods, non-representational art, and puzzles when I’m thinking about the sound and direction of my own music. As a collaborator, my strengths lie in the breadth of my creative toolbox and interests and my open-mindedness.

I’m usually brought on for either my guitar playing, producing, or composing, but my other interests always inform my contributions in ways that are always new and surprising to me and hopefully bring an unexpected perspective to the person’s work. I love to dive as far into another person’s concept as I can and bring it to life. Outside of music, I am a serious rock climber and work at my school as a climbing wall route-setter, which offers a completely different creative and aesthetic challenge and gives another dimension to my work.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Definitely interested and excited to learn — it opens up so many doors and offers such a wide range of perspectives to hear people and ideas out and try to understand them, even if I kneejerk react negatively to them.

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