The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.

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“Emerging Canadian Roots artist Charissa released her compelling new single “People Like You” on February 18th via Coalition Music and all streaming platforms. “People Like You” is a quiet acoustic track that reminds listeners that even when times are rough, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and likely someone waiting there to help you out of the dark. Charissa is a storyteller, and the best stories are ones that don’t shy from honesty. The Burlington, ON, native has been honing this thoughtful, meditative approach to songwriting since she was a kid, combining lush, flowing arrangements with earthy Americana and laidback soul to create a sound that is uniquely her own. Music was a constant in her home growing up, and after singing along to hits by Queen, Allison Krauss, Whitney Houston, Stevie Nicks, and Blue Rodeo before she hit double digits, her parents decided to enrol her in vocal lessons where she further developed her passion for music and later started to learn to play the guitar. Charissa has found a sound that suits her authentic, reflective songs and is ready to bare her soul as she puts the finishing touches on her new upcoming EP”.


When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

I knew from a very young age I loved music and wanted to pursue it as a career. It became clearer in high school, being part of talent shows and music classes. I would tell people I wanted to go to Nashville and pursue this dream of mine, and I did. I wanted to immerse myself in all possible opportunities.


Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?

I started taking vocal lessons when I was 8 years old with an opera coach, where I learned the basics of singing and how to project my voice. I’m really grateful for those lessons because I feel like it helped me find my true voice. I played the alto saxophone and learned how to read music in elementary school. When I was 12 years old I picked up my grandpa’s Spanish guitar and taught myself chords with his guitar books. I went on to take lessons for a few years, and even got to learn from Gord Lewis from Teenage Head for a bit.


Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

I have always had a very eclectic taste in music and being a huge music lover of all genres. My all time inspiration has been Stevie Nicks, her all around dynamics of an artist is inspiring. In the last few years, I’ve been listening and enjoying the music of songwriters like Patty Griffin, Hozier, Chris Stapleton and the Lumineers. I started to appreciate the songwriting aspect and find their stories behind the songs really intriguing.


How would you describe your sound?

A blend of Americana and country soul, focusing on the songwriting and being lyrically driven.


What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?

My favourite tune is “Scars and All”. I feel like it’s a special moment in the set, where the song is completely stripped down – just me, my guitar and poetic lyrics.


What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?

Someone recently told me after my show that my songs are really emotional. I think it’s special when you can move people and have them get lost in the moment… so expect getting lost in the moment together. I believe music is healing and powerful, and my purpose is to continue writing music that is moving.


Where can we find your music?

On most streaming and downloading platforms. Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify and YouTube. Check out my YouTube channel for some live off the floor performances.

Twitter: @thisischarissa

Facebook: /thisischarissa

Instagram: @thisischarissa