Down for the Ride: Charli Adams’ Debut EP Reverberates Precious Youth

Charli Adams © Bjorn Franklin
From “Passenger Seat” to “Cloverland Drive,” Charli Adams’ debut EP ‘Good At Being Young’ is a tour of her heart ⏤ the drives, the people and the places that make up her youth, each a glowing encapsulation of the magic in her memory. 
Stream: ‘Good At Being Young’ EP – Charli Adams




Good At Being Young is really about retrieving that emotion and the feeling of youth when things get too heavy. I did grow up quickly, but that never really stopped me from giving myself fully to a moment in a childlike way.

Buckle up: Charli Adams is a Nashville-based alt-rock / indie newcomer who released her debut EP, Good At Being Young, last Friday, January 31st, via Color Study (Haux, Henry Jamison, Rosie Carney). Like Phoebe Bridgers’ little indie sister, Adams is making music that’s a little less tormented and a little more dream pop, but equally as compelling, anthemic, and play-while-you-drive worthy. (If you’re a fan of Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” listen to Adams’ “Backseat.”)

Good At Being Young - Charli Adams EP Artwork

Good At Being Young – Charli Adams EP Artwork

Adams’ voice is velvet twilight blue. It breathes and breaks in all the right ways. Paired with her vulnerable lyrics, the album’s sonic experience paints an endless sky, the kind you stare at with goosebumps on top of your roof. Adams represents youth as a dreamy environment with a rolling pulse and reverb heavy guitars ⏤ one with depth but floating a precious innocence. Mixed by Patrick Dillett (St Vincent, David Byrne, Yoko Ono) and mastered by Heba Kadry (Lucy Dacus, Cigarettes After Sex, Beach House), Adams’ six tracks are a tour of her heart ⏤ the drives, the people and the places that make up her youth, each a glowing encapsulation of the magic in her memory.

Each track has the power to remind your body of what youth feels like with breathtaking precision. Like being resilient enough to get high off the danger in vulnerability ⏤ until the pain hits. I asked you to be honest until it hurt. I couldn’t look you in the eye. If it’s not then tell me one good reason why. Or the lure of codependence from the passenger seat and the weightlessness of the backseat. In the backseat, don’t want to talk I’m fine. In a way I don’t want to be here I just want to ride. Being able to feel it all ⏤ absolutely everything ⏤ and still being down for the ride.

I think that’s what being young means to me, at least in this context, feeling the current moment like it’s the first time. As I get older it is easy to lose touch of that, but that’s when I get in my car, go for a drive & put on “Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me” by The Cure.

Atwood Magazine recently asked Charli Adams a couple questions about the indie Nashville music scene, her plans for the future, the EP’s cover art and her favorite driving albums. Read on to learn more about rising star in the indie scene and listen to her debut EP Good At Being Young.

Stream: “Backseat” – Charli Adams



MEET CHARLI ADAMS

Atwood Magazine: What drove you to go all in on pursuing music at such a young age? When did you first think—yeah, I can really do this.

Charli Adams: I grew up in a small beach town in Alabama and it wasn’t much of a musical environment. I was playing sports as a kid but I remember telling my mom I wanted to buy a guitar.  I think as soon as I started writing music, that’s when I knew. I don’t think it was the realization that I could really do it, more that I just wanted and needed to.

What’s it like to be a female artist in the Nashville music scene? Have you had to overcome any barriers?

Charli Adams: I’ve been really happy to be a part of such an inclusive scene of musicians. I’ve witnessed barriers that talented women that I admire have overcome, and their power and confidence is inspiring. There are so many female songwriters in Nashville that l look up to for paving the way and making it a more positive, safe environment to work in. Personally, I’ve only had a positive experience as a female artist in the Nashville music scene and I’m really thankful for that.

I’ve witnessed barriers that talented women that I admire have overcome, and their power and confidence is inspiring.

What’s it like to be an alt-rock/indie artist in Nashville? I think sometimes people just naturally associate Nashville with Country music, but there’s so much more going on there. Can you talk a little bit about that? What do you think Nashville as an environment affords you that maybe LA or NYC couldn’t?

Charli Adams: I could talk about the alternative indie scene in Nashville for days, it’s so impressive. There’s honestly so much indie music in this city, I can’t keep up. I naturally associated Nashville with Country music when I started traveling to town and was quickly corrected. I owe so much inspiration to the alternative scene here, this town is saturated with visionaries and hard working kids collaborating and supporting one another. I think that’s what I find so rare about Nashville that I haven’t experienced anywhere else is how strong the sense of community is. Before any industry got involved, my friends and I would band together and put on shows at any local venue that would have us. We would find local artists to make posters and put our friends on the bill, it was really inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented, driven artists.



You’ve been likened to Phoebe Bridgers, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, etc. Who do you consider to be your musical influences?

Charli Adams: I think sonically, I find myself influenced by cinematic or anthemic records, bands like The Cure, The 1975, Bon Iver. When It comes to songwriting I think I’m most influenced by more honest poetic writers, like Elliott Smith. I’ve always gravitated towards songs that make me feel something, so classic emo music has also heavily influenced my records.

Who created your cover art and how does it reflect your sound/the EP?

Charli Adams: Sara Carter (@arasretrac) is the artist that helped create the art for Good At Being Young. Each song on this EP is really personal, so I wanted the artwork to be as true to the song as possible. It was really special creating a specific visual that meant something to me, for each song. I would take a photo of a specific location with an idea for symbolism and Sara would bring it to life. I wanted the animation to keep the youthful essence of the EP.

Each song on this EP is really personal, so I wanted the artwork to be as true to the song as possible.

Your EP is titled Good At Being Young. Even though you moved to Nashville on your own at 17, do you still feel “young”? Is being young an age or certain behaviors? What is “young” to you and how does it feel?

Charli Adams: Good At Being Young is really about retrieving that emotion and the feeling of youth when things get too heavy. I did grow up quickly, but that never really stopped me from giving myself fully to a moment in a childlike way. I wrote this EP during the most formative years of my life, when I was feeling everything in a really heightened way. I think that’s what being young means to me, at least in this context, feeling the current moment like it’s the first time. As I get older it is easy to lose touch of that, but that’s when I get in my car, go for a drive & put on “Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me” by The Cure.



You reference cars a lot in this EP — “Passenger Seat,” “Backseat” — what’s the significance of cars/driving? Do you have any must-listen-to-while-driving songs?

Charli Adams: When I was writing this EP, I spent most of my time driving. It’s how I clear my head. My car at the time only had a CD player so I would put an album in and drive until I couldn’t anymore. I once drove all the way to Memphis on accident listening to 22, A Million by Bon Iver. That record was all I listened to one fall. I have Cardinal by Pinegrove on CD as well, that’s a really great driving record. Oh, and if you’re ever driving through back roads of Tennessee, just listen to Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen.

Do you have any immediate goals for the future? What’s next?

Charli Adams: It’s been a pretty busy time. I’ve been working on the EP that will follow “Good At Being Young” and writing for an album. Last year was somewhat unpredictable, I toured in places I had never been, collaborated with artists that I admire, and met some amazing people. I’m just excited to see where this one takes me.

I once drove all the way to Memphis on accident listening to 22, A Million by Bon Iver. That record was all I listened to one fall.

Introducing Color Study: An Indie Record Label Championing “Personal Pop” Music

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