Joelle Charan’s experience of music is as much visual as it is auditory. Her photographic memory captures moments vividly from which the stories of her songs develop and the emotions of an encounter escape, to take a new form in lyrics and compositions. Other times her subconscious takes over, morphing memories with imagination to create entirely new worlds and fantasies.

Her visual memory is closely associated with sounds: the image of a bird flying gracefully in the sky sounds like a harp to Joelle, while a black ink drop on paper sounds like electric guitars and a raging tabla. Inspired by graceful lines with lots of movement, pastel colours, and scenes from nature, her mind wanders to fill in the details of any moment or encounter and to translate what she sees into songs.

Art has been an important part of Joelle’s life for as long as she can remember. Trips to museums and art galleries with her parents as a child sparked her initial appreciation. She soon noticed that it was often Impressionism, Asian art and modern art depicting the elements that captured her imagination the most. She inherited her artistic talents and love for painting and drawing from her father, whose beautiful paintings were hung around her childhood home.

Born and raised in Amsterdam to a Catholic mother and Hindu father, Joelle is empowered by her mixed heritage and religions. Upon graduating from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, she moved to New York to deepen her knowledge of songwriting. She studied at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan with generous scholarships from the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the conservatory itself. Joelle found inspiration in all corners of the city and returned from her year in New York with a suitcase full of beautiful new songs.

She captures her listener with descriptive lyrics that tell stories inspired by her Indian grandparents, her family’s hardships, and the adventures of her travels. Drawing musical inspiration from the likes of early Laura Mvula, Daniel Lanois and Norah Jones, Joelle’s dreamy pop songs are infused with classical Indian elements for a sound which is both immersive and full of surprises.

When Joelle was left heartbroken after a whirlwind romance during a trip to Paris, she turned to her music, determined to transform her sadness into something beautiful. The subject of her writing was a young chocolatier who had his own amazing chocolate shop at the Rue de Rivoli. Though ambitious and inspiring with his accomplishments, Joelle could sense a restlessness within him, running away from everything and even himself. He no longer owns his chocolate shop but the memory of their encounter is captured beautifully in Joelle’s new single Blue Moon Bird.

Inspired by Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite and Vince Mendoza’s harp arrangements on Laura Mvula’s 2013 Sing To The Moon album, Joelle wanted to step away from her piano and introduce the harp into her own contemporary music. With Blue Moon Bird she showcases the emotive capabilities of the instrument, mixed and mastered by renowned producer John Reynolds (Sinéad O’Connor, Brian Eno, U2, Damien Dempsey). The harp is the core of this song, painting a narrative of the fluttering heart and beautiful voice of a fickle, free-spirited songbird. Holding aspirations to write for a full orchestra one day, the sonic images that lift her lyrics in Blue Moon Bird become Joelle’s “in between”.

“Although the blue moon bird sings more beautifully than any creature on this earth, his song for me cannot last longer than one night. He can never stay, never belong. All throughout the song there's a duet going on with the Indian sarod, endlessly replying to my voice and the harp. Like they're sharing stories.”

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