Evan Charles grew up in Miami wanting to be a singer, but 2 1/2 years ago his life went into a tailspin after sustaining an injury that left him with a severe case of hyperacusis – what he calls an "incident" that he prefers not to delve into. Doctors told him he would never sing again without unbearable pain.
“I was devastated, but I decided to go through my options to see what I could do,” says Charles. He was bedridden for six months facing his new reality when he found out that Berklee College of Music in Boston was offering an online certification program in Songwriting.
This past New Year's Eve the handsome up-and-coming artist had a major breakthrough, much of it due to his determination to beat his condition and just plain luck: He was the opening act for Pitbull's concert in Miami. And now he has a new single "Broken People" that serves as an emblem to those who have endured physical and emotional injuries throughout their lives. The video uses the story of a dysfunctional family as the vessel to express the overall theme of injury and recovery; a theme that hits close to home for the young musician.
Here’s a snippet of the song lyrics: “We’re all just broken people. But every break-up helps us heal. When times get tough in life and love, we find ourselves in pieces. As scattered as we are, we’re never apart. We’ll come back strong and carry on as equal, broken people.”
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Charles' song, which is remixed by producer Emilio Estefan, brings him full circle from those dark days of 2013. Now, having worked with big names like Pitbull and Flo Rida, he's looking ahead.
“That was the best night of my life only because of the triumph of where I had come from. Imagine being bedridden thinking you’re never going to sing again and then two years later your first comeback performance is opening for Pitbull in front of an audience of 150,000 people.”
It was a tough slog to get there.
When the doctors told Charles he would not be able to sing again, he came up with a backup plan. “I thought if I can’t sing, fine. I’m going to be the best songwriter and write songs for other artists. I’m going to make it my only goal and focus one hundred percent on that, and that’s exactly what I did. I stopped doing shows, I stopped worrying about looks, social media and what the market wanted and all I did was focus on the art of songwriting.”
Charles inherited a profound passion for all forms of art from his parents; his Cuban mother wanted to be a dancer and his British father an opera singer. Unfortunately economic hardship stifled his parent’s artistic ambitions but they managed to make a great life for themselves and their family with a very rewarding career in law. It only seemed logical for them that Charles follow in their footsteps as a lawyer but he was very determined to go down his own path.
Then Charles' injury left him with severe Hyperacusis, a condition that affects the way the brain processes noise. Sound was painfully amplified in his left ear five to ten times louder and he experienced nerve damage all throughout the back of his scalp and partial paralysis throughout his face.
For the following weeks Charles worked online from home with Berklee’s instructors to develop his craft. Without letting his physical condition bring him down he also worked on facial and acoustic therapy on a daily basis and within a period of six to nine months his pain was slowly subsiding. Singing was no longer as unbearable and he decided to give it another go.
“Slowly but surely I built up a tolerance and after a good year and a half it got to the point where the pain was very manageable. I made a promise to myself that if I did heal I would one hundred percent commit and that’s what I did, that’s what I’m doing, and so here I am 2 1/2 years later. That level of commitment and determination has brought amazing events into existence that never would have happened if it were not for that injury.”
Charles recently released “Broken People”, a song inspired by his experience and by the newfound connection he feels with others going through similar circumstances. “In the studio I was thinking of all the other people who go through life with injuries. I was seeing people who were broken or hurt and had empathy for them in a new way. What ‘Broken People’ talks about is that we are all broken. We have all experienced mental, physical or emotional trauma in one way or another.”
But don’t let adversity stop you from conquering your dreams, says Charles. “If you want to do something now is the only time, not tomorrow. You said tomorrow yesterday. If you have a dream you have to fight for it harder than anybody else. Don’t wait until you almost lose it to start.”
You can see more of Evan Charles’ work by visiting www.EvanCharlesMusic.com