If you don’t know who Pearl Charles is, you certainly will come Fall. She’s a true LA girl, born and raised in the hills of Hollywood. I met Pearl at her house off Hollywood Blvd, where we talked music and she showed me her collection of guitars and records. It was a cloudless day at the dawn of spring, so it was only right when Pearl grabbed her Fender guitar and we hung out on the grass in her backyard. Her style and grace is no act, though I couldn’t help but to feel like I was in some sort of movie.—Derek Dunfee
How do you like Living in LA?
Well I was born and raised here, like 2 blocks from where we are sitting right now, so I’m biased. I can’t really see myself living anywhere else. Although I’ve traveled around the world and I love many places, long term, LA is the place for me.
Do you get a lot of inspiration living here?
Oh yea, but I do get a lot of inspiration on the road. I feel very ‘at home’ while I’m on the road. When I’m ready to settle down and be somewhere for a while, this is where I wanna be. We’re blocks from Laurel canyon, which is a place I’m very inspired by. I grew up in the shadow of a place that’s so inspiring to me. We’re also close to Joshua tree, which is a real important place to me
How did you get into writing songs?
My dad is a writer also, not a song writer, so I’ve always been around that process. My parents always encouraged me to try different types of art. I took acting classes and was in a lot of plays, and I took drawing and painting class. I tried everything, but music—singing and writing songs—was always what I gravitated towards the most.Playing and singing in front of a big crowd can be intimidating and scary. How do you deal with it?
Everything will be ﬁne, and then all of a sudden it’s 10 minutes before a show and I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve done this a million times but there’s always that small bit of stage fright, but I love performing and being in front of a audience. It’s a rush, and you’re feeding off that energy. Luckily I’ve never played a show where someone has boo’d at me, but for the most part you’re getting positive reinforcement, it’s really nice to be up there and have people cheer you on. Who are some of your favorite bands right now?
I really like Father John Misty, and I actually have a lot of those guys playing on my record. My best friend plays guitar in his band, and I got his rhythm section to play on my record. Him, and the guy that produced his stuff, Jonathan Wilson—I really like their stuff. I sang on one of his records a few years back, and they’re friends with Jenny Lewis. It’s an LA scene, and obviously we are all friends.
All time favorites?
I went to Desert trip, and that was one of the best lineups of anything. The Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Paul McCartney…I like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, and I love the Eagles, which might be controversial, but I also like really weird and strange music. I’m wildly into some disco, and some soft rock/Yacht rock stuff. As an artist, some of these people only had one or two good songs.
Can you give me some back story on the song, ‘Idea to Her?’
That’s the one song I didn’t write on the EP. My friend Miguel Mendez wrote that. He lives in New York, and my friend Joel Jerome, who grew up by the beach in Hawthorn, (which is where the Beach Boys are from in the South Bay) produced Cherry Glazer and La Sera. He called me one day because he needed some female vocals on this track, so I came by, and it turns out he needed me to do vocals for the whole song. So I went in and did a few takes, and it turned out really well. We were really happy with it. Miguel put out a record last year with the song on it too, and we decided to share it, which is kind of an untraditional thing. My friend Farmer Dave plays on there also. It was kind of a happy accident that made it’s way onto the record.
You’re smoking weed on the cover of one of your albums, any negative feedback from that cover?
I had one negative YouTube comment that said, “It was such a beautiful video but why do you have to promote smoking cigarettes?” Luckily someone else quickly replied “it’s a joint”! I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of backlash. I did think about that at ﬁrst…like, “Is this gonna be a mistake? Am I going to be alienating a certain market or something?” But then I thought I should come out of the gates letting everyone know who I am.This is me and if you don’t like it, then I guess you don’t have to be a fan. You also don’t want to be driving around the country with weed, so…If you’re coming to see me at a show in another state, please bring me a joint. There’s also places like Texas who have check points. If they’re gonna put Willie Nelson in jail, then we don’t have any hope. Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and Fiona Apple. All thrown in jail.
You’re working on a new full length record now?
Yea! There’s some songs about LA, the ﬁrst lyric of the title track on the record is, “Is there anyone left in this sea of city, city by the sea?” And then there’s another lyric in another song where I say, “I bet you’re chasing that surﬂiner to Ukiah, like you did before.” So it’s a very California record. I want it to be universal and appeal to everyone, but California music has always appealed to everyone. That’s me and that’s my story, it’s ﬁnally more beachy. The EP had some surfy stuff, and this goes in a somewhat different direction but it still maintains that California feeling. But with possibly more imagery evoking stuff.
When’s that coming out?
The Full Length is coming out in the fall. It will be on Spotify, iTunes, Vinyl, CD and Cassette and every other types of format.