Country music star Tim Charron is a Rhode Island native. Tim now makes his home in Nashville, TN which, according to Charron, is “a music lover’s paradise.” Tim has been touring the country in support of his “Chasin’ the Sun” album, playing to huge festival crowds from RI to MA to CT this summer. Charron’s incredible stage presence and uplifting music has made him a featured attraction, with thousands of fans from Key West, FL to North Kingstown, RI and beyond. After his successful gig as the opening act for “The Voice” winner Craig Wayne Boyd, I sat down with the country music star and songwriter for a chat on the music industry, songwriting, and his very personal Anti-Bullying Campaign.
photo by J. Nicholas Photography
NR: Million dollar question right off the bat: what does it take to make it as a professional musician?
TC: Simple answer - talent and hard work. There are talented musicians up and down this country. I see and hear them everywhere I play - cities like Providence, in Nashville, in Key West. If you have a solid work ethic, you can achieve great things in your life, whether it is in medicine, sports, or the music industry. Talent does help, of course, but having a desire to work hard at your craft is so important. I equate it to baseball players from Latin American cities that are economically challenged. These kids practice and practice and are hungry to make something of themselves and for their family. That drive gives them an edge. It is the same in the music industry. Talent and hard work pays off. It did for me.
NR: What are the most important steps in the path to make it as an artist, an entertainer in the music industry?
TC: Let’s focus on number one - discover who you are as an artist. Play to your strengths. Practice, get on stage, and perform. I met with a young musician recently in Nashville whose parents have dubbed him to be the next Tim McGraw. He has talent, there is no question. But, when I put him on a stage in front of a sparse crowd, he folded and couldn’t deliver. Like I mentioned earlier, it takes time and dedication to hone your craft. We are entertainers at the end of the day. I discovered long ago that I was an entertainer. The crowd, it’s mine for an hour or two. I tell them that. It is my job, which I love to the highest degree, to entertain the crowd and give them their money’s worth and then some.
NR: You recently opened for Craig Wayne Boyd who won the popular reality show “The Voice.” What part of “The Voice” and other music reality shows is based on reality?
TC: Well, the reality is they are talented. But, what people may not realize is that there are years of work put into these artists prior to being on this or any of the other reality shows. Craig is awesome and is definitely a very, very talented musician. But what people may not realize is that Craig, like a lot of us, played in Nashville and on the road for 10 years. I myself have played close to a thousand shows - acoustic sets in Key West, afternoon sessions in Nashville for two, four, sometimes six hours, opening for festival headliners. It does not come overnight. Nothing is handed to Craig Wayne Boyd or Tim Charron: we had to work and be dedicated to our craft to be where we are now.
NR: When did your path to music start?
TC: I would say songwriting-wise, around 14 or 15 years of age. I remember playing in the auditorium at North Kingstown High School when I was about 16. There were lights, amps, microphones, a crowd. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be an entertainer. It was so natural and it gave me a huge boost of confidence getting up on stage and performing.
NR: I know songwriting is a great passion of yours. What makes a good song?
TC: I feel that a good song has to be as relatable as possible. This is why country music resonates with some many of us Americans. Think about it. A lot of country songs are about hanging out with friends, having a party on the beach or in someone’s backyard, a crush on a beautiful woman. A good song makes you feel something, whether it is happiness or misery or anger, but it should be relatable.
NR: How do you write a song? Is there a process that you work through?
TC: The creative process isn’t the type of clock-watching, time card-punching process that most 9 to 5 jobs are. In fact, the days that I schedule to write, I rarely write anything. To me, it is all about inspiration and feeling. It cannot be rushed or pressured. Sometimes I’ll work out in the morning, take a nap, and awaken with a few song ideas and melodies. But really, it starts with a melody and a title. Then, I work on the chorus and then it just flows out. I can be three to four hours working on one song, singing it over and over again, picking up my guitar, playing chords, singing more, editing. I’ll run it by some of my songwriting colleagues before I stamp my seal of approval on it. This could take days, weeks sometimes because I want the end product to reflect Tim Charron music. I’m proud of that product.
NR: Who are some of the artists you have worked with?
TC: Bret Michaels, Sara Evans, Brooks and Dunn, Clint Black, Shooter Jennings, Chris Young, Randy Travis—wow—just to name a few. My last album “Chasin the Sun” was backed up by the Jason Aldean Band. I have been blessed to work with some talented performers and such classy people.
NR: Do you prefer small, intimate settings or festival mega crowds?
TC: The bigger, the better. You get a swell of energy from a lively crowd. It is palpable and I feed off of it as an entertainer.
NR: What would you say has been the signature moment in your professional career?
TC: I opened for Bret Michaels last year at Indian Ranch. Believe it or not, I went to see Poison in high school in Providence with my father. Poison, who Bret Michaels was the front man for, was just starting out and there weren’t a ton of people there. My father and I were walking by their tour bus, which was parked on a side street just outside the club after the show, and noticed the band was hanging out, so we hung out with them. I never told Bret that story and have since opened for him a few times. Anyway, Bret called me out on stage with him at Indian Ranch and I got to sing a few songs with him. It was definitely a signature moment for me - personally and professionally.
NR: I noticed that part of your tour involves speaking to kids about bullying at local schools. How did you get involved with the Anti-Bullying Message?
TC: So, I lived in Warwick, RI growing up and was in fact a victim of bullying. It got so bad that I switched schools in my middle school years to get away from the bullying. I have recently gone back to my Warwick roots to tell my story. In fact, a fan (a little girl) invited me to her school and I couldn’t help but accept her very heartfelt invitation.
NR: What essentially is the message of your Anti-Bullying Campaign with schools? Why did you choose that topic over others? Give us a sample of what schools can expect.
TC: The message is tell someone if you are a victim of bullying. Transparency is so important. I know it is hard to tell on someone, especially if that someone is popular in school or in sports. Kids are afraid to tell the truth when it comes to bullying, so I am hoping that by telling my story, it will inspire them to speak up and stop being the victim of bullying. I play my music in between talking to the kids. To me, I want to be a role model to others who may be dealing with the effects of bullying and help them in any way I can.
NR: What lies ahead for Tim Charron?
TC: I have really enjoyed songwriting and collaborating with other songwriters. In Nashville, I have a great core of songwriting friends that I’m excited to work with. And of course, I look forward to performing at shows all over the country. I’m continuing to book schools for my Anti-Bullying Campaign. I have my tour dates and upcoming concerts updated weekly on my website, www.timcharron.com.
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by Noel P. Roby
Author at The North Kingstown Blog