Thursday, March 11, 2010

Charlie Belle

Jendayi is a singer, song-writer, and lead guitarist for the band Charlie Belle, a local group comprised of four members – Jendayi, Gyasi, Maya, and Michelle – their ages ranging from 9 to 16 years old. Jendayi and Gyasi are sister and brother and had already formed a band when they moved from Philadelphia to Austin. The pair reconnected with a family friend after which Maya joined the band. The lineup was complete once Jendayi and Michelle met at Girls Rock Camp over the summer. They changed their name to Charlie Belle and have been together for over a year. You may have seen them perform last year during SXSW or in the documentary Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnet Fields. Proving that you’re never too young to have a music career, their website notes: “Yeah we're kids, but we rock. We are Charlie Belle.”

Charlie Belle will be performing at the SXSW Girls Rock Camp Austin day party on Friday March 19th. In anticipation of the day party, we caught up with Jendayi and asked for her thoughts on writing her own material, performing on stage, and what advice she would give to girls who want to rock.

What or who inspired to you to start making music? Was there a particular album/artist/band that inspired you?

When I was seven, I went to the Paul Green School of Rock Music. I was the youngest guitarist there so I had a lot of people to look up to. I especially admired one guitarist named Gina. She was the best guitarist I’ve ever met in person.

You’re a singer, song-writer, and lead guitarist for Charlie Belle – do you prefer one of these positions over the others? If so which one and why?

Out of those three, I prefer being a songwriter because my music is still out there. And anyone can stand up and sing a song, or anyone who practices enough can be a lead guitarist, but once your singing and playing is your own, nobody will take it away from you.

Tell me about your song-writing process. How do you come up with ideas for songs?

First I fiddle around and come up with a good riff. And instead of waiting to write the lyrics I immediately start making things up as I go along. If I have paper in front of me, I write it down. If not, I try to remember it.

What is it like performing in front of a live audience?

At first, it feels scary every single time, but when I play my first song, my fear turns into energy that I send out to the audience.

You’ve been to Girls Rock Camp three times now, once in Philadelphia, and twice here in Austin. What have you learned being a camper at Girls Rock Camp?

I would say anyone is out there. People who go to Girls Rock Camp could be [part of] your future band. Sometimes it could even be the girls you would never think would be in a band with you.

What advice would you give to a young girl who’s thinking about picking up an instrument, writing a song, or forming a band?

I would tell them that if they kind of like what they’re doing, they should keep doing it, because it’s going to get better, and they’re going to grow to love it.

For more information on Charlie Belle please visit their website (please link this:

Article By Kristen Lambert

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