Charls Ava is a singer/actor born to Egyptian parents in the United States. Starting out as a session singer, she had her voice featured on several commercials and enjoyed a stint as a backup singer for M.I.A., at one point even performing for Carla Bruni. She decided to pack up and leave for Egypt in 2015, spending time back and forth between Cairo and NY. The move to downtown Cairo became permanent in 2017 when Charls took the decision to work on her alternative-rock/experimental album.
The first single from the album is "Machine", which has been two years in the making. The song started out as just a rough sketch, a self-exploration far from a serious attempt to make a song, but she slowly started to realize she had something worth pursuing. "At first I felt like I was just playing around and it wasn't serious, as my 'serious' project seemed to be the one I had been working on NYC with a properly hired producer." It was born on her laptop while staying in a temporary sublet, an absence of instruments forcing her to go completely electronic - "I realized I liked working like this, alone and playing with sounds and just doing whatever I felt." Thus, the idea of making a record about existential panic come to being, and for Charls, a move to Cairo seemed the most fitting and creatively relevant setting.
Ava sent the track to her Brooklyn-based friend Satoshi Takeishi to replace her beats, and was surprised when he refused to erase hers, opting to add his own organic percussion over them. During a trip to Nashville, guitarist Josh Coleman added guitar to complete the framework of the piece. The song was finally mixed by Seth Manchester and mastered by Heba Kadry. "Machine" has really gotten around.
The song Ava says speaks about "how the body is a machine that really can break down at any point, a part can go missing or fail, something can short circuit suddenly, how everything about our physical existence hangs in a delicate balance." "Machine" is definitely an intricate piece with many individual elements accredited to the different collaborators who each breathe their style and instrument into the track, all bound together by Charls’ sultry vocals and out of the box lyrics. Keep an eye out for a steady release of singles from her upcoming album, which is expected to be released towards the end of the year.
Follow Charls Ava on SoundCloud.
Photo by Rory White.