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Daily Inspiration: Meet Charity Ann Brady

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charity Ann Brady.

Hi Charity Ann, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Before the music came the words. My grandfather gave me my first rhyming dictionary, which I still have today, when I was in elementary school, a few years before I picked up my first instrument. We would write each other back and forth, and each letter started with word and was followed by every rhyme we could come up with thereafter. It challenged me and it tilled the soil of my young, creative mind.

My third grade teacher, Ms. Hurst, who I have always treasured dearly, introduced poetry to me in such a way that I never thought the same way again. I began to romanticize every drop of dew, every cloud in the sky that lingered just long enough to captivate me.

I began playing violin in fourth grade. I always say that the violin chose me rather than me choosing it. I feel I was granted an opportunity that most don’t get. And that’s not only the privilege of my public school ensuring their students had a music program, but that I found the key to what connected all the artistic qualities I was unveiling at such a young age. At this time, I was dancing ballet, painting with oils and pastels, and writing creatively. It was the violin that unlocked a passion in me that overtook it all – it unlocked a dream- and unlike my other interests, I became focused on achieving more and more, to get better and better.

Then, our family moved about an hour away to an area that was just being developed. There was no music program at my new school and my heart was incomplete. As I studied with a private tutor- who had the coldest hands, and her corrections were crisp- my love for my instrument was unwinding and I turned back to my first love- writing.

I began connecting more with the world around me and the earth that I was stuck to. And it was in middle school that I wrote my first song. My parents stopped by a garage sale around Christmas time one year and scooped a deal on a dinky, battery operated keyboard, which they didn’t think I’d care for much- but I ended up teaching myself how to play it by ear, thanks to violin, and after enough time hittin’ those plastic keys, a song came out! And for the first time in my life, the words met the music.

I have been writing songs ever since. I first performed my original songs when I was 15 in a coffee shop. Years later, I performed for audiences as large as 20,000- but it’s certainly more nerve-wrecking to play in a quiet coffee shop where you hear every spoon stirring the sugar round a mug. I went on to study Music Performance in Colorado, Composition in Florida, and then Songwriting at Berklee in Massachusetts.

With love for the mountains and reverence for the city, I always returned home to the Sunshine State. It’s here that I continue to write and produce my music, as well as perform with multiple bands. I feel blessed to be in the warmth of this uplifting, art-loving community. As they inspire and encourage me, I hope to return the favor with every note I write.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I stopped a show mid-song once when I was just starting out. It’s painful to look back on that because I was so overwhelmed by my own thoughts I couldn’t bear to continue. I never walked away from the stage like that again, but it took walking away to make me realize that I couldn’t.

I just had a conversation last week with a classical pianist about how strange it is what we do. We get in front of a bunch of people- a lot of the time, none of them are listening- and basically share our deepest secrets, pouring every ounce of ourselves into every note. Sometimes it feels defeating, exhausting. Some days, I want to walk away from it all. But the heavier those thoughts weigh down on me, the quicker I find myself writing a song about it. There’s no escaping what I was born to do. And that’s the blessing and the curse that comes with creating.

Yes, there have been struggles: Financially, even physically. But I think it’s most important to bring to light the mental struggle of performing or sharing art. Every musician I have confided in about this agrees that some days are consumed by self-doubt. And additionally, by the pressure put on us to “make it”.

I’m often asked, “So what do you want to do?” And I’m so puzzled by it because I’m already doing it. I wonder if people in other industries are asked questions like that after they show their products to the world. “Hey Chef, I love your menu, we love eating at your restaurant. So tell me, what do you want to do with your life?”

What is “making it” in this world if not doing what you love with the time you’re given on this planet?

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I love to do it all. When I’m performing my songs, I’m usually playing piano, looping it with layers of violin on top, and singing my original lyrics. If I could dance well enough, I’d try and throw that in there, too. I feel most connected to what I do when the listener is connected with the music. Something in their eyes changes and my heart melts at the thought of what they might be going through if what I’m saying is impacting them.

After a moment like that, they often share with me what has happened and how my song touched them.

And that’s the reason for it all: That we all feel a little more understood and a little less alone.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I’ve been told since I was a kid that in the music industry, “it’s all about who you know.” Or “timing is everything.” Along with my efforts, I really just put my trust in God, He has guided me, protected me, and provided for me every step of the way. Whatever road He has for me and my life is the road I’m gonna take.

So far, I know that people have been positively impacted by my music because of that. And that’s all I could ask for, on any scale, large or small.

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Image Credits
Kristen Zellers (Photographs by KZ) Harmonic Grafitti (the last, outdoor one in purple top only)

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