Welcome to a brand new series on Belles and Gals, where we interview some of the most influential women on the UK country music scene. Our second interview sees us chat with Charlotte Elizabeth, the founder/owner Halo Music Management, who gives us an insight into how she got involved in country music and the roles she plays within the industry.
Hi Charlotte, to start with, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an artist manager based in Staffordshire but wear many different hats!! Over the past 4 years, I have developed my presence over the country scene and I am now recognised as a songwriter, promotion company and of course an official partner to Belles & Gals which I love!
What was it that ignited the country music spark in you? Was there a particular artist?
I have asked this question to people a lot and they always tell me ‘I was raised on country music’ so my story is a little different. My parents never listened to country music. Of course, they knew the classics by Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash but in our house, they always played The Beatles, The Carpenters, Foreigner, Mr Mister and REO Speedwagon so I never knew country music.
It wasn’t until I was about 10 years old and the line dancing scene had exploded that I began to be introduced to it.
I ended up at a line dance class with one of my school friends and her mum and the first track I ever remember was ‘Heads Carolina, Tails California, by Jo Dee Messina.
I absolutely adore that track and still constantly play it to this day. Jo Dee is one of my influences, I love her writing style.
The rest is history. The first country gig I attend though was in 2005 when Keith Urban played the O2 academy in Birmingham. I loved that night!
You wear a number of hats in the music industry, including promoter, manager and song writer. I guess you like to keep busy?!
Absolutely! What I love even more? Proving people wrong! Ha ha!
Honestly, I love what I do and ambition is very important to me and I have a stubborn determination that I don’t think enough business people have these days but yes i love to be busy.
I also love the artists I work with. I would never work with anyone I didn’t believe in and it’s great because they become like family and we have a great trust network.
Songwriting was something I stumbled across and again something I did to prove people wrong but it worked and I can happily say EP 2 is well on the way to being released early next year.
If you had a pick a highlight in promoting, in managing and in song writing, what would you choose?
Ooh that’s a tricky one! I love what I do but promoting and managing can sometimes be very hard and very soul destroying.
The worst part of promoting a gig or festival is when you see the artists who are on your show not promoting it themselves. I don’t think people realise the time, energy and money that goes into these shows so for the artist not to promote it to their fans is actually annoying but the highlight is when the show comes together and you bring people through the door! I am working on a brand new country festival at the moment for 2019 with Belles & Gals so I’m going to save my highlight for that!
Management wise, every success is a highlight. Seeing your artist achieve chart success, secure a high profile gig or place on an event or just seeing them perform a real knock show of their own is amazing and reinforces the reason you started working with them in the first place.
Can I have two songwriting highlights?
One will always be when ‘Shatter Like Glass’, performed by Angels With Dirty Faces, was released.
This song was my very first co-write that we released (co-written with Stuart Landon of the angels) and it debuted at number 4 on the iTunes country chart. The song was actually released on the toughest week ever! It was back in October 2016 when The Shires has exploded the scene. They were number 1, Ward Thomas were number 2 and the 50th Anniversary CMA Song ‘Forever Country’ was at number 3.
It turns out we were only 60 downloads off being in the top 3.
That song is still to this day receiving awards, radio play and being talked about which is amazing considering it was released nearly two years ago.
The other is the recognition I have received as a songwriter. My EP ‘Survive’ was nominated as EP of the Year by Belles & Gals which was amazing. I didn’t win but you couldn’t stop me from smiling because of the nomination. The talent in the category was incredible and then there was my name and I was amazed and so grateful.
I have since been nominated as ‘Songwriter of the Year’ by Josie Music Awards over in the USA. They consider a full body of works when nominating so this is not on any single song but an EP or Album so again this is just incredible to me.
The UK country music scene is a growing one. Why do you think so many have an affinity with the genre over here?
Country Music is all about storytelling. You can tell any story and write about any subject. As long as there is a truth and something you can relate to, people will follow it.
If you could change one thing about the current UK country music scene, what would it be?
How much can I write? Ha ha!
I wish the scene was fair and inclusive. Every day I see extremely talented artists not being included on festivals and gigs and excluded from awards and I cannot understand why.
I have heard artists rejected for ‘being too country’ or ‘they have the wrong management’ and I just get so angry because these are the people who should be helping the uk country scene when instead they are creating ridges.
You can almost guarantee the line up on certain events and they are causing damage to the scene.
Wish is why I am going ahead in partnership with Belles & Gals to pledge to change this as much as we can.
Country Music is for everyone. Nobody should be excluded from being able to perform if they have the talent and passion.
It’s time to make a change.
You’ve been placed in charge of C2C 2019! Who are your three headliners?
Well, Kenny Chesney would be my first pick. He is on my bucket list. I adore him and have every album he’s ever made.
I would then have to choose an older group so maybe Diamond Rio. Their song ‘One More Day’ is my favourite and pure country.
And then let’s go for Martina McBride. I missed her when she played C2C years ago and she is another artist who just oozes pure emotion. Her lyrics and storytelling are some of the best and I really relate to her. She may not be bringing a big show with lights and thumping bass but her country cannot be argued with!
But I also want to see Cole Swindell, Sara Evans and Trisha Yearwood.
Ooh, do you know what else would be good: A Halo Music & Belles & Gals spotlight stage! Now that would be epic!
I feel like I’ve cheated a little bit here haven’t I?! Oops….
Tell us something random about yourself!
I have a MASSIVE phobia of Penguins. I can’t even go to the zoo without looking at the map and plotting the route so we can avoid them. I’m terrified. I don’t know why but when I was little, I used to have nightmares about penguins attacking me but I’m sure I never have actually been attacked by one!! So strange!!
To finish, let us know the last gig you went to, the last album you listened to and the lost song you played on your phone!
Right now I’m listening to ‘Break up in the end’ by Cole Swindell
The last album was ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ by Ashley McBryde – how incredible is she!!!!
And the last gig was by the time you read this will have been at the Old School BBQ Bus in Oldham to see Stevie O’Connor who I now manage as well.
OMG what a talent! He is Texan Country and one of the most humble gentlemen you could wish to meet. He is an extremely talented singer and his lyrics will make you cry one minute, laugh the next and make you really listen. He’s one to watch!