If the name Charlene Kaye sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you recognize her from our interview with the sultry songstress back in August of this year where she talked about everything from her upcoming album Animal Love, to her kickstarter campaign, and her duets with fellow Team Starkid member turned Gleek Darren Criss.
Now Charlene is touring various cities over the United States with Team Starkid as the opening act for The SPACE Tour as well as playing in the backup band for the main performance. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Charlene and check out her set last week when the tour made its stop at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia.
So Charlene, let’s talk about the SPACE Tour. How’s it going so far?
The tour is going really, really well. It’s been so much fun! I love everyone that is a part of this tour. They’re all some of my best friends. It’s just been a great experience so far.
Have there been any highlights along the way?
Umm… probably hearing Joe Walker talk about his belly button lint.
Oh yeah. Every night.
Have there been any low points yet, or is it too soon for that?
I mean, it’s a lot of hard work being trapped on a vehicle for so long. I’m constantly living off adrenaline all the time. It’s almost like I’m in a permanent state of hyperactivity. I’m not complaining though. I really love being on the road. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing, and like I already said, these guys are some of my best friends, so I’m really honored they asked me to join them on this tour. If there’s anybody I could be stuck on a bus with I’m glad it’s the people I’m with now.
What’s been your favorite stop on the tour so far?
I think probably the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. It was really special to play there. That was the place I first started performing and where they [Team Starkid] got started as well, so it makes a lot of sense that we began the tour there. I think it was a really sentimental moment for everyone.
So what’s your set list like on this tour? Last time I talked to you we spoke about your new album Animal Love. Are you playing any of those songs or sticking to your earlier material?
Yeah! The set is actually mostly off the new album. We’re throwing in some of the earlier material as well, but yeah mainly Animal Love stuff. The set list changes slightly from stop to stop.
How’s the album coming by the way? Is that what you were spending your time on before the tour?
Oh yeah, my life was consumed with that before tour. It’s almost there! I would say it’s about 60% done right now. I’m really excited for it to be complete. It’s a lot like raising a puppy. You’ve got to spend a lot of time with it and give it love and then you have to house break it. We’re almost at that house breaking stage. It’s going to be really amazing though. I’m really proud of it so far.
Any last comments on the SPACE Tour? As the opening act and member of the backup band you probably have better insight than anybody.
I’m just so in awe by the talent of this group of people, and I’m really honored and fortunate that they asked me to join them. It feels like a rock show, and the energy from the audience at each show is so electric. It’s just a really amazing experience and I can’t emphasize how grateful I am to be a part of it.
When Charlene took to the stage she wowed the audience nonstop for upwards of an hour with wailing guitar solos, flawless melodies, and glitter. There was a lot of glitter. She set the energetic vibe of the night with danceable tunes like “Woman Up” and “Animal Love Part 1” off her soon-to-be new record and slowed it down a bit with some of her earlier songs like “Different Colored Eyes” and crowd favorite “Dress and Tie,” which she prompted the audience with, “Everyone needs to grab someone and dance like it’s middle school!”
She was joined onstage by Team Starkid member Dylan Saunders who accompanied with Darren Criss’ usual half of duet in “Dress and Tie,” showing off his extraordinary vocal capabilities in whimsical harmonies and equally pleasing melodies. For her final song of the night Charlene was once again joined by Dylan Saunders and another fellow Starkid Jaime Lyn Beatty for a beautiful performance of the closing number “Animal Love 2.”
Charlene stopped by NBC’s Charlotte Today to perform “Animal Love 1” accompanied with backup vocals by Jamie Lyn Beatty. You can catch Charlene and her band on the SPACE tour for the next month. Her new album is expected to be released in March 2012.
Photos by Adam J. Albert