By Jordy Brown
Charlie Hickey releases his first EP, Count the Stairs, introducing himself as a storyteller weaving intimate moments with graceful instrumentals. Hickey is from South Pasadena, steps from Downtown Los Angeles, and grew up in a musical home. Both of Charlie's parents are singer-songwriters and listening to Count the Stairs greatly reinforces that talent runs in his family. Charlie has been writing songs his entire life and gained the attention of Phoebe Bridgers at the age of thirteen with a YouTube cover of one of her early songs, Radar. The pixelated video showcases Charlie’s vocal sensitivity and talent on guitar. Since then, Charlie and Phoebe have played venues and recorded music together. Phoebe appears on the EP’s first track, No Good at Lying and Ten Feet Tall as backup vocals and gives the track a chilling vibrancy. Since the release of Count the Stairs, Charlie has gained the attention of Rolling Stones Magazine and is featured on Spotify’s All New Indie and Ultimate Indie playlists. The twenty-one-year-old is no short of talent and expertise with words, those that will age beautifully.
I discovered Charlie’s music through a friend after I said I listened to Phoebe Bridgers and Christian Lee Hutson and liked artists who focus equally on the musicality and storytelling of their music. It was clear from the first time hearing No Good at Lying that Charlie’s voice is truly one of a kind and feels emotionally gritty. His song Two Haunted Houses reminds the listener of growing into adulthood but also being caught between growing up and being seen as a kid as expressed “I can't find your house/ And there's an old lady staring at me/ And I'm pretty sure she's calling the cops/They're pulling up to the driveway/ ‘Hey kid are you lost?"’ Charlie’s music is a bridge between a lyrical narrative and growing out of one’s skin and inhabiting a new world. Count the Stairs is about growth but also shows Charlie’s reflective storytelling that left me listening for hours to find “a hidden meaning.”
When I listen to Charlie’s music it feels like I’m sitting in a room with an old friend, his warm-toned voice rings in a way that makes me feel understood. The power of music is to transform a space or feeling and Charlie’s music extends a hand to the listener and captivates the moment from his faster-paced Ten Feet Tall to his slower echoey Notre Dame. Charlie has a way with words and no song of his song escapes this, he’s straight to the emotional point and notices every poetic detail like the final lines on the last track of the album, Notre Dame, “Smiling through a hole in a cutout body/ ‘Take a picture with me.’”
Charlie juxtaposes his songs in a crafted way, swaying between emotions. To say that Charlie is mature or introspective is a great understatement, only scratching the surface of his emotionally charged lyrics and overall musical abilities. Count the Stairs is a grand entrance for Charlie, an initiative first step in his musical journey that will continue for years to come. Check out Count the Stairs by Charlie Hickey wherever you listen to music now.
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