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Q & A: Charlie Forster Anderson


New York-based singer-songwriter Charlie Forster Anderson’s debut album ‘Long Story Short’ is a heartfelt and honest reflection on his life experiences. Released earlier this month, the album was recorded in Sydney after Anderson moved stateside from Sydney to focus on his musical career, and is a mix of country songwriting and rock ‘n’ roll styles.

If you had to have a celebrity catwalk-off, a la Zoolander, who would you choose to go up against?

I’d say… Mick Jagger. Just so I can try and watch him closely in real life so I can perfect my hip flex rock ‘n’ roll hand flop manoeuvre (it’s harder than it sounds). I’d obviously lose, but at least I’d learn something.

You’ve been selected for to go to the Met Gala in New York, but you want to make a statement, what is the Pièce de résistance?

I’m going to pretend I didn’t have to quickly google Met Gala New York just now. I see it was on here last week in New York. I think I’d probably throw a Gibson guitar on my back and wear it around for the night like Johnny Cash would do. Not much of a costume, but it’d be a pretty badass fashion accessory.

If you had to go on a road trip with one of the Kardashians who would you be going with?

Do they have a dog? Yes I’d definitely go with the dog. Someone’s got to comfort that poor creature. Although, Kendall Jenner seems all right. But I guess she’s not really a Kardashian right?

What would you name your signature facial expression for the magazine shoots?

Wow, I’m in magazine shoots now? That’s awesome! No but seriously, that’s what I’d call it – “That’s awesome!”

In three words, using the initials C-F-A to begin each word, how would you describe your fashion stylings at this very moment?

Country, Fire, Authority.

For the uninitiated how would you describe Charlie Forster Anderson’s sound and live shows?

It’s kind of like an Eagles-esque early Kings of Leon. Maybe throw some Ryan Adams in there too. It’s basically country songwriting at it’s core, with a rock and roll performance. Our shows are wild and we get pretty intense onstage. You can hear that intensity in songs like Stateside and Without Me, tracks 5 and 6 on the record. But then sometimes if I’m playing solo shows I like to keep it simple and acoustic and I go a little gentler.

We’re loving your song Let It Be Right, Let Her Be Mine, what’s the story/inspiration behind the song?

That was a pretty intense song for me to write. It’s kind of about a bad breakup I had with my long-term girlfriend right before we were supposed to move to New York. We’re all good now (and now I live in New York) but it was kind of a tumultuous time for the both of us and the song is basically me talking to myself saying “everything’s going to be alright”. I felt like I had two personalities conflicting with each other at the time. I was kind of fighting myself.

What are three things that people should know your debut album?

It took us nine months to record from start to finish because of said break up. We recorded it all as a band playing live to 2” tape (the old school way) and threw in a few overdubs if the songs needed it. And Long Story Short is a no holds barred summary of my life so far.

You previously lived behind the Hopetoun hotel in Surry Hills which you’ve described as a “very loud childhood”. Did living that close to a pub give you a crash course introduction to live music?

Yeah I think it did. I grew up right behind it. And man it was loud, but then they got those sound proofing roller door things installed cause other neighbours complained. I preferred it when it was loud. I remember being a teenager and listening to bands like Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Mental as Anything and INXS and all those great Aussie 80’s bands and thinking, wow, they all started playing at the Hopetoun Hotel, the pub next door to me. Maybe I can do that too someday. Unfortunately it closed before I started regularly playing live so I never got the chance, but maybe it’ll re-open someday and I’ll get to play it… Fingers crossed.

Your album came out on the 23rd anniversary of life-saving open-heart surgery. How did such a major life changing event have an impact on the way you write music?

Well I was pretty young when I got the surgery but it’s definitely my first clear memory. I was 3 years old. I remember waking up in the hospital at about 3 am the day after the operation. I hung out with the nurses at the nurse’s station until mum and dad came back at about 6 or 7am because I didn’t really know where I was and didn’t want to stay in my bed alone. The doctors said I wouldn’t have lived past about 15 years of age without the surgery.

So growing up, I’ve looked at everyday of my life after 15 years old as being a massive bonus on top of the short life I was originally supposed to have. It’s made me just appreciate every day. Although a lot of my songs are pretty dark, you can hear that appreciation in my lyrics. It sounds weird, but I try to appreciate the good times and the bad times equally. Like I’ll stop myself in the middle of some bad period in my life and go “well at least I’m not dead yet”… It all makes for an interesting perspective on life, which turns into weirdly honest song writing to try and make sense of it all.

Charlie Forster Anderson’s debut album ‘Long Story Short’ is available now.

Written by Max Higgins