Emotional. I’m on the other side of massive heartbreak, speculating. I was having a hard time being objective while in the middle of this entirely necessary human experience. I think it’s easier to map the storm, to measure all its parts, when you’ve finally made it through. You need to see it for everything it was and everything it wasn’t before you allow yourself to make any kind of judgment. In the eye of any storm, it’s easy to assume. To assume you won’t make it out, to assume you’ll never be the same if you do, to assume others will look at you and see nothing more than your incredible sadness.
I forgot to assume, however, that I may, against all the odds, make it out stronger. That any and all devastation is essential to my bigger something.
And here I am. Humbled, breathing unlike I’ve breathed before. In possession of a much bigger something.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “To Tell You The Truth”?
I could talk and talk and talk on this song. It was such a sudden and intense outburst of thought and emotion. There had been feelings brewing for a long time, that was a certitude I couldn’t ignore. It was a precipitous realization, but looking back after coming to was really similar to watching some B chick flick. It was inevitable. I’d, over six or so months, fallen in love with my best friend.
With most things, there’s a before and an after. The After was menacing. I’d have to profess my affections or keep them to myself. In both narratives, it seemed imperative I don’t act unless I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I was doing the right thing. Thus, “To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I feel about you.”
The thing of it was, infatuation and love are two closely aligned emotions. Was it love I was experiencing, or was I underwhelmed and looking to the person nearest for some kind of excitement?
I live to transmogrify. I see stories everywhere I look. Everything, in some way or another, dazzles me. And that was especially apparent when I was with him. Love has the qualities of magic. It’s how this perfectly mundane evening in December became a night I never wanted to forget.
It wasn’t this extraordinary meet cute. Sure, the air was warm, and the stars were out, but beyond that it wasn’t romantic. All I had was this bond with this person. But it was big enough to outlive us. And I still swear it was bright enough to notice from space.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I wouldn’t so much call my experiences with this person leading up to the conception of “To Tell You the Truth” events so much as I would call them misadventures. In hindsight, it seems like we were both fumbling over the inevitability of our love story, and I think everyone around us was equally unphased by our comradeship. There was more there, it just took one or both of us to see it.
I always wanted a love affair I could describe as silly and down to earth at the same time as enchanted and short-lived. Writers make things out of every plain detail, which is what I wanted to do with “To Tell You the Truth.” I wanted to make a thing of Halloween. A thing of this wedding we graced, finding ourselves, hours later, aboard a random hotel shuttle, drunk and forty miles out of our way. A thing of this ugly Christmas sweater party in Simi Valley.
What I didn’t need to make a thing out of, and what I’ll never forget, was how he managed to exert a heroic amount of patience and compassion for a friend of mine he’d never before met, who’d let loose at the party, and couldn’t make it more than a minute in the car without needing to pull over to soothe her drunken motion sickness.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
I’m a very visual person. I think it’d be an incredible disservice to the story I wanted so badly to tell if we didn’t try to make a mini Netflix-like teen rom-com out of it.
The single comes off your new album Sad Girl Music – what’s the story behind the title?
“Sad Girl Music” is the title of the final song on the album.
It’s funny how timing works. In the eight months it took to write Sad Girl Music, everything came very full circle. I went from not knowing how I felt about this person, to knowing exactly how I felt. And then, quite inexplicably, I’m back to where I was when I wrote “To Tell You the Truth,” only now, the pink patina of hope has turned to a miserable blue, and I’m not wondering if I love this person, I’m more wondering if what I’m feeling is hate.
So, I’d say the “story” or the “inspiration” behind the title comes from that blue. That pristine sadness. That ultimate confusion. How did my album go from pondering forever to accepting never again?
The truth. We have very different versions of the truth. And I think his inability to see mine, and my desire to lead him away from the untruths he seemed eager to adopt as his truths, led us to an early expiration date.
How was the recording and writing process?
Albums are most foreboding in the beginning. Trying to imagine what this intangible thing is going to become is an anxiety unlike any other, which is why you have to dive right in.
There were many songs that didn’t make the cut. Many truths I wanted to tell that fell a little flat. I had to be more selective and realize quality is better than quantity. Why marry dead weight?
I gave my producer more creative freedom than I had in the past. Comfort zones should never be comparative. Each time I sit down in that studio, I hope I’m closer to having no comfort zone at all.
Where I bit my tongue before, I’m not biting my tongue anymore. I have a lot to say and, as the world will tell you, not much time here to waste. It takes recognizing your worth to know that your words are written in the stars, they’re beautiful, and they’re worth pointing out.
With the success you have earned throughout your career – does that put any pressure on you as you release new material?
Any pressure I face comes more from what I haven’t done than operating under what I have done. I think everyone’s version of “making it” is different. But the general consensus is you’re nothing until you’re a household name. That’s pressure. That’s weight. I’ve tried, largely, to remove myself from expectation—mine and everyone else’s. But, of course, I’m plagued commonly. We all fall victim to comparison, to the “in” crowd.
What aspect of love and loss did you get to explore on this record?
Every aspect of love and loss plays a crucial and fundamental role in my story.
Months ago, I’d have told you love played the bigger part, but now that I’m observing this hurricane from above, I can firmly say loss became the heroine. She’s much more beautiful in hindsight, and she really did swoop in to save the day.
I only wish she hadn’t been accompanied by confusion, anguish, and irrelevance.
I lost a little bit of myself to a big love. I questioned my place on the planet. I questioned the bigger something I was told I’d eventually fathom. But I can firmly say, all that transpired unveiled a much bigger and prettier picture than the storyline I’d become a part of.
Any plans to hit the road?
No plans. But that is the goal.
What else is happening next in Charlee Remitz’s world?
Hopefully another big love. Words. More sudden, intense realizations. And, I guess, some Sad Girl Music.