Classically trained multi-instrumentalist CHARLEENE CLOSSHEY began piano at the age of 2, reading music before English. She breaks the mold as an actress, singer, violinist, and award-winning composer, her performances are described as “enchanting” with an “angelic” voice “reminiscent of a bygone era”. A Broadway actress in Tony Award winning musical Once, Charleene broke onto the big screen starring in feature films No Postage Necessary (the first film to release using blockchain technology streamable for cryptocurrency) and cult holiday classic An Evergreen Christmas.
With a passion for all things Christmas, Charleene’s first mainstream album Christmas Time is Here produced by 6-time Grammy winner Brent Maher features live orchestra and choir recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria. The album opens with Holiday Radio Top 20 hit “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” later featuring the voices of Sofia Boy’s Choir in Charleene’s own composition of the sacred prayer “Ave Maria”. Both tracks have already received international press acclaim. She’s a Top 5 Most Spun Indie Artist on radio with a Top 40 most played song across all radio format, spinning alongside Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Pentatonix, and Sia.
Charleene is set to release her next album Only Love Remains produced by Brent Maher in 2021.
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For American performing artist and creative producer Charleene Closshey, music was her first language: Charleene learned to read music before words when she began studying the piano at age 2. Since then, her storytelling mediums have expanded: she’s appeared on Broadway, scored music for films, produced and starred in a feature film next to a pious Viking, released both singles and LPs across diverse musical genres, played Irish fiddle with Celtic Thunder, sang opera in Rome, was called out by Frank Sinatra, Jr. on stage as the ‘violinist who knows my dad’s songs as well as I’, and dueled fiddles with Charlie Daniels (twice).
She’s earthy: a Capricorn with Taurus moon and Taurus rising, who says she seldom lets an initial roadblock stop her…admittedly, once she’s considered every detail. She’s grounded: a trained technician attentive to her craft, coupled with a self-proclaimed freedom to approach a situation with unencumbered creativity. And, she’s legit inspiring, shining in her roles around any camera or microphone.
“I believe success is defined by every individual and is a culmination of projected vision and tenacity of spirit. You can wish for something all day long, but if you don’t engage in allowing, success seldom manifests.
“To me, I perceive success as consistent present moment living. Everything is created in THIS moment. Not in the last or in the next, but right here, right now. I feel successful when I’m creating, staying fully present in the here and now. It feels good. And right. And truthful. To me, that’s a huge success.”
When asked about her music, Closshey says, “As a whole, my music is always about Story. Whatever story I’m telling in the moment, whether it’s the story of the lyrics, the story of the emotions being sung, or even the story unfolding visually on the screen, that is my focus. And different stories ‘sound’/are told differently. Some live on a Christmas Tree farm in the hills of Tennessee, others in a New York nightclub, and still others in a Celtic meadow. Location (and thus genre) matters less to me than the narrative. And narrative surpasses just words or lyrics – narrative embodies the entire arc of a song or piece. Music should paint pictures in your mind while words paint pictures on your heart.”
Charleene’s first starring role in feature film AN EVERGREEN CHRISTMAS (Netflix) was a seamless fit, combining her talents of acting, singing, and playing both the piano and violin on screen and in the score, working beside Academy Award Nominee Robert Loggia and country music legend Naomi Judd. She received a Best Actress nomination at the 2014 California Independent Film Festival, where the film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. AEC won the Audience Choice Award at the AMFM Palm Springs Film Festival the same year.
Her second feature film starring role in NO POSTAGE NECESSARY placed her beside British actor George Blagden (VIKINGS, VERSAILLES), an experience she says reinforced the subtle power of giving. “Honesty is such an integral part of creating a character. This karmic idea of giving and receiving really comes to life when actors freely open themselves to their scene mates…that’s when the magic happens. Words can get in the way; silence is powerful.”
Silence plays an important role in Charleene’s storytelling in docu-drama THE PAST IS NEVER DEAD: THE STORY OF WILLIAM FAULKNER, the first and only authorized documentary of this famed American writer. Charleene plays opposite Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (William Faulkner) as Faulkner’s long-time Hollywood mistress Meta Carpenter. “Although there’s plenty of dialogue, there’s so much subtext to the emotions these two historical characters felt. And this subtext lived in all the silent thoughts, glances, even breaths the two shared. Silence is the fertile soil in which growth takes seed.”
Charleene says for both her music and acting work she relies on “a grounded approach with an unsullied belief in possibility”, a perspective often termed Magical Realism in visual art.
“I believe all of life is actually quite miraculous. Every interaction, every fibre of connectivity (whether pleasing or challenging) opens us up to something greater than ourselves IF we so allow. I guess this belief just spills from my heart into my work.”
Charleene has appeared in dramas, comedies, and musicals across the globe, making her Broadway debut in 2014 in Tony Award winning musical “Once” on the same stage as Julia Roberts debuted eight years prior. Her inaugural theatre piece titled “Feather: A Musical Portrait” in which she composed the score made its U.S. premiere Off Broadway in the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival, a run in which Charleene starred in and produced.
“For many years, I played in the sandbox of other artists’ stories — an excellent training ground indeed, and experience which firmly solidified my desire to share my own stories. It’s why I began writing and composing!
“Life is about connectivity and truth. All kinds of truths. I think I was just created to share stories.”
In addition to singles and other full LP albums, Charleene released the soundtrack and score for NO POSTAGE NECESSARY titled “Talk About Love: Music from the Motion Picture No Postage Necessary,” working with 6 time Grammy winner Brent Maher to produce the song tracks featuring her vocals heard in the film. “Brent inspires with his effortless ability to allow an artist to create, gently guiding towards even greater ideas and sounds.”
Brent (dubbed the “Christmas King” in Nashville) and Charleene (with her encyclopedic knowledge of Christmas music from around the globe) created their first Holiday album “Christmas Time is Here”. The LP features innovative takes on classic holiday tunes and reintroducing a few melodies not often heard. Charleene penned an original version of the sacred prayer “Ave Maria” which made its world premiere on December 25, 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Sofia Boys Choir Bulgarian National Orchestra.
The producing duo’s next album “Only Love Remains” is slated for a 2021 release.
“We’ve been really blessed to work with top shelf songwriters, either by co-writing with them or sharing their stories through song. I love to tell other people’s stories. It gives me a different view of Life, like looking through new spiritual lenses. I think it actually makes me a better person because I’m living another’s perspective each and every time I sing their song. It makes me feel like we’re really all connected that much more.”
Admittedly, Charleene’s excited about the continued opportunities unfolding and restless for the next phase of connecting audiences with her artistic works, many of which center around the construct of Choice.
Says Charleene, “We all have the ability to choose — to choose how we live our lives, with whom we share our lives, and how we express our deepest selves in this time and space. I am the writer of my own story. I can shape and shift my destiny. And, I’m not defeated by circumstance. If it’s true for me, it’s true for everyone! Even the hardest lives find joy when they realize happiness begins within. Everything starts from within. You want to change your environment? Go within. You want to spark a revolution? Go within. To change the world, we must first change ourselves. Otherwise, what are we really changing?”