SINGER-songwriter Charlie Hughes is definitely taking the culinary part of Shakespeare’s famous quote about music being the food of love to heart.
Charlie, from Leigh, has just released debut single Strawberries and Stars after being snapped up by Buxton-based label MST Sounds.
The retro-sounding song, influenced by ’60s pop, marks the latest stage in a long and often-difficult journey for Charlie, whose interest in music first developed as a teenager living in a Wigan hostel.
Strawberries and Stars is being released with B-side Cookie, and Charlie says putting food references into his songs is a defining part of his lyric writing.
Charlie, 28, said: “My songs often have food puns in but I’ve absolutely no idea where that comes from. If I make it big perhaps fans will think it’s some sort of recipe.
“My lyrics are usually borne from true experiences and are often quite passive-aggressive about failed romances and relationships, which I set against upbeat music.
“This is my debut single and we’ve gone with a really vintage style, recording on quarter-inch tape.
“When I was at school I had a career options meeting and said I wanted to be a performer and the man said it was time to look at the real world. Since then I’ve had a kind of bitterness and wanted to prove him wrong.”
Charlie’s first love was acting and it was his passion for the theatre which landed him a record deal as he was spotted while performing at the Buxton Opera House.
He started playing guitar aged about 17 and wrote his first song around four years later based on the Tom Waits track Chocolate Jesus.
His range of influences include The Beatles as well as more contemporary artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Newton Faulkner and Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice.
He is already planning the follow-up to Strawberries and Stars with a second single out in the autumn.
He said: “I’ve got a song called Warm Hand, which is about waiting for a loved one who you don’t know is coming, and that will be released with a song called Pretty Little Dynamite.”
Charlie is currently performing on the Manchester scene and says he particularly enjoys playing at more intimate open mic venues.
Strawberries and Stars by Charlie Hughes is out now. For more information visit www.mstsounds.com.