At 27, Detroit singer Charity has full license to write a song called “Millennials.” And the lead single from her upcoming debut album, Tender Headed, premiering exclusively below, absolutely draws on true experience — her own and others’ — as part of that generation.
“Millennials” was born from a phone conversation Charity (nee Ward) had with her sister while driving to a show in Toledo. “Her boyfriend had quit a job he hated and was having a really hard time finding something else and was just struggling and real frustrated,” she recalls. “We realized how many millennials experience that. So many of us are broke. I’m constantly transferring money out of my savings into my checking. I was living in my mom’s house as a whole grown-ass adult when I wrote it. Just looking around it was like, this is all of us.”
Charity then wrote the loping, organ-laced “Millennials” as an anthem of inclusion. “My mission was to talk about the fact that we’re not alone,” she explains. “We’re all feeling this social media pressure, wanting to keep up yet falling far behind — and mind-f***ed by all this instant gratification around us. When I want something I can go on Amazon and get it instantly. If I want a fact I can Google it and know right away. There’s so much information, but our ability to become ourselves and come into success or into stability is so delayed compared to generations before us. Everything moves so fast for us, except our own lives.
“So I wanted to explore that, but in a fun way, musically.”
The daughter of a preacher, Charity learned to sing in church and in a group with her three sisters. She studied at Tennessee State University in Nashville and released an acoustic-flavored EP called Yellow in 2015. The thrust of Tender Headed, however, is a more contemporary R&B approach that Charity developed during the past two years.
“I allowed myself to explore other sounds and production styles,” she says. “I wanted to have more fun with the music. As much as I think the acoustic guitar-driven stuff is beautiful, it wasn’t fun to me and I didn’t feel it was reflective of my culture. I wanted to explore more hip-hop and trap and infuse gospel and neo soul into what I do and have more fun as a person and a musician.” That said, Tender Headed — which doesn’t have a release date yet — is filled with powerful statements, including between-song dialogues about femininity and empowerment.
“I have a tendency to be a little profound,” Charity acknowledges. “There are messages I want to get across. I want people to feel seen more than anything else. I want women, people of color, people who have been pushed out to the margins, millennials, people with broken hearts, people of all different walks of life…to feel like, ‘Wow, somebody sees me and feels me and understands me.’ And I want them to feel pushed towards healing and loving themselves and feeling joy again, and I want my music to help do that for them.”