First Play Live

First Play Live: Nuela Charles, The Grand Hustle

Edmonton's Nuela Charles lit up CBC Toronto's Studio 211 performing songs from her latest, The Grand Hustle.
Edmonton's Nuela Charles performs from her latest album, The Grand Hustle. (Cathy Irving/CBC Music)

Nuela Charles entered our Searchlight competition in 2013 and blew our collective minds with her song, "Unfortunate Love". We've been waiting to work with her ever since. When we heard that she had a new album on the way we jumped at the chance to record this First Play Live with her and her amazing band.

Toronto fans of the Edmonton songstress filled Studio 211 as Charles ran through songs from her new record, The Grand Hustle, a record that, in her words, is about making it through.

"It's about, for me, just the ultimate comeback. That could be anything in your own life but just coming from a low, coming back and just killing it," Charles said to CBC Music in an interview.

Charles spent two weeks in Toronto working with a variety of songwriters to create the unique blend of alternative soul found on The Grand Hustle, a new process for her that yielded incredible but challenging results.

"The hardest part about making this record has definitely been just letting go of my own insecurities. When you're working with other people in a short amount of time you don't really have time to be in your own head. So you're just letting it all go in the moment and if it sticks, great. And that's it. There's no going back and thinking it over for three weeks and being like 'I don't know if this works.' If it worked in the moment I just went with my gut and that was it. That was definitely the hardest thing."

It sounds like her gut was right. Nuela Charles' The Grand Hustle is available in stores now.


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