Listening to Charlie Dane Lublin croon as she strums her guitar, it’s easy to forget that the Oyster Bay resident is only 14, and even easier to see why she has been tapped for a second time to perform in one of the music industry’s biggest showcases.
Charlie Dane, as she is known by her fans, shows off a mature sound and an expansive vocal range -- regardless of her venue choice.
“I love performing live,” she said while giving an interview and later performing inside a teepee set up in her family’s backyard.
“She doesn’t get nervous,” added her father, Marc Lublin, who admitted that he’s the one usually sweating when his daughter takes the stage.
Even when the monitor that allows artists to hear themselves sing shut off in 2011 during her debut performance at Austin, Texas’ annual South by Southwest (SXSW) -- one of the biggest musical festivals in the country -- a then-12-year-old Charlie didn’t miss a beat.
On March 16, she’ll be returning to the same venue for her second SXSW appearance, but this time she’ll be bringing a new sound and new set. (Oh, and she intends to make sure the monitor is on.)
“My voice has changed a lot in the past two years … it’s gotten stronger,” she said. “I’ll be playing a lot more originals, too.”
Charlie will be performing in the two-day “Invasion of the GoGirls” showcase, part of the week-long festival. Just like in 2011, Charlie earned her spot through a talent-seeking contest that GoGirls held on ReverbNation, a site where emerging artists can share their music and electronic press kits.
Although the Oyster Bay High School freshman will most likely be the youngest performer in the showcase yet again, that doesn’t rattle her. She has been a musician for most of her young life.
Her mother, Pattie Lublin, recalls her daughter singing from the time she could talk. When she was only 5, she asked her parents for guitar lessons and they obliged, and by the time she was 10, she was writing her own songs and performing them live.
“Even as a very little kid, she had a huge attention span. She’d go into her room for hours and just keep playing the same three notes until she got it,” said Pattie Lublin. “When she was 9, I'd take her to musical festivals and she wanted to listen to live music all day long.”
While many of her peers might be listening to Justin Bieber, Charlie’s favorite artists include The Beatles, Adele and indie favorites such as Grace Potter and Susan Tedeschi. Her sound, which she describes as “pop soul,” has been compared to Jewel, Sheryl Crow and Carole King.
Charlie’s first original song, “Dreamland,” is the title track to her debut album, which was released last year -- she has another one in the works. She draws inspiration for her music from things she hears throughout her day, dreams and life events. For instance, the death of her pet chameleon spurred her to write “Past the Point.” Although she’s not allowed to date yet, she also wrote a song about violent teenage relationships that earned her a finalist spot in a contest held by the non-profit PAVE the Way Project in collaboration with Carlos Santana.
“I’m always thinking about ideas [for songs],” she said. “I’ll be in school or at restaurants and I’ll just go into the bathroom, pull out my phone and record any line that is stuck in my head. I also write a ton of things down on my hand when I’m in school.”
During the past three years, Charlie has performed at Nassau Coliseum, where she sang the national anthem during an Islanders-Devils game, and at several music festivals -- including the 8th annual Mountain Jam Festival at Hunter Mountain, headlined by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes, and the Clearwater Music Festival in Croton-on-Hudson.
The bigger the audience the better, Charlie says. “I like the crowd’s reaction and afterward, when they come up to me in tears or say, ‘This relates to me so much,’ ” she adds.
Charlie credits her supportive parents for helping her pursue her dreams. All they want for their daughter, says Marc Lublin, is for her to just be heard.
“If she is heard by the right people she will be as big as anything out there,” he says. “She will be the next Adele, Taylor Swift, Melissa Etheridge ... She is fully invested and if you ask Charlie, she has no doubt that she’ll be doing this for the rest of her life.”