The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
Jan6WedWith his mix of secular and religious songs, Charlie Green is taking the music world by storm. January 6, 2016 by Claire Brine
Charlie Green felt so sick on the day of his Britain's Got Talent audition in 2008 that he nearly didn't go.
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- Faith & Friends
“I remember standing for hours in a queue that didn't seem to move forward,” says 18-year-old Charlie, who has been singing since he was a toddler. “I felt so ill that eventually I went to lie down in a café across the road. My dad said to me, 'Don't bother with this. It's no problem if we go home.' But I said that I'd be fine and that I wanted to do it.”
Charlie—who was 10 at the time—nailed the audition and was invited back to sing in front of the panel of judges: Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan.
“At the second audition, there were lots of TV cameras,” he says. “I remember all the acts who performed before me were buzzed off by the judges. It was the first time I felt really nervous.
“When it was my turn to walk onstage, I looked up and saw Simon Cowell. I could feel my hands shaking. I sang my song, but can't remember much about it now. The whole thing felt like a dream.”
Charlie's rendition of the Frank Sinatra hit, Summer Wind, brought the house down—and the audience to its feet. Simon clicked his fingers along to the beat, Amanda predicted he'd win the competition and Charlie breezed his way into the semi-finals.
The crowd gave him a standing ovation once again, but the judges were less impressed and voted him out of the competition.
“Funnily enough, I didn't feel too bad about going home,” Charlie says. “My family was more distraught than I was!”
But any sorrow felt at Charlie's exit from the competition was short-lived, as other doors were quick to open for him. The very next day, a television company invited Charlie to go to the Philippines. After singing at various concerts and TV shows in the country, Charlie—who is half-Filipino—became a household name.
As well as the Philippines, Charlie's career took him to Hong Kong, China, Japan, Italy, the United States and Canada. Being away from home for extended periods of time made it difficult for Charlie to keep on top of his school work, so at 14, he left his performing-arts school and started studying at home. Suddenly, he was able to focus more of his attention on pursuing a singing career full time.
Now, Charlie spends most of his days performing in concerts and corporate and church events in the United Kingdom, occasionally touring overseas and recording albums.
“In 2014, I released an album for The Salvation Army called I Will Sing Praise,” he says. “I chose the title simply because I'm a Christian and it reflects where I am with my faith.”
The album features Christian songs such as Amazing Grace and Lord, I Lift Your Name on High as well as more mainstream numbers, including The Rose and Can You Feel the Love Tonight.
The mixing of spiritual and secular material is important to Charlie.
“I wanted the album to be accessible to people, whether they are Christians or not,” he explains. “The songs are there primarily to entertain, but I also hope that when people listen to the words, they hear something that makes them switch on to faith.”
Charlie became a Christian when he was 15, having grown up in The Salvation Army.
“When I was younger, I went along to the services just because I wanted to see my friends,” he says. “Going to the Army was part of my routine. But then, something happened. I found God.
“It sounds weird, but I had always remembered hearing a voice in my head and trying to convince myself that it wasn't God. I used to ignore it. Then, one Sunday, I felt as though I heard God say: 'Look, I love you.' It was such a strange feeling—but I listened to that voice. I became a Christian.
“From that moment on, my faith has developed. These days, I have to pray and read my Bible every day, because if I don't do those things, I feel different. I argue more. Having a faith makes me a better person.”
Charlie is now a uniform-wearing member of The Salvation Army. He plays cornet in the brass band and has recently become deputy leader of the senior choir. He also helps out with the kids' club. His motivation is, he says, his “simple faith.”
“Sometimes we can overcomplicate our relationship with Jesus, but I don't think we need to,” he says. “He brings me something which even my closest friends and family can't bring.
“Jesus is the one thing that's constant in the world,” Charlie continues. “He's always there. And, whatever we go through, he's always going to be there. I know I can turn to him when things go wrong, and that's amazing.”
In sharing his Christian beliefs with others, Charlie hopes to encourage them on their own faith journey. Whether Charlie sings at church events or on TV in front of millions, he emphasizes that, “I'm always on duty for God.” His commitment to his faith prompts every decision he makes in his singing career.
“My dream is to be in a Broadway musical, such as Les Misérables or The Phantom of the Opera,” he says. “But if I was offered something that interfered with my faith, I wouldn't do it. In the back of my mind, I'd be thinking, Would God like this?”
As Charlie looks ahead to his future, he knows he is in for a busy year.
“It's an exciting time for me, because ultimately I don't know what's going to happen or where I'll be in a year's time. It's great and it's scary. But in the middle of the not knowing, I find comfort in one of the songs that I sing with The Salvation Army, which says: 'When you don't understand the purpose of His plan/In the presence of the King, bow the knee.' And that's exactly how I feel.”
Reprinted from The War Cry (UK), February 14, 2015