So a bit about me...
My name is Charis Anne and I am a professional busker and singer from Reading, England.
When I was a child and was asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I would always answer "a singer" and as I grew up that has still always been my answer!
My family are very musical; My Grandad was a semi-professional musician in his younger days, my Dad writes his own songs, sings and plays guitar and all of my eight brothers and sisters can either play an instrument or sing to a pretty good standard! So growing up was very fun and noisy (especially as we were all homeschooled)!
Every year round my Grandparents house at Christmas time, we would put on a family musical for friends and extended family to come and watch! It was so much fun! (I have attached a recording of our version of 'Beauty and the Beast' ! ) <
Creating our family musicals together hold some of the most precious and happiest family memories I have. One of the earliest musicals we put on was 'The Phantom of the Opera' and that musical has played a big part in my journey as a singer...
When I was very young I was taken by my family to London to see 'The Phantom of the Opera' at 'Her Majesty's Theatre'.
I was so utterly mesmerized by the unbelievably gorgeous singing that I heard and I wished that I could be able to sing like that! I came home singing the songs and afterwards I would practice singing for hours and hours at the top of our stairs (which had an amazing echo)! It was this experience that made me realize that I had to become a singer some day!
Being homeschooled I didn't have many opportunities to sing to people outside of my family. So I would sing to people whenever I got/created the chance too. I have fond memories of randomly singing to a group of primary school children who were visiting the same Castle as my family on holiday - the teacher made them all be quiet and applaud when I finished my impromptu solo. I also have a memory of singing down an announcers microphone at a fair once! Honestly whenever I could sing to an audience I would - I was desperate to sing!
When I was a teenager I went to Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke to study a BTEC in 'The Performing Arts', I learnt a lot about performance whilst there and was very proud when I left the course with a triple distinction!
After gaining my BTEC I decided to take a gap year with a Christian Theatre Company based in Somerset called "Oddments Theatre"...
There are three things I would say I am most passionate about in my life (I have already mentioned the first two) they are family, singing and God!
My gap year unfortunately was not everything I had hoped it would be and I ended up leaving early. However the memories of singing to prisoners in prison, performing in multiple churches and schools will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was not only an invaluable performance experience for me; but what some of those performances meant to other people was life changing (especially those in prison) and this knowledge is so humbling for me - it had made me value the arts in a way I never had before.
After my Gap year I studied 'Music Theatre' at the 'University of Central Lancashire' in Preston, England. Whilst at University I had my first ever voice training in Estill Technique, which was where I discovered that I had a range of a soprano and started to build up my singing technique.
After I graduated in the Summer of 2015, my hope was to continue my performance education and enroll at a London Drama School. I auditioned but unfortunately the schools were looking for people who could dance, as well as sing and act. I have never been able to dance; my coordination has always been very bad due to having dyspraxia and therefore I was not offered a place. So with great disappointment as that door closed for me, I started searching for another avenue where I could use my talents and passions.
I returned home to Reading after University, joined spotlight and started looking for jobs within the performance industry. It was during this time of job searching, that I visited my sister in London. Whilst in London I saw an incredible male singer outside the 'National Art Gallery' singing to a backing track "On the Street where you live" from 'My fair lady'. I watched him amazed - I had never before seen a busker sing along to backing tracks. This experience lit a spark within me, as I was travelling back to Reading, I kept thinking to myself "I could do what he does". When I got home I started to look up equipment suitable for busking, and within a couple of weeks I was out singing on the street!
I went busking for the first time in July 2015. I was very nervous at first and my Mum very kindly offered to come with me (I was very grateful to her). I chose Basingstoke as my first town to try busking, as I knew the town well ( I went to College there). I was not sure what to expect; whether people would respond well to me or dislike my singing.
It was a quiet week day in Basingstoke that I chose to sing and I had only uploaded an hours worth of backing tracks, so I sang for just an hour. But within that hour many people gave and spoke to me saying they enjoyed my music, and when I counted up my earnings; to my Mum and I's astonishment I had made £85! I was so overjoyed and started wondering whether I could possibly do busking for a career!
Another interesting thing happened that week; it was that the same week I started busking was also the same week Basingstoke held their annual 'Basingstoke busking competition' and people who saw me busking earlier in the week said I should come along at the weekend and apply to compete. So I did! This time I went with my Dad and... I won!!!
I won £100 and the delightful busking bird which you can see in the photo!
I started busking as a profession and I love it! I believe that it was the job God wanted me to do from the start. I absolutely love being able to sing beautiful songs to people from all different walks of life and being able to have meaningful connections with the people I meet everyday on the street. Also through busking I have received many amazing opportunities to sing at other events. If you want to know more about these opportunities please proceed to my 'Singing Career' page!
Thank you so, so much for reading!