Charles was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Growing up, Charles had it rough and hard. When Charles was 14 years old, he left his mother and was introduced to people who did not have his best interest. At age 15, Charles’ father was released from prison, giving Charles the opportunity to meet his father for the very first time. Unfortunately, that meeting only furthered the negative influences that were confronting Charles. The next year, at age 16, Charles got into some trouble after being introduced to alcohol. On one occasion, he began to have problems related to the intake of alcohol and alcohol poisoning, and for almost three weeks, he couldn’t drink water, eat food or sleep.
At age 17, Charles traveled to Arizona with a cousin and finally hit rock bottom. Because Charles brought only $500 to Arizona, after a series of other bad things that happened, he ultimately became stuck in the desert state. Charles eventually returned to Minnesota at age 18 and chose to attend High School for Recording Arts (HSRA). He had always heard about HSRA while attending prior schools, but never checked it out for himself. Now, at age 18, and after numerous setbacks, Charles knew it was time to see what this HSRA was all about. Charles subsequently enrolled in HSRA. After enrolling, he realized HSRA was different than other schools. “The teachers care about you more, they actually listen to what you’re talking about,” said Charles. “They break things down step by step so you understand what they’re talkin’ about. They don’t talk to you like your some average black dude off the street. They do not judge books by the cover like some people do.”
Charles says the grades he earned in classes when he first began HSRA were not that good. But after he figured how the classes worked, he began to succeed. “When I figured out my PLP [Personal Learning Plan] it just helped me get way more organized,” stated Charles. “It helped me come up with a strategy to do my agenda and help me with my planning.”
Now, Charles is a paid intern at HSRA where cleans the building and helps the facility manager take care of the school facility. This is Charles’ very first real job. When Charles is not cleaning, he is in the studio making great music. Last year, Charles received five awards for the music he created and performed at HSRA (check out his video). This year, he is hoping to do even better.
With the help of HSRA staff members, Paris Yarbrough and Tabitha Wheeler, Charles recently moved into his first apartment after being homeless for five years.
When asked what the best thing about attending HSRA is, Charles replied, “The staff, the building, and being able to actually hear myself in the studio and make my dream come true. I have a chance at becoming famous one day.” Charles was happy to talk about how he is going continue on the remarkable track he has created for himself. “I’m going to stay in school, graduate, keep following up with music, with opportunities . . . and all doors that are in front of me, I’m going to open them.”