Charm La’Donna is a 21st Century Renaissance Woman with no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
The famed choreographer, who recently choreographed the Super Bowl for The Weeknd, loves both how personal but also collaborative music can be. She attributes her readiness for the halftime opportunity not only to her own hard work and skillset but to the guidance of mentors in the industry such as the iconic Fatima Robinson.
When she’s not choreographing innovative and expressive dance, Charm’s writing and performing profound and empowering lyrics. Most recently, she released the single “Queen” serving as an anthem and a reminder for women to remember their worth, and “do your best, love what you do, and be proud of the work you put out.”
Charm believes that the fear of showing up as your authentic self can be relieved if you can answer yes to those three points. We got to speak to this multi-hyphenate Queen more about the importance of following all of your dreams, and what the future may hold for this visionary.
What was your creative process like with your newest single, “Queen”?
CHARM LA’DONNA: That process varies. Everything I do, I do based on a feeling. What I feel when I first hear that beat, what I feel when I hear that beat and what words or choreography just flows from me. I’m inspired by almost everything around me, it just comes out in different ways.
“Queen” came about when I was in the studio with my producer friend. I was just telling him I want something that hits hard and represents power and strength and he started playing the most fire track I’ve heard. “Queen” literally organically happened in that space. I wanted to talk about power with this record, I wanted to feel strong.I wanted to represent myself and so many other women who feel powerful and strong. I wanted to represent those who don’t feel strong, but when they hear this record they feel empowered.
Sometimes a song may start off a poem. Sometimes it may be inspired by something I hear, or something I see. Really I’m just inspired by the world around me.
What do you hope people take from “Queen”?
CHARM LA’DONNA: I want people to really live out loud. To know that they can do what they’ve always dreamed of doing. I want them to understand and wrap themselves in their power. I want them to see a Black woman, multi-hyphenated, really taking control of herself and her life and her story.”
I think my advice for women who struggle with that path is to just take it one day at a time. Remind yourself every day that you’re important, everyday that you’re a queen, everyday that you’re special, everyday. Remind yourself that you are beautiful, as much as you can. And you know, every day is not perfect. But I think those little reminders or trying to find, you know, people around you that make you feel good.
Music is something you’ve only recently begun sharing with the public. What has this experience been like going from sharing your choreography to sharing this other side of your artistry?
CHARM LA’DONNA: Right now I’m releasing singles just to show people where I’m from. Let people hear my voice. What I’m really excited to be working on is actually a project to drop. I dropped my first single “Westside” right at the height of the pandemic but the love and support was still so amazing.
I wouldn’t say that I have a definite “sound” per se, I’m influenced by so many types of things and types of music, though you can probably hear my West Coast upbringing and influence. I will say that at the core of all of my music is this sense of power and strength.
Has anyone ever tried to deter you from following all of your passions? Did they ever tell you to “stay in your lane”?
CHARM LA’DONNA: I’ve never had anyone personally tell me to stick to one thing. Ever. I think growing up, I’ve always dabbled in many art forms. You know, like you say, choreography and dance come to the forefront of what that was for me. And now, I feel empowered to explore all my aspirations, Me going for all my dreams is something that’s naturally happening. I find that having a great team helps me organize because you have to be organized in order to be wearing all those hats. That helps me to be able to keep going.
Have you ever been afraid of trying and failing?
CHARM LA’DONNA: I think a lot of people have those ‘what if’ moments ? What if this doesn’t work? I’ve created a platform for myself over here. And now with music, I’m starting all over. People didn’t know I wrote. But I had this passion. So it definitely was, it was in there. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t wondering, ‘what are people going to say?’ I just didn’t let that stop me. Through this whole process, I’ve found out that I’m really my worst critic. I’m the hardest on myself.
How do you manage to follow your dreams and still maintain the business side of that creativity? So many people struggle to juggle their interests or monetize their creative passions?
CHARM LA’DONNA: I have a great team. Having that team that helps me balance that because business is almost the complete opposite of creativity. It takes a lot of mental capacity. It can be draining at times because there is that part of the business process where you’re on phone calls and have a business to manage. It takes both sides of your brain. When it gets to be too much it’s important to have a team that you can tap into and honestly say “Okay this is too much for me, I need you to step in here.”
As a creative, what has it been like for you to create during the past year? Has the pandemic been difficult or was your art an outlet for you?
CHARM LA’DONNA: Being able to continue creating this time has been refreshing. It hasn’t been challenging because honestly I draw from that. Again, I’m inspired by my environment so I’ve just poured from my heart. I think that’s my form of release. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to collaborate and still work with amazing artists at this time and still produce art. And I feel like that art helps people. So as a creator, it’s almost like,I have this sense of responsibility- I feel like I have to keep creating. When I don’t have that feeling anymore, then I’ll have my time to myself or whatever that is, but for right now, it’s just me continuing to find the inspiration in all of these times because it’s crazy. I’ve always been outspoken in my art. It’s inherent. I’ve always been pushing boundaries with art and blending cultures and making statements. What’s embedded in me is embedded in my work.
What has it been like for you to create for yourself versus someone else?
CHARM LA’DONNA: I’ve learned so much about letting go. I am super, super critical. I am a perfectionist, I watched things over and over again. And I just had to be proud of myself and learn to live in my moment. Because, you know, sometimes, you know, this, we, we move so fast. One thing so the next thing to the next lesson, because we have to keep going and releasing my music and enjoying that process has been such a learning experience for me.
There was this amazing quote that talked about the importance of “creating in the absence of light.” What comes to mind for you when you hear a reminder like that?
CHARM LA’DONNA: It just takes me back to my childhood, when I was creating and choreographing steps in my room, and I felt so good doing it. I think that’s what I channel and drive me to now is. I do what I do because I want to do it, because it makes me feel good to do it.
What has this past year taught you about yourself, and what are you looking forward to going forth?
CHARM LA’DONNA: During the pandemic I got to slow down and spend time at home with family. I got to spend quality time with my younger cousins who look up to me in a way that I didn’t even realize because I’m always moving. I got to be with my mother and grandmother more as well so that was awesome.
At the height of the pandemic I took a break off social media, and just stopped for a second. I never really stopped creatively though. My life is never really routine but I do value being able to take those moments that I need to for myself to do things I enjoy.
When the future comes to mind- I am open. I see myself as so many things- the musician, the artist, the actress, the producer, the creative director, the TV and film writer. I see myself doing all of those things and doing them all well.