Since a young age, 23-year-old up-and-coming pop singer Charlie Korman has fully embraced the life of a musician.
“My mom and dad were always telling me I was always singing,” he exclusively tells PEOPLE. “Instead of loving movies, I wanted the CDs. I wanted to hear the music non-stop.”
However, “I didn’t want to be that kid who was just singing because he had a voice,” he explains about his journey. “I was hanging out with people who did that and I was a little shy or not upfront about .”
Then one day a song from The Weeknd came on, and Korman started singing along. “My friend stopped it, freaked out and I was in the studio the next morning,” he adds.
Now, the Chicago-based artist has released his EP titled Hardly Understood, which includes his new single “Options,” produced by Grammy-nominated Kosign of Da Internz, who has worked with Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and more.
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Korman, who says his taste in music is “all over the map,” reveals that his sound has evolved since he first stepped into a studio.
“My music has changed in so many ways,” he says. “I started off singing with a $20 microphone in a closet in my basement with the same friends. I didn’t have access to anything. Then I started ending up in studios with Grammy-nominated producers.”
But it’s his approach to writing lyrics that he’s most proud of.
“Instead of sharing a song, I’m sharing a conversation with other people,” says Korman. “That’s what I love to do. It’s all experiences. It’s all things I’ve gone through.”
With his new EP, Korman knew he had to give it a meaningful title that matched his art. “Hardly Understood was who I felt like and then started to accept,” he explains. “I also started to realize, this is everyone. They will ‘hope to,’ they’ll ‘try to’ and they’ll fail. It’s something that everyone wears.”
And while music is his chosen career path and passion, Korman continues to pursue his education.
“When you fly to L.A. then come back to regular student again, rough,” says Korman, who studies strategic communications at High Point University. “But at the same time, education is just something you need. Just because you end up making a great movie as an actor, it doesn’t mean you should completely rely on it. You need a safety net.”
But when it comes to his music, Korman says he’s just “excited to get back to L.A. and do what I love doing.”