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A Musical Life: Charisse Kahler

Charisse Kahler is a native of Michigan who has lived in a variety of cities and states. For more than a decade she and her husband Steve have performed as The Kahlers.

My concept of songwriting is that the best ones are handed to you, as John Lennon once said, on a flaming pie.

Those songs that seem to come to you—and this probably sounds crazy, but I’ve actually heard other songwriters say something like this--when I finish a song that’s almost like one of my best songs it’s almost like I was in a trance when I was writing it because I’ll look back at the lyrics afterwards and say, ‘You know, I don’t remember. I don’t actually remember writing that.’ But I did.

I find that the songs that I have to work on the hardest, I’m not really that happy with ‘em when I’m done. And they are usually the ones that don’t get played. And I have a number of those. And the ones that seem to come full-blown, all at one time—you’ve just gotta sit down and catch it. You won’t get it later. It’s like, ‘Write me now or I’m gone.’ That’s the muse. She’s either with ya or she’s not.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.