Charlene Kaye

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Charlene Kaye
Born (1986-09-12) September 12, 1986 (age 30)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Genres Pop rock, indie pop, Rock, glam rock, electronic
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, keyboards, keytar
Years active 2008–present
Associated acts San Fermin

Charlene Kaye (born September 12, 1986 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American singer/songwriter and musician based in New York City.

Kaye's musical style ranges from piano-based orchestral ballads to more up-tempo synth-leaning songs with full band backing. She has cited a wide range of influences such as Queen, Blondie, David Bowie, ABBA, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Joni Mitchell, Beyoncé, Metric, Daft Punk, St. Vincent, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, Fiona Apple, and Elliott Smith.


Early life[edit]

Kaye began playing music at an early age, taking lessons in violin, piano, guitar, ukulele, saxophone, and clarinet. Besides Hawaii, she has also lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, and attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Upon graduation, she relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend the University of Michigan as an English major.[1]

Early career[edit]

Kaye was trained in classical piano from the age of five, but stopped lessons at age 16 because of a newfound interest in punk rock and the electric guitar. She began to write her own music at the age of 17 after discovering the software GarageBand.

At the University of Michigan, Kaye became involved with the local indie folk scene in Ann Arbor, playing with fellow Michigan acts Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate, and Glee's Darren Criss, with whom she still collaborates.

Solo career[edit]

After graduation, Kaye moved to New York City to pursue her music career. In 2011 she released "Dress and Tie," a duet with Darren Criss. The song was selected as official boarding music for Delta Air Lines and was used in a promotional video for NBC's TV series Chuck.

In 2012 she released her second full-length album Animal Love, which had more electronic and rock leanings. The album was funded entirely by Kaye's fans, with Kaye raising $34,000 of her original $20,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Animal Love reached #15 on the iTunes pop charts the week of release and received high praise from PopMatters,[2] Glamour,[3] and more. VH1 called it "at once classic and contemporary, a mix of glam rock and classical music in just the right measures"[4] and the New Yorker called it "a richly orchestrated pop album."[5]

In 2011 and 2012 she served as the opening act for StarKid Productions on their two national tours, The SPACE Tour and Apocalyptour, and played guitar in their backing band. In 2012 she headlined a national tour of her own and opened for Darren Criss on the sold-out New York and Boston dates of his Listen Up tour.

In March 2011 and 2013, Kaye played at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX.[6]

On June 20, 2016, she announced that she was taking on the moniker KAYE, and released the single, "Honey". Her debut EP as KAYE, Honey, is set to release on August 19, 2016.

Other projects[edit]

Kaye plays Slash ("Gash") in Guns N' Hoses,[7] an all-female Guns N' Roses tribute band based in New York City.

From April 2014, Charlene Kaye replaced Rae Cassidy on tour with San Fermin.



  • Things I Will Need in the Past (2008)
  • Animal Love (2012)


  • Charlene Kaye & The Brilliant Eyes EP (2012)
  • HONEY EP (2016)

Remix Compilations[edit]

  • Animal Love // Remixes (2013)

With San Fermin[edit]

  • Jackrabbit (2015)
  • Belong (2017)


  • "Skin and Bones (ft. Darren Criss)" [2008]
  • "Dress and Tie (ft. Darren Criss)" [2011]
  • "Animal Love I" (2012)
  • "Hummingbird Heart" (2012)
  • "Forever Is a Long Time" (2012)
  • "Animal Love II" (2013)
  • "Woman Up (Dave Scalia Remix) [ft. Kalae Nouveau]" {2013}
  • "Jackrabbit" (2016)
  • "Honey" (2016)
  • "UUU" (2016)


  1. ^ "Rising musician Charlene Kaye coming home to Ann Arbor for Blind Pig show". May 23, 2011. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Charlene Kaye < PopMatters". Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  3. ^ Brody, Caitlin (March 25, 2012). "We Have Charlene Kaye's Exclusive New Music Video and You're Gonna Love It! : Obsessed". Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  4. ^ Votta, Rae (October 10, 2012). "Charlene Kaye Is A 'Ballsy' Rock Goddess In 'Forever Is A Long Time' (VIDEO) | Music News + Gossip | VH1 Tuner". Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  5. ^ Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Charlene Kaye Announces Dates for Free SXSW Tour!". March 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  7. ^ "Guns N' Hoses". Retrieved 2013-11-17.