Zealous for a calmer moment

University student Charlie Schaller has recently released his own CD

by Katrina Wilber

Charlie Schaller does it all. He sings, plays the piano and guitar, and writes his own songs.

But, unlike the majority of up-and-coming singer-songwriters, music wasn’t Schaller’s first choice.

The University marketing senior was a theater student for two years before switching to the Carlson School of Management. He said he spent last summer in New Jersey, and that’s when he decided he’d work with a ministry organization, Campus Crusade for Christ, for a few years after college.

Schaller’s do-it-all attitude toward life carries over into his music. He has played numerous instruments throughout his life, making it a personal goal to record an album before graduation. That goal prompted him to do his research. Soon, he signed with a newly formed local record label.

“I wanted to walk away from college with something tangible to represent my musical accomplishments,” Schaller said. “Since a lot of music is performed live, there’s nothing left after it’s over.”

The songs on his debut album, “The Boy Smiled,” are a mix of Schaller’s musical interests, varying from the Dave Matthews Band and Dashboard Confessional to Alanis Morissette and Idina Menzel.

“The style of my songs depends on what kind of mood I’m in,” Schaller said. “Sometimes, I’m in a Jason Mraz mood, and, sometimes, I’ll be in a Something Corporate mood.”

There’s a fine line between inspiration and pure mimicry, and Schaller walks that line with the skill and dexterity of a tightrope walker.

While his musical influences are definitely recognizable, “The Boy Smiled” doesn’t sound like a cover album. Instead, the influences are simply undertones of Schaller’s sound.

Besides having a certain musical style, Schaller himself is a rarity in the music world, because he’s not in it for fame and fortune, he said. The CD-making venture was only supposed to be a fun project on the side. But it snowballed from there.

“A lot of people really enjoyed the album, so gigs and stuff just keep popping up,” Schaller said.

He might not want to pursue music as a career, but with a sound like this, he might want to rethink that decision.