10 from ‘20 TWENTY’ | Daily News

10 from ‘20 TWENTY’

If ever there was a musician who has pushed the boundaries of Sri Lankan artistry on the international front, its Charin Mendes. This multi-talented, yet very humble and intriguing recording artist is a multifaceted musical maestro to say the least. He is a chart-topping singer-songwriter, engineer and producer who has iTunes top 10 and top 100 credits in multiple territories worldwide. In 2017 he was the “most Shazamed’ Sri Lankan artist on Apple’s music discovery app ‘Shazam’. He is also the first Sri Lankan to have been invited to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and has attended the awards more than thrice.

Charin is a B.A. Jazz (Honours) graduate of the prestigious Leeds Conservatoire (UK), which is Europe’s premier jazz conservatoire. Also being a qualified audio engineer and music producer, he graduated with top honours from the Academy of Contemporary Music (London), where other famous alumni such as Grammy award winner Ed Sheeran and Ted Dwane (Mumford and Sons) built their academic foundations as well. A digital marketer and entrepreneur by profession, he also holds a BBA in Management (USA). One thing is clear, this artist is dedicated to honing his crafts and has indulged in every avenue passionately towards success.

With many interesting accomplishments to his name it’s inspiring to find that Charin has been an active writer, producer and singer in the international music industry for a while now. So let’s find out what our guest today has to say about his latest progress, achievements and his experiences.


Q: What are you up to these days?

I balance a few careers simultaneously so that keeps me very busy. In terms of music, I have the new album coming up. It has music spanning multiple genres and amazing collaborations with some international artists. In my corporate life I am continuing my digital marketing endeavours delivering the best to our clients as usual.

Q: What was your vision for your new album and why did you name it ’20 TWENTY’ ?

I wanted to create a timeless record for the ages and celebrate all the genres that I love. 2020 was a monumental year for humanity. The name is also a tribute to Prince. His 35th album was titled ‘20Ten’, so I wanted to name mine ’20 Twenty’ a decade later.

Q: What inspired you to get into music, while also juggling a corporate profession?

In simple terms - I grew up with both. I grew up seeing my father excel as a corporate director at one of the leading conglomerates in the island. On the other hand my mum comes from a business family which is another well known brand in Sri Lanka. So I always had that influence. However, when it comes to music it was my father’s influence that got me started. He is a very good pianist and accordionist who was a former church organist too. He used to play on his piano in our living room and as a kid that was my introduction to music. Another key influence is my grandmother Iris Mendis. She is a classical piano teacher who has been training Sri Lankan pianists for over 70 years and at 91 years of age, still teaches young aspiring talent.

Later in life, many new mentors inspired me after my family moved to England. These include some of the artists I work with in London and Los Angeles. It’s great to inspire each other while working on a creative project we both love together.

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. 


Passionate. Persevering.

Q: You have been invited to the Grammy awards several times.

Breathtaking for the most part. Overwhelming sometimes too. Its always an amazing experience to meet and hang out with your musical idols. It was simply surreal meeting some of the legends that inspired me as a kid. In general, award season in Los Angeles is a very exciting time. But what was even more amazing is getting the opportunity to work on some amazing projects.

Q: Who is the most down to earth celebrity whom you have met so far?

To be honest all of them have been very humble and kind to me. If I had to choose only one, I would say Tom Hanks. He was one of the nicest humans beings I’ve met.

Q: Having a bachelors in jazz, what is the music genre that you mostly follow? Is it jazz or pop?

Jazz is my inspiration. Pop is my expression of that inspiration. I create music in many genres. Most of my songs these days are EDM and Pop since the charts dictate that. However, my music spans across different genres. For example I have a Soft Rock song called ‘Nothing’ which was released last year. I released a Country Rock love song just a few weeks ago though as well. There is a jazz-funk song I wrote and produced called ‘Purple People’ where I play each and every instrument. My other single ‘About Us’ is an EDM Pop song. So if you go to my YouTube channel you can listen to all these genres in one playlist.

Q: Out of your songs, what is your personal favourite ?

It’s hard to choose really, because I do love all of them. I have invested myself passionately into each and every piece. I’ll narrow it down to three. First, my song ‘Satellites' is special to me. I wrote that one while thinking of the future of humankind as a multi-planetary species, where space travel will be quite normal and frequent. So that has a lot of depth personally. Being Sri Lankan I also like my song ‘Aalakam' which is the first Sinhalese language song Ive released. I wrote, sang & recorded that during the Covid 19 lockdown. Another favourite is ‘Purple People’ cos I had so much fun playing all the instruments, recording it and producing the record. I enjoyed composing all the orchestration in that song. I got to work with complex jazz harmony, juxtaposing the arrangement against a live performance interpretation of it and also structuring the different movements of the piece while building it with funk rhythmic components. I simply love composing complex pieces, when I have the time to do so.

Q: During your music career, what's the most memorable moment you had up to now?

Again, I am grateful to have so many of them. I was fortunate to be invited to the The Beatles reunion in Los Angeles. It was organized by the Grammys, and held the day after the Grammy awards. As a pop songwriter I am a Beatles fan and have always considered John Lennon & Paul McCartney as one of my main influences. At the reunion Sir Paul McCartney & Sir Ringo Starr performed the hits together and that was a very unique moment to see The Beatles back together again. They were also given an amazing tribute by Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran, John Legend and a host of A-List celebrities. It was awesome to be among that legendary gathering of talent.

Q: What are your thoughts on the local music scene and what can we do to make a mark on the international music scene?

Local listenership is key. I think Lankan audiences need to start supporting Lankan talent. That needs improvement here. Also the music scene needs to progress into an industry as a whole, which means better structure and systems in place to ensure artists have the same opportunities like in other industries. Everything from copy rights management, licensing, royalty payments, fair airtime on radio and the list goes on. These are essential.

Q: What do you think are the similarities you see in being a corporate professional and a musician?

It depends on what you want from each profession. In my case, I want the best in both, so for me both require the utmost dedication, passion to the craft, endurance, discipline and perseverance more than anything. Both are very demanding.

Q: Who would you like to thank for your journey thus far?

First and foremost God for all the blessings, my parents and also my grand parents. Last but not least my mentors in Los Angeles and London who have supported my creative vision throughout.

Q: What are your future plans ?

Exciting things are coming up this year together with some amazing international artists. I will be sharing those announcements on my social media this year. Follow me on social media and stay tuned to find out.

Charin’s upcoming album ’20 TWENTY’ comes as his newest chapter in taking Lankan artistry global. Ten new songs have already been released from the album and the album in its entirety is scheduled for release this year. One can watch out for updates and follow his journey on instagram.com/CharinMendes and YouTube.com/CharinMendes. Charin’s music is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Sony Entertainment Network and all major music stores worldwide.