Seven the Hard Way

Charlie Belle

Picks 2 Click: Local septet of acts braces for SXSW

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Charlie Belle

SXSW showcase: Tue., March 15, 9:20pm, Maggie Mae's

"Man, I'm good," says Gyasi Bonds, greeting me at a coffee shop just north of UT campus. "Tired though. I was up all night cramming for a math test. I hate math."

When he's not skateboarding, Netflix bingeing, or studying for pre-AP algebra, the 15-year-old high school sophomore keeps the beat for teen-pop duo Charlie Belle. His sister Jendayi, a 17-year-old high school senior, handles vocals, songwriting, and guitar for the act named after their great-grandmother. Typical Austin teenagers, right?

Then again, while some of their classmates might try to sneak into a show or two over spring break, the Bonds siblings will be onstage, rocking four gigs during South by Southwest Music week, including their first official showcase. A pair of 2015 EPs about teen love caught the attention of Billboard, NPR, and Afropunk, among other national outlets, with debut Get to Know spinning dreamy, playful pop melodies and follow-up I Don't Want to Be Alone falling into a funkier R&B vibe.

"I don't think that's a direction, but it's definitely a side of us, 'cause we listen to a lot of groovy stuff and really like to jam out," explains Jendayi, a Girls Rock Austin alumna. "I just wanted to see if I could do it. I was like, 'I'm gonna try to write a rap and see what happens.' The next stuff I write I want to make more of a fusion of the two where it's not so different."

Both agree that playing together has been a blessing.

"It's definitely made our personal relationship stronger, but we still fight," affirms Jendayi. "I think the hardest thing is not getting your personal sibling feelings into Charlie Belle work. Our producer kept getting mad at us when we were recording our second EP because Gyasi kept on making me laugh and we'd mess up."

While prepping for SXSW, Jendayi also anxiously awaits admission letters from the nine colleges she recently applied to and hopes to land in New York City to study music business next fall. What does that mean for Charlie Belle?

"I don't think it'll be too difficult because we're brother and sister," she says, assuring the band will continue. "It's not like he's this random guy and it'll be hard to stay in touch, you know?"

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Looking back on the biggest Music news headlines of the year

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 23, 2016

Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Appraising APD's solution to Sixth Street during SXSW

Kevin Curtin, April 8, 2016

More by Thomas Fawcett
Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Our favorite musical moments from the fest

March 25, 2022

The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Friday
The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Friday
Seventies funk GOATs, queer nu metal, and so much more

March 19, 2022


Charlie Belle, SXSW Music 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle