Charity Rose Thielen Talks the Head and the Heart, Seattle, and Her Hopes for the Future

In a way, Charity Rose Thielen is the “heart” of the Seattle-born rock group, the Head and the Heart. She is the group’s emotional core—not to mention one of its most prominent members. With a soul-shivering voice and a talent for the violin, the artist has come to be a fan favorite and a significant member of the Emerald City lineage of artists.

Videos by American Songwriter

We caught up with the songwriter and performer, who is also the debut artist featured in Visit Seattle’s new #MusicGenesis, to get a sense of the 2009-born band’s history, what she loves most about it, and what it’s like to be in the group with husband Matty Gervais.

[RELATED: The Head and the Heart Reflect on Current Covid Conditions During ‘Behind the Mic’]

American Songwriter: When did you first find music and what did you love most about it early on

Charity Rose Thielen: Spiritual songs hymns and classical music—singing and playing violin with my mother and sisters. It’s grounding, yet surreal healing effects.

AS: When did you start to perform and what do you remember about those years in the 2000s in Seattle as your eyes and ears were opening to the city and its sound

CRT: The band started playing anywhere and everywhere. There was a palatable excitement that we carried with us—there was a vitality and simplicity to our approach early on—all that we wanted to do was purely have the ability to connect with others through music. 

AS: That time in the city was magic. The Head and the Heart were building in Ballard, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were doing their thing in Capitol Hill. Others were booming in the city, too. Is there a moment or day you wish you could go back to and experience all over again

CRT: Probably all of the post shows when I partied; [it] would be nice to experience that magic again, having a bit of a more sober mémoire. 

AS: When you think of your role in The Head and the Heart, what are you most proud of

CRT: Being an “includer,” whether it be internally within the band or externally, prioritizing playing with certain inspiring artists, etcetera. As well as steering with my visual and aesthetic vision. 

AS: What are the best and hardest things about writing songs for you

CRT: The vulnerability, always, and the communication skillset that is required in a group dynamic—I’m still learning how to do this… The best thing about writing songs is when they come to me in an overwhelming and spiritual way. 

AS: What are the best and hardest things about live performance for you

CRT: Probably the same answer for both parts of the question: the travel itself. The best thing is the connection [and] common humanity that is felt being all together performing vulnerable art. 

AS: What is it like to be in the band with your significant other?  

CRT: It’s amazing and also challenging. It’s not for the faint of heart!

AS: When you think of your career and that of the band’s, what are you most interested in when it comes to the future?  

CRT: Channeling our collective creative voice. Getting into a flow-state as a unit. Feeling free and wild. Connecting better to ourselves, each other and those whom we may intersect with. 

AS: What are you most grateful for when it comes to Seattle and its music

CRT: The rich musical history of individuals and bands who come from here, [like] Jimmy Hendrix, Quincy Jones, The Sonics, Sound Garden, Nirvana! And [I’m] always grateful to those who championed us from the beginning, and along the way.  

AS: What do you love most about music

CRT: How powerful of an art form that it is—arguably, the most moving 

Shervin Lainez/Warner Records Press

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