Tag Archives: Emma Charles

Emma Charles’ “Connecticut”: A Musical And Video Homage

Texas has its “yellow rose.” Georgia was on Ray Charles’ mind; Gladys Knight took a midnight train there, and Brook Benton sang about a rainy night.

There are too many California songs to count: “Girls,” “Dreamin’,” “Hotel” — you name it.

But Connecticut?

A quick Google search shows one from 1945, by Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. There’s “Kylie from Connecticut” by Ben Folds, and a couple of others — including (I’m not kidding) “Connecticut’s For F*cking,” by Jesus H Christ and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

I haven’t heard of any of them.

Hopefully, all of us — in 06880, 90210 and everywhere in between — will soon hear “Connecticut,” by Emma Charles.

It may be the tune that puts us on the musical map.

Emma is certainly on the fast track. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — known then as Emma Ruchefsky — went on to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She concentrated on performance and songwriting, and studied with Livingston Taylor.

Her first professional gig, as a sophomore, was at Rockwood Music Hall.

After graduating, Emma (whose professional last name, Charles, comes from her mother, Rondi Charleston — she’s a professional singer too) relocated to Los Angeles. She’s recorded and toured nationally. Billboard named her a Best Emerging Artist of 2020.

That initial trip to LA was the impetus for “Connecticut” — the song, the EP of the same name, and the video.

Emma wrote the title tune after a 2-week road trip from Westport west. She took the southern route, and called it “amazing.”

Along the way — and then in California — Emma reflected on her lifetime in the Nutmeg State, and the people she grew up with here. “Connecticut” flowed easily.

The video, meanwhile, began this past Christmas. Home for the holidays, Emma and her parents watched old home videos.

She also toured the town with former Staples classmate Sarah Quagliariello. They videotaped favorite sites.

Emma and her creative director, Msrina Piche, spliced together those old and new tapes, plus footage from Emma’s road trip to create the video.

It’s an allegory for transitioning from the familiar to the unfamiliar, the comfortable to the unknown. She grew up quite happily here, but is eager now for whatever comes next.

Viewers love the video, with its “old-timey” format.

“They say it’s organic — not curated or perfect,” Emma explains. “They like that it’s raw. They see a lot of me in it.”

Four more songs from the “Connecticut” EP rolls out soon. In May and June Emma heads off on a 12-city tour, opening for a band called Shell. The last date is at Joe’s Pub, in New York City.

Many of her Connecticut friends and fans will be there.

No doubt singing along with “Connecticut.”

(For more on Emma Charles — including songs from the “Connecticut” EP — click here.)

Giving The Gift Of Music

The Staples High School music department is the gift that keeps on giving.

Many holiday parties — here, and around the country — include Christmas carols. Most of the time, guests stumble through a few standards. Then it’s back to the wassail and egg nog.

Steve Ruchefsky and Rondi Charleston’s party is not like that. It’s at their lovely Myrtle Avenue home — but it might as well be Carnegie Hall.

Their daughter Emma Charles graduated from Staples High School, and the Berklee College of Music. Last night, she and her friends — all former Orphenians — harmonized on a few beautiful carols.

They did not rehearse. But — thanks to their Westport music education, amazing voices and joy in singing once again with each other — they made a great party even more wondrous.

Click on, and listen below!

The singers are (from left) Emma Charles, Joe Badion, Jack Baylis, Nick  Ribolla, Ian Goodman and Nick Massoud. Midway through, they’re joined by Emma’s uncle. Apologies: My video quality pales in comparison to the their wonderful voices.

Emma’s Opening Act

Westporters know her as Emma Ruchefsky. The world may soon know her as Emma Charles.

The daughter of Steve Ruchefsky and Rondi Charleston — hence the stage name — thrilled audiences at Staples High School with Players productions of “Avenue Q,” “Hello, Dolly!’ and “Sweeney Todd,” and as an Orphenians singer. She’s also performed at the Levitt Pavilion and Fine Arts Festival.

Now — having finished her performance and songwriting studies early at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music — her professional career is taking off. She’s in the midst of a 12-city tour, opening for Tyler Hilton and Howie Day.

This Saturday (March 15, 7:45 p.m.) Emma returns to the area. A show with Howie is set for the Fairfield Theater Company.

She’s also just released a beautiful new song, “Comfort in the Chaos.”

Emma’s base is Los Angeles. She’s working there on original music — heard only by a few people so far. She’s excited to play it for her hometown fans.

“Finding my voice as an opener is tough,” Emma notes. “But it’s the best way to start touring in as many places as possible.”

In LA, she says, she’s coming into her own sound. It’s similar to Kacey Musgraves and Maggie Rogers — but definitely her own.

Emma Charles

When she takes the FTC stage, Emma will not be far from her Westport heart — geographically, and emotionally.

She is grateful for the opportunities Staples provided, through Luke Rosenberg’s choral program and David Roth’s Players.

Emma Ruchefsky may have changed her name. But Emma Charles is still the same warm, wonderful — and very talented — performer they (and the rest of Westport) knew and loved.

(Click here for tickets and more information on Saturday’s Fairfield Theater Company show.)