Imagine turning on the radio to hear a hit rap song. As you’re nodding your head to the bass and enjoying the rhymes, did you ever think that the artist could have sat next to you in a college lecture hall? Butler University freshman Charlie Politi, stage-named Charlie “Breeze,” hopes to be that voice coming over the radio waves one day.
The quiet, put-together Nashville native contradicts his hometown’s stereotypes of banjos and cowboy hats by sporting his fraternity attire and a snapback. His reserved persona makes him one of the last Butler students his peers would expect to find in a music video on YouTube
Andy Greenwell, a friend and co-worker of Politi’s, described Politi as confident.
“There’s not an ounce of self-doubt in that man,” Greenwell said.
Politi’s inspiration for making music came during his freshman year of high school when his grandmother was hospitalized and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Looking for a way to express the struggle of seeing her in such a vulnerable state, Politi found comfort in rhymes. The visitation and diagnosis period proved to be a difficult time for Politi, but incidentally resulted in his first song.
His friend Josh Marley convinced him to record the song his sophomore year of high school. Since then, he and Politi have been very close.
“Josh has been through everything in my life with me and continues to inspire me,” Politi said of his life-long friend, who is now enrolled at New York University and works for a music blog.
Through Marley, Politi has discovered many opportunities in the music industry at a young age. He met big-name rappers Mac Miller, Wale and Joey Bada$$, and has performed in at least 20 shows.
Last summer, he was lucky enough to land a gig in Panama City Beach, where he was able to perform for 800 people.
Politi typically writes his songs as a form of therapy and said he does not look to connect to every single fan with every single song. He said the process is his way of relieving stress, portraying his feelings and moving on when needed.
“I write songs for me,” he said, “but I know people are going through the same things that I am, so I hope others can relate.”
But it’s not all serious in the studio of Politi.
“I like to mix up my songs between serious and fun,” Politi said. “Sometimes it’s nice to just mess around and make a song with friends.”
In fact, Politi spent a night rapping freestyle with a group of friends last semester. This random music session led to talk of creating a music video.
The video features Politi’s latest song “Outro” and was published March 22.
It passed 7,000 views within the first three weeks of publication.
The video got a lot of publicity on Butler’s campus and was all over social media, shared on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter.
“I knew of Charlie Politi, and I had heard music from Charlie ‘Breeze,’ but I never put the two together until I saw the video,” said freshman Jim Santos, who added that he considers himself a fan.
“I was shocked at first to see the quiet Charlie in the music video, but then it was pretty cool to see a different side to the kid,” he said.
Looking toward the future, Politi would like to take on a full-time persona as Charlie “Breeze” one day but understands the risks. Continuing his double major in marketing and management information systems, Politi said his back-up plan is to become the marketing executive for a record label or to manage a recording studio.
“It is a very competitive industry,” Politi said. “So I am just enjoying the opportunity to share my music and meet some really cool people right now.”