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All our users have voices to be heard and stories to tell – and this is finally the time to start introducing you to our community members. There are dozens of small groups, communities, games and projects hiding below the surface and we want to give them some exposure. Our sixth amazing user to interview is @annaCharlotte – a lovely lady whose life focuses on communication, cooking and console games and apparently she’s amazing at all three!

1. Hey there AnnaCharlotte! Please introduce yourself to the community, tell us a little bit more about yourself!
My first English words all were made up of four letters and I question whether I should specify them in a public online interview. Well hello, world. My name is Anna Charlotte, or Charls for short. I have lived in the states on and off for 15 of 18 years now, had my musical beginnings as a local theatrical child star, then at the age of 16 I threw away everything I learned about performance art to become an obscure YouTube and Tumblr identity (itscharls).

2. What’s your best story about music?
When I was probably 11 years old, the only access I had to music that wasn’t small-town country nonsense was mix tapes my dad made me and these weird radio stations that we’d sometimes get in between Spanish weather broadcasts and crop updates. I would record the best songs on cassettes and play them over and over whenever possible, but the DJ’s never announced titles or artists. I played one song over and over for weeks, my mother hated it after a while! I still have that tape somewhere, about a year later I played it again and Googled the lyrics, turns out it was Iron and Wine‘s cover of “Such Great Heights“. From there I discovered Death Cab for Cutie, and so was born the music hoarder you see before your screen.

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3. What does music give you that other art forms can’t?
I’d send someone a playlist before I sent them a letter or postcard or even text, if the message was important. As a performer as well as fan, it’s easy to take for granted how well music communicates genuine emotion and passion much better than words. But it’s true, there’s something that a certain chord progression and rhyme can do for someone who is struggling that a simple “Get well soon” card cannot. And while visual art is extremely powerful in communication as well, it’s much more personal, music can bring millions of people to tears or to their feet because everyone relates to music one way or another.

4. What’s your favourite album? (If you can say why, all the better!)
Must I choose just one? It literally changes every time I get a new obsession with an artist. The most reliable answer would have to be St. Vincent‘s “Marry Me“, though. The only thing more captivating than Annie Clark’s unique vocals are her smartly sarcastic lyrics. There’s a certain kind of poetry in brutal honesty that not many artists these days utilize, especially in the softer-key field. She’s someone that I could easily see having lived through the experiences that inspired the songs like “What, Me Worry?” and be the first to call someone out when she was just as easily at fault. That’s reality.

5. How do you find new music, new bands, where do you go to find new stuff?
Spotify, man. Their artist-based radio is so spot-on for taste. I can’t even have it playing at night because I’ll be up to favorite a track every 4 minutes when I should be trying to sleep. I wish I could be someone that says they take a lot of influence from the music fans around them, but I’m just too stubborn to delve into another person’s taste unless they’ve given me a lot of good reasons to. Generally those reasons involve being someone I’d like to impress by knowing about their music taste.

6. Tell us three non-music works of art that you’ve digested recently and we need to sample them! Books, films, fashion, whatever! Bring it on!

  • Food is the most under-appreciated form of art.
    I’ve been a semi-dedicated vegetarian for years, and in the last month went vegan, and nothing is more annoying than the stereotypical “Meat-Free Recipe” website… especially when you’re on the budget of a college student with car payments and minimum wage working hours. Shopping the sale racks at the grocery store (safe, right?) I discovered how easy it is to make some amazing cruelty-free Asian food. I’m not ashamed to say I live on a noodle-based diet. This morning I ate an avocado slice with butter and ground pepper on it for breakfast. Art comes from challenge, creativity with food is something worth looking into.
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  • I have this hobby of “book serendipity“, where I basically hit up the local library’s $0.50 book rack and buy the first few things that catch my eye. Let me tell you, in a town of 6,000 the library isn’t big, and the selection is not very… varied. However, this is where I found “Mr. Fox” by Helen Oyeyemi, as well as “World War Z” by Max Brooks, and “Gothic Charm School” by Jillian Venters. As you may notice after reading the plot blurbs of these, they are extremely different from one another, but that’s just the fun! Why read if you’re going to read the same theme over and over again? The idea works at thrift stores, online sale racks at places like Modcloth.com or UrbanOutfitters.com, etc. as well!
  • I review video games for a website called N3rdzcubed, and I somehow ended up being the specialist in vintage/retro games. Then I dug out my 90’s-era Sega Genesis and I remembered why I loved that time period for games so much. There’s really something to be said for Sonic The Hedgehog or Disney’s Aladdin on Genesis still being some of the most challenging games out there when millions of dollars worth of technology are poured into games today that people can beat within hours. Add the nostalgia factor, and you’ve got something brilliant.

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7. How did you find Tastebuds and what do you like most about it?
I’m pretty sure the Spotify app for Tastebuds got me here. I joined mostly in spite of myself, and frustration at the impossibility of meeting people at random and then perhaps MAYBE having similar music taste. No, music taste is pretty vital in compatibility, so why not take the process in reverse? Tastebuds has made me some great friends, and equally great contacts in the social media world, there’s something to be said for similar taste, and whoever pieced that together deserves a medal.

8. Tell me more about cooking! What are your favourite channels for recipes and foods & inspirations for cooking?

I’m so glad you asked me to elaborate on this of all topics. 🙂

I think the YouTuber that got me most excited for cooking and finding creative foods was Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen. That and Epic Meal Time. Even though there’s literally a nearly invisible fraction of the things that they prepare that fit my diet constraints, they made the concept of cooking much more accessible and fun to my then 14 year old self just getting started on the internet and on vegetarian/veganism. Heather Nauta is one that I always look to now for recipe ideas and easy substitutes for the more expensive parts of a plant-based diet.

As for inspirations in cooking, it really boils down to two (no pun intended). One is convincing those around me who were born and raised in cattle country that it IS in fact possible to go a day without bacon and steak, the other is the interest in exploring other cultures. Food is a huge part of life (naturally), and it’s often taken for granted by those of us with every kind of easy cuisine at our fingertips in grocery stores. It can be extremely rewarding to take a little time to research genuine Mexican or Asian recipes that are far more authentic than the boxed meals you may find in a grocery store. So many cultures outside of our own also don’t have the same access to beef and pork products as America, making the variety of choices in healthy food much much bigger as well. Maybe it was being raised in a Latvian-American family from both Italian and Mexican descent, but there is no room for boring food where I come from.

9. Your life seems to have quite a focus on gaming.. what are your favourites? What do you think about the new trend of sponsoring games on Kickstarter or Steam Greenlight?

My thoughts on gaming could go on for days… maybe if I explained why I’m such a fan? When I was four and moved to the states for the first time, my ‘Merican family here and I had very little to go on in the way of common interests (or even common language), but competing via Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or Playstation really gave us something to go on as kids. I’m sure to our parents it was just something to keep us occupied and out of trouble, but I’m very thankful for the relationships based on a shared love of gaming that I’ve built with family and friends since I was young, and new ones that I’ve found more recently. People can call us social MMORPG fans nerds all day, our games are parallel to those the jocks obsess over via online consoles like Xbox.

Oh man, favourites… I have to categorize this somehow. I’m a huge retro console fan, but the game I’ve spent the most time and effort on started the obsession for fantasy based games that I hold today, and that was Spyro, originally on Playstation. Yeah, the little purple dragon who torches butterflies for health points. From there I started getting more into classics like Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, etc. There’s so many nostalgic memories in older games like that, there’s nothing wrong with them always being favorites. That being said, new games are just as fun to explore and review. MMO’s like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Trek Online make great review material, it’s the back story that makes a game, and I’m a huge fan of movie-based games that use this fact to it’s full advantage.

Oh wow, how long have I been rambling about video games…

To answer honestly about sponsoring games, I wish that I had the means to make all of the promising Indie games in the world as successful as they deserve to be. I’m a huge fan of Steam, as well as Kickstarter, yet sadly I am not involved in the Greenlight/Funding side of it as much as I’d like to be. Give me a few years, I’ll donate 10% of my first billion to whatever catches my eye. Developers are so under-appreciated, as are the creative directors of games, and hell, the interns getting them coffee to stay awake and make these things happen. So much goes on behind the screen that is made possible by dedicated artists, they deserve credit and support.

10. Which Tastebuds user should we make the next mini-interview with and why?
While I sadly haven’t kept the best contact with him recently, timlasalle has some great views and opinions to offer. He’s a blogger and designer, which got us talking, he also holds a great passion for the music that he loves.

If this is the new generation of young people forming society, we’re in good hands. Thank you so much for the interview and hoping to rock out with you in The Elder Scrolls Online soon!

Did you like what annaCharlotte said? Check out her profile and drop her a friendly message OF ROCK!