Charlie Moore, at left, is a Greely Middle School eighth grader and singer/songwriter who recorded his first single, “Heavy,” at the Yarmouth studio of Ben Birkbeck. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

YARMOUTH — One night last year Charlie Moore’s ailing grandmother asked him to visit her room, where the eighth grader played piano to lull her to sleep.

His grandmother, battling a brain tumor, wrote him a thank-you note the next day, telling him “my head was feeling heavy and unsteady.” Inspired by those words and by the feeling he got from calming her during a difficult time, Moore crafted lyrics and a melody around the words.

“Heavy,” a pop ballad driven by Moore’s piano skills and youthful yet old-before-his-time voice, is his first single. He recorded it at Ben Birkbeck’s Studio B in Yarmouth and recently released the tune on Spotify and Apple Music.

“It’s 3 a.m. / My mind’s been racing far too long / My thoughts within / are tangled up in memories,” the 14-year-old’s opening lyrics state. “We both have issues / We are the same / But you just don’t stop even then through that pain. / I heard you’ve been through some pretty rough times / I’m here to tell you that it’s all right.”

Moore goes on in the chorus to tell the person to rest their head as he sings to them, to “listen to the words I say / It will cure you of your misery / I’ll never let you go.”

Many people have already heard those words. Moore’s Spotify page had over 3,000 monthly listeners in March.

Moore, who’s played piano since age 4, is among 60 students in elementary to high school to whom Birkbeck teaches piano, vocals and music. He encouraged the Cumberland teenager two years ago to hone his focus on writing and recording his songs, and a songwriting production workshop at Studio B “motivated him to take his songs to the next level,” Birkbeck said.

Recording his own songs at home, Moore’s interest in production grew even more as he spent time at Birkbeck’s studio, located in the historic Sparhawk Mill building. It was there, in 15-20 hours of sessions over Christmas break last year, that he worked closely on “Heavy” with a variety of musicians: Duncan Birkbeck, the engineer and producer, son of Ben, and a 2019 Yarmouth High graduate and Brown University student; Nick Prato, a Berklee College of Music student and Studio B guitar instructor, played guitar; and Devon Colella, another Studio B instructor, played cello.

Charlie Moore, at center, recorded “Heavy” over Christmas break alongside Duncan Birkbeck, at left, and Nick Prato. Courtesy Ben Birkbeck

“Working with all these college students has been crazy; they’re so talented, so it’s a lot of fun,” Moore said, adding that he would “love” to make musical composition and production a career.

Ben Birkbeck called Moore “an incredible performer,” adding, “very rarely do you have a songwriter who is also the performer.”

“Charlie’s a very hard worker,” Birkbeck said. “He has a desired result. Whether it’s doing a Chopin (piece), learning a phrase with the correct fingering, he’ll just do it over and over and over again until his hand can’t move.”

As “Heavy” was born out of comforting his grandmother, Moore finds his own peace in music, too.

“Playing music and listening to music is kind of a way to not think about other things,” he said. The lyrics he pens and the way he hits the piano keys to play a note a certain way help him express a range of emotions.

“When I wrote this song, I wanted to inspire other people,” Moore said, adding with a smile, “I don’t want to be some 14-year-old who writes love songs; that’s not relatable as much to me.”

“I want people to listen to the song and not necessarily think that it has to be about this one situation, but listen to some lyrics and think, ‘this connects to this part of my life, and this scenario,'” he said. “I think that’s really what drives my writing.”

Moore has three or four other songs on deck for his next production, and his second single, “Just a Dream,” could drop within the next month.

“If you make one, then you’ve got to make a better one,” he said.

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