Baring one’s soul can be challenging, and the degree of difficulty rises dramatically when that unburdening is for public consumption. But that is exactly what 16-year-old Charlie Pace has done with her new song “Juice Box,” which tells a tale of pain, sadness, redemption and hope drawn from experiences in her own young life.
The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was adopted by Glenn and Donna Pace of Copeland in 2011. However, her first years were spent in another home in the village, which she shared with older siblings and her birth mother, who died of a drug overdose when Charlie was 6.
Substance abuse was an inescapable part of her home-life and her family relationships then. Coming to terms with and conquering the disease’s impact on her life fueled the creation of “Juice Box.”
“I went through a lot of stuff, a lot of drugs and alcohol in the home, when I was really young,” said Charlie, a junior at Lely High School. “My biological mother was an addict. I never knew my dad, because I lost him to an overdose. So ‘Juice Box’ is really symbolic of that time and having to grow up at a really young age.”
Sounds of children at play open the song. They’re quickly replaced by the gentle strains of a synthesizer and a melancholy guitar and then Charlie’s voice intoning the opening lines:
“I was so young and I didn’t realize what was going on
The intoxication you craved, you chose over me
Me and my sisters were having to rebuild relationships from broken hearts
Put down the juice box kid, time to realize life isn’t what it’s cut out to be….”
From there, Charlie takes the listener on a journey that includes therapy, forgiveness and ultimately, an acknowledgment that her mother “did love me a lot. She just had problems she couldn’t really face without substances.”
As she said during a recent interview, it’s important that people who’ve experienced or are in the midst of tough times realize that in the end, there’s reason to hope.
“Even if all that happened, you can still be alive and go do amazing things,” explained Charlie. “You don’t have to soak in sorrow pain. You can learn from it. You can use it and grow as a person.”
The song can be heard on ReverbNation, Spotify and on Charlie’s website, charliepacemusic.com. The video for the song can also be seen on the website, as well as on YouTube.
She recorded “Juice Box” at Ray Nesbit’s RPM Studio in Bonita Springs, using well-known local musicians such as Nesbit, drummer Darrell Nutt and the song’s horns, which were performed by Rich Rahlf of Morningstar Music. Rahlf is Charlie’s guitar-bass instructor and sometimes onstage partner. The video was directed by Nutt, with contributions from Charlie.
Writing the song wasn’t easy, but it ultimately proved to be a healing experience for the teenager.
“There were a lot of tears, but it came very naturally to me and I was fully ready to face it,” said Charlie. “I had gone through therapy to face the feelings over my mom and everything that happened. It was just time to write something about it. It was time to analyze it and put it in a song. Maybe it can help someone who’s been struggling for a long time or somebody who is like me. The goal is to help somebody along the way.”
For more information about Charlie Pace, including hearing her other music, live performances, booking information and more, visit charliepacemusic.com.
The Spotify links for her songs are open.spotify.com/album/0x7Ty2w05TpFK4h4QSHEac?si=XJfAJT-tTdms2sS2CEXkOQ for “Juice Box” and open.spotify.com/album/0X4h8gV14TICiPRw8sbSwL?si=GaugPs1CRtWr-1lRFtV4Mg for “Blue Eyes.” The video for “Juice Box” can be viewed at youtu.be/A_BlCb8i3Kc and www.reverbnation.com/control_room/artist/6307236/dashboard.