Photo: Conner Jalbert


The young Seattle-based pop-rap star soaked up lessons from Macklemore and is quickly carving his own path

It’s no secret how Seattle-born Charlie Finch, aka charlieonnafriday, got his start in music. The then high school student became enthralled with the creative process while watching a friend’s brother make beats at home and soon began exploring his own artistry. Just three years and over 100 million combined streams later, charlieonnafriday is one of the hottest names in pop-rap right now. He’s currently opening for Tate McRae on her “ARE WE FLYING?” tour, tearing up the stage with fan favorites like “Enough” and “After Hours,” as well as fresh tunes like “I’m Not Crazy” and “Undefeated.”

“I’m still with the same friends…” 

In most interviews, Charlie appears reserved. His answers are attentive and thoughtful, but, overall, are short and compact. “I’d say I’m an introverted person, maybe,” he admitted. “Depends on the day.” His vibrant, chaotic energy is unlocked once he takes the stage, and can be seen throughout his tour vlogs posted to YouTube surrounded by his litany of friends hyping him up. He pays tribute to them in “Same Friends” with Lil Tjay, in which he proclaims that, despite his newfound fame, he is still riding with the same crew: “I’m still with the same friends, out here with the same bros / We still out here mobbin’, it’s just in a Range Rov’ / Made it with the same guys, now we different bankrolls / Now we all in designer, drivin’ past the same hoes.”

Influences/Love for Seattle 

His love of modern bro-country music, specifically artists such as HARDY and Morgan Wallen, is on full display in “Same Friends,” combined with his signature hip-hop twist. “I love when Morgan incorporates the not-so-traditional country sound into records,” he said. “Especially on this last album…. ‘Thinkin’ Bout Me,’ ‘180 (Lifestyle).’ I think Morgan Wallen flipping a Young Thug record is one of the coldest things I’ve ever seen. I just love the mashing of the genres and the worlds… that’s the most appealing thing to me about the new wave country right now.”

As far as hip-hop goes, Charlie has a love for scenes across the board. “I think Atlanta’s probably got the most heat on my playlist,” he said. “Philly is fire… I’ve been a Lil Uzi Vert fan since I’m in sixth grade. Obviously Seattle… I love the scene out there. There have been different waves, in my opinion. Macklemore had a whole wave, and then Lil Mosie had a whole wave. It was very melodic rap-type stuff. I think the people in the more northern area played a part in that whole sound being developed.”

The influence of both Kid LAROI and Post Malone is also extremely prevalent on a song like “I’m Not Craxy” … specifically Post’s vocal tones and inflections. It’s not a copycat style as much as it is just what’s “in” right now, but Charlie nails the essence of that husky, dirtier vocal delivery in moments that call for it: “All this whiskey and wine, yeah / Makes me miss you tonight, yeah.” Charlie also consistently shows love to Justin Bieber, often rocking a Drew House hoodie. “Regardless of what generation you are, he’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, artists in the world,” he said. “I think he’s incredible. I was definitely very young printing out his lyrics… memorizing and reciting them.”

New Music

If “Same Friends” was a step up from his earliest material, his newest releases “I’m Not Crazy” and “Undefeated” sound like they’re coming from almost an entirely new artist. “I’m Not Crazy,” a synth-pop and trap-inspired tune, interpolates Matchbox Twenty’s “Unwell” in the chorus while deviating from the original lyric of, “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.” : “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little f***** up / I know it’s always too late / I still call you knowin’ that you won’t pick up/ Lay there, watchin’ your phone ring.”

The energy and braggadocio of  “Undefeated” best represent Charlie’s artistic thesis statement: making every night a night to remember. The anthemic track, made with his history as a student-athlete listening to hype music before a game in mind, is primed for audiences ready to let themselves lose control: “Hometown hero, just a kid from Seattle, oh / That’s just how it goes, oh / Goddamn, I’ve been ballin’ all season / Take another shot, put my Rollie to the ceilin’/ Party every night, like it’s seven days a weekend/ Never take no L, no, we stay undefeated.”

Effective Collabs

While certainly on a stellar run of solo singles, Charlie understands the effectiveness of a good collaboration. Songs like “Can’t Change For You” with Bankroll Hayden and Arden James, “I’m Good” with Natalie Jane, and “I’M GOOD” with Macklemore, his most decorated mentor, have given him the opportunity to not only bounce off another’s creative energy but also to expand his reach. “If I rock with the music, and it’s dope, I’m down,” he said. “Not everyone is going to have the same fans, so I think no matter what collaborations you do, you’re going to grab new people and new ears and make a great record.”

Getting Stronger 

Charlie’s artistic development from a teenager experimenting with music for the first time to an early 20-something confident and locked in on his sound is, quite literally, documented on streaming services for all to see. The same kid who made “She Bad” went on to make “Undefeated” just a few years later. If it’s any indication, he’s only going to get better. “I was 16-17 making those early songs, so I’m definitely just growin’ up,” he said. “Your voice is a muscle. When you work it out, it’s gonna change and get stronger. I think my voice is going to keep getting stronger and better, and that’s always the goal.”

Stream “I’m Not Crazy,” “Undefeated,” and more: