Charlie Winston

Charlie Winston is a British folk-pop singer/songwriter who recorded for Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records before breaking through to mainstream success in France in 2009 with the chart-topping smash hit “Like a Hobo,” from his platinum-selling second album, Hobo. Subsequent albums like 2011’s Running Still and 2015’s Curio City continued to fare well in France and Belgium, where he became a chart staple.

Born in 1978 in Cornwall, he grew up in Bungay, Suffolk, where his parents ran a hotel. Learning drums at the age of eight, then switching to piano, Winston eventually made his way to London where he composed for theater and ended up playing bass with his brother, Tom Baxter, a fellow singer/songwriter popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. While working on one of his brother’s albums at Real World Studios, he met and later befriended Peter Gabriel, who offered him a recording contract. Following the 2007 release of his self-produced debut album, Make Way, Winston joined Gabriel on tour as the opening act. He gained further attention in 2008 when his cover of Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man” was used in a widely-seen Volkswagen Polo television commercial.

Moving to France, he recorded his follow-up album with producer Mark Plati (David Bowie, the Cure), notching a major hit with his single, “Like a Hobo.” Released in conjunction with Real World and French label Atmosphériques, 2009’s Hobo brought Winston widespread commercial success in France, with “Like a Hobo,” topping the French singles chart and the album reaching platinum status. With a European Border Breakers Award for Best U.K. Artist in Europe under his belt, he delivered his third album Running Still, which was well received in Europe, reaching the Top Ten of the French charts. The track “She Went Quietly” was used during the ending of the mid-season finale in season eight of American television series Grey’s Anatomy. Curio City, Winston’s fourth album, followed in 2015, mixing electronic textures with folk and pop. While greater success in the U.K. still eluded him, he continued to maintain his strong fan base in France and Belgium. Returning in 2018, Winston released the more socially conscious Square 1, its name referring to the back-to-basics approach he sought to employ.