C-Quig’s Quest

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Charlie rapping in his debut song “Autism.” Photo from Quigless.

Ever since he was born, Charlie Quigless has been put through challenges that most other people have never faced. When he was just 3-years-old, Charlie Quigless was diagnosed with autism that was predicted to make living “normally” an arduous task.
When Charlie was diagnosed, his parents were told that he would not have any verbal speaking capabilities.
“There is no cure for autism. Charlie is a wonderful gifted child who is blessed. Autism isn’t an obstacle to overcome. He accepts himself and embraces his differences,” said Angela Quigless, the mother of Charlie Quigless. “As a society, it is more important that we learn to accept those with disabilities rather than try to change them or make them feel they need to overcome their disability.”
Before his move to Clayton, Charlie Quigless attended the St. Louis City Public School District. However, he did not have a positive experience with this schooling system.
“I had been bullied a lot before I came to Wydown,” Charlie Quigless said. “If it wasn’t for my move to Clayton, I would still be a victim of bullying.”
According to Angela Quigless, making friends was originally very difficult for Charlie.
“The biggest obstacle has been educating others about how autism affects Charlie. The autism spectrum ranges from high to low and it affects each person differently,” Angela said. “Autism for Charlie means he learns differently or he may reach the same result but in a different way.”
For many children, dealing with problems means talking to a parent or counselor. However, Charlie does not deal with his problems with this traditional method, although he does appreciate the open and welcoming atmosphere at CHS. Instead, Charlie deals with his stress by writing music.
“I just think about my problems and type [them] in my phone,” Charlie said. Whenever he gets a minute, Charlie will pull out his phone and type what comes to his mind in the form of lyrics.
“He constantly has a beat in his head,” Angela said.

Quigless with his producer Tarboy Williams

Charlie has been writing his own music since he was in fifth grade. However, he had not released any of his songs until a few months ago when he released his first single “Autism”.
“[The song] is about me having autism and what it’s like to have [it],” Charlie said.
In the song, Charlie says, “People used to make fun of my disability/Cause they don’t know that I think differently.”
The song currently has more than 3,400 views on YouTube, something Charlie is proud of. However, social media is not the only method Charlie uses to gain recognition with his song.
“They showed [my video] back at Wydown at lunchtime,” Charlie said. “They showed it at church.”
According to Quigless, his parents both are very supportive of his endeavor. Charlie’s father has helped Charlie start his career.
“I wouldn’t be rapping if it wasn’t for my dad,” Charlie said. “He introduced me to all the people I needed to get a head start on my future.”
Even though his father had no previous music experience, Charlie’s father was still able to help his son to the best of his abilities. According to Charlie, his father knows the right people to help his career gain success.
Charlie is also very involved in the Clayton and St. Louis communities. He is appearing in the two CHS productions of “Snow Angel” and “Hairspray”. He also volunteers at the Imagination Station Camp at The Heights in Richmond Heights where he writes and performs skits for the adolescent campers.
Over the summer, Charlie wrote another song. Titled “Violence Has to End,” the song received over 350 views on the very day it was published. The song promotes the epidemic of bullying throughout the world. Since he has had his own experience with bullies, Charlie was particularly connected with the lyrics.
“We all have bullies that cause us strife/But we found a way to get them out of our lives/Bullies are around, but we don’t need them/You gotta stand your ground to keep your freedom/With that, bullies can’t do anything,” Charlie sings in his new single.
Charlie was inspired by some of the recent world traumas, such as the Orlando shooting and the shooting in San Bernardino.
At CHS, Charlie earns good grades in his classes. However, given his circumstances, Charlie feels that this task is very difficult.
“Keeping up in school is hard for me/Cause I don’t comprehend everything that I see/When I have a question, it’s hard to ask/And finding an answer is a difficult task,” Charlie rapped.
In 20 years, Angela believes that Charlie will be living out his dream as a performer. As of now, Charlie plans on continuing his performing career trying to live out his dream of following in the footsteps of his idol and hero: Michael Jackson.
“He is probably my favorite musician of all time,” Charlie said.
Although his rap career is just beginning, his mom is already extremely proud of her son. “We are glad Charlie has found his niche, his passion,” Angela said. “We love the fact that his rap is clean and has a positive message.”