Charan was born to singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and his wife, Savitri in a Telugu Brahmin family. He has a sister, Pallavi. He received a degree in Bachelors in Business Administration from Pace University in New York, USA in 1997 and completed a two-year course in Film and Television. Charan began working as a playback singer in 1997 with "Deepangal pesum" from Devathai under Ilaiyaraaja's direction. He has sung for composers A. R. Rahman and Devi Sri Prasad. Charan's most popular songs include "Nagila Nagila" from Alaipayuthey, "Mellaga" from Varsham, "Nenu Nenuga Lene" from Manmadhudu, "I Love you Shailaja" from Mazhai, "Please Sir" from Boys, "Maaja Maaja" from Jillunu Oru Kadhal, "Oru Nanban Irundhal" from Enakku 20 Unakku 18, "O Shanti" from Vaaranam Aayiram, "Nee Naan" from Mankatha. In 2010, he recorded a song on the Kadhal 2 Kalyanam soundtrack for Yuvan Shankar Raja and recorded with his father for the first time in Tamil for the film Aadukalam, for which they both won the Vijay Award for Best Male Playback Singer. As an actor, he first acted with his father in a film called Maha Yedabidangi directed by K. S. L. Swamy but the film did not release. His first release was the Kannada film Hudugigagi in 2003 directed by B. Manjunath. In 2008 he played one of the lead roles in Venkat Prabhu's Saroja. He also starred in a TV serial named Bommaigal in Tamil and Akka Chellulu in Telugu. He established a film production company, Capital Film Works, in 2002. Their first production was the film Unnai Charanadainthen. He further produced the Jayam Ravi-starrer Mazhai (2005), a remake of the Telugu film Varsham, which was not well received. His next production was Venkat Prabhu's directorial debut Chennai 600028 (2007), became one of 2007's biggest commercial as well as critical successes. In 2011 his sixth production, Aaranya Kaandam, was released to critical acclaim.