Interview: Get to know singer-songwriter CHARLOTTE, her music and the influences behind her sound

There is one artist in particular who we are pretty excited about right now, and she goes by the name of CHARLOTTE. Hailing from Hull, the singer-songwriter hit the music scene like a breath of fresh air with the release of her debut single ‘I Tell Lies’ and follow-up track ‘Nervous’. Through her music, we hear Charlotte take ownership of her insecurities and wear them boldly on her sleeve—creating an instant connection with her growing fanbase, as she becomes a magnet for those that identify with her story. Now the artist is getting ready to add more music to her already impressive belt, with the release of her upcoming Nowhere To Hide EP. A 4-track collection of songs, that will reach out and welcome us in even further, to not only her sound, but to the down-to-earth 21-year-old that creates it. We sat down with Charlotte to talk about her influences, the musical journey she has been embarking on so far and also how the battles she fought within herself growing up, have shaped her into the gem of an artist she is today.

You must be buzzing with everything that is happening for you right now. How are you feeling about it all?

It’s amazing! It’s definitely exceeded my expectations for how things would go post release. There’s a bit of anticipation working up to the first song. I thought my mates at home would listen to it, but I didn’t know who else. There’s no label, there’s no one pushing it beyond my circle; other than people just finding it. It’s been wicked and the touring has been unreal. It’s been busy and I’ve not seen my family very much, but no complaints, because this is what I wanted.

What does your family think about everything you are achieving?

They are buzzing for me. I’ve been writing, singing and performing since I was three or four years old. I’ve always been a bit weirdly, demon-possessed about working for this and doing it my whole life. So they are definitely happy for me that it’s paying off, and that people want to listen. They love coming to shows and stuff, so it’s nice for them as well.

Music has been a part of your life from an early age, what has served as some of your biggest influences growing up?

Keeping it close to home, my biggest influence and the reason that I think I found my way into music so early was my Grandparents. They were a soul duo, they don’t perform together anymore, but my whole childhood they were playing gigs all over the place. They lived in Spain and I would go out every summer with my family to their place; I’d go to their gigs and invite myself up on stage. Like I’d be in rehearsals just learning from them and soaking up the music that they were performing, which was old soul. Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross; these amazing soul artists, with amazing voices and amazing songs! And even more left of field sort of stuff, like there’s an act called Blue Mink, they have a song called ‘Melting Pot’ that they used to sing and I love that. Like Kool & The Gang ‘Celebration’ — just amazing music! Then from my family as well, who all have different music tastes. I wanted to learn, and I wanted to listen to everything. Then as I grew up I found my own things, artists like Amy Winehouse and Adele. There’s a load of different corners of music that I found myself inspired by, that just kind of lead me to this point.

Could you imagine yourself doing anything different?

No. No, I wouldn’t be happy. I was clever at school, but maybe not in like a test or whatever. I was always better at things where I could just get stuck in to it. This is the epitome of that. Writing songs, performing them, travelling about, always being on my feet and being busy — it suits me. Like I hear that some artists don’t like touring, it’s not something they enjoy — but I love it! People say ‘what’s your favourite: being in the studio and writing, or is it being on the road?’. I’m like, both. Being able to do the two of them and switch it up, and never have a day that’s the same is completely perfect for me. At the moment anyway *laughs*

I think it’s really great that you have followed your childhood dream of becoming a musician, what qualities have you had to instil in yourself to ensure that you made it happen?

I think that the most important things that have happened, are probably not necessarily things that I’ve instilled in myself. I think it’s being told that it wouldn’t happen. I’m from Hull, East Yorkshire — not the most connected place to the music industry. I didn’t know what the music industry was, or how it worked. I’m only just learning now. People thought I was mental for wanting to do this. If I said I wanted to be an artist, people would be like ‘oh, so you’re gonna go on Britain’s Got Talent?’ or ‘are you in a choir?’. That’s the level of awareness and it’s not a criticism, it’s just how it is. It’s how I was as well. But I always knew that I wanted something bigger and further reaching than that. My Dad’s job got us moved out to Singapore when I was 14, which massively broadened my horizons. I went to an amazing school out there and was surrounded by people who wanted to be world leaders. They didn’t want to just study politics at university, they wanted to be the next president of somewhere. People didn’t just want to join the local sports team, they wanted to join the Olympics. That was the level of thinking out there. I think that gave me a kick up the backside a bit and made me realise what was possible. And I learnt from my Dad as well, like he always said ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’. I always try to stick by that and it’s getting more true.

Your debut single ‘I Tell Lies’ was received really well! Did you expect its release to have such a big impact?

If I expect nothing at all, I can only be pleasantly surprised. Obviously I love the song and I want people to hear it, but I had no idea how it would be received. It was so nice that local radio picked it up and gave it support, which was just nice to feel like home was getting behind me. But the Spotify playlisting was just completely unexpected, like, I don’t know if people know how the Spotify playlisting works, but you don’t know you’re gonna get it. At midnight when the playlist refreshed, someone text me and said ‘you’re on New Music Friday, what the heck!’. And then I called by team and they were like ‘what, what!’. No one knew that was gonna happen. That was amazing and it gave it a bit of leverage. It was awesome. Then we dropped the music video, that was received way better than I could have hoped. It’s just mad!

In ‘Nervous’ you talk about your struggles with getting into a relationship, I love that you’re so honest about it.

Always single, always have been *laughs*

Why do you think that is?

I don’t know. I write about it all the time and I feel so much better talking to people who feel the same. I feel shit about myself all the time because of that. I have been through so many different phases of thinking there’s something wrong with me, or the way I look, or the way I act. Then flipping that; maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me, I just haven’t met the right person yet. Then, maybe I don’t need to meet anyone, I’ll just spend my life by myself because that’s cool as well. I have all those thoughts and I plan to document them. I’m not going to give too much away about my next project, which I’ve already written, but I dig into it more in the next EP that comes after this one. I think a lot of people feel that way and it’s very easy to get in your own head about it. And if I don’t write about it, I’d go insane! I think a lot of girls, definitely me, have just thought that everything is wrong with me and everyone else is fine. That I’m misreading life and not doing it right. Especially having younger Sisters, I feel like I’ve got a duty now to them. I can see myself in my younger Sisters; especially one of them. She looks like me, she acts like me and she’s as insecure as I was. She’s grown up fully immersed in social media, which is nasty. It’s horrible and it’s not real life. She has a completely warped sense of how she looks, and how she should look. Just like I did, and kind of still do. I feel like if I don’t say this stuff, I won’t forgive myself. Because I think I can maybe help repair some of the damage, just by being a bit more honest and open.

We’re definitely at a time where everyone claims perfection, was it a conscious effort for you to choose the unfiltered route?

Completely. It’s not a strategic thing in terms of ‘I think this would go well’. This is who I am. I have a lot to talk about. Like I’m a girl, but I smell. I eat loads. I don’t like going out and dressing up that much, but sometimes I do. I’m a three dimensional person, with a lot of different emotions. I’m not going to claim to be anything different. I don’t want my social media to be a highlights reel. Some days I’m a moody bitch. Some days I’m over the top and annoying. Some days I’m cool. Instead of putting myself in a box and someone telling me how to be, I’m just being the complete opposite of that and putting it all out there *laughs*

How do you deal with comparison?

Not well. If you get compared to someone you respect and you like, it’s cool. But there’s a part of me that’s so stubborn and wants to just be my own person. I’m not studying someone else’s career or life and trying to be like them, I just want to be myself. I think that’s because, career aside, just personally, I’ve struggled so much to come to terms with ‘this is me, this is the body that I’ve got to live with for the rest of my life and this is my personality and this is the way I am’. I’m still coming to terms with that. I don’t want to be told I’m like someone else, because it then warps my perception of myself. I hate being told I look like someone. I hate it. Because with a dysmorphic mind already, if you then look at that person and think ‘oh God do I look like that’. It’s horrible, I hate it. And then being told you sound like someone else, it’s like ‘ah brilliant!’. I don’t like comparison.

You are currently supporting Newton Faulkner on tour, as well as having headline shows of your own coming up in the summer, what do you enjoy most about performing?

Meeting people. I always go down at the end of the show to merch and chat to people; it’s wicked meeting people from all over the place, talking and getting an idea of who I am communicating with. This has become a two-way conversation now and it’s been just me, isolated with myself for ages whilst I’ve been writing. So I’m hungry for a conversation with people. It surprises me every time, the people that connected with it. You don’t get to choose your fans and that’s mint, you know. People from all over the shop, all ages. Because on social media, I don’t get to meet them face-to-face, so that’s my one opportunity at the end of the gig. So yeah meeting people is 100% the best bit.

Let’s talk about your upcoming Nowhere To Hide EP — what can you tell us about the project?

It doesn’t get any less personal. Track by track I think I dig a little bit deeper. Track number three is ‘Somebody To Hold’ and four is ‘Just Me’. So you can hear already just from the titles; loneliness, self-confidence and insecurity. God I can’t wait for it to come out! It’s already mad to me that people know the words to the songs. It’s thrown me off a couple of times, like when I was on tour in Europe in March and ‘I Tell Lies’ had been out maybe two weeks, there were people at the front that knew all the words. It completely threw me off my stride because I forgot that’s a part of it. It’s amazing! I’m working on visual elements for the show and I really care about making it an experience where people really get to know me and the context around the music. They’ve only just started to hear the music, but obviously I’ve been working towards it for a long time, so I’m buzzing.

Do you have a favourite song?

Ah fuck, erm… I think ‘Somebody To Hold’ just because emotionally for me that was a really important song that helped me through. It feels euphoric in the way that it’s been put together and it was a healing process to write. They all were though, so it’s hard.

What have been some of your highlights so far?

Jheez… do you know what, I’m actually capable of doing this now because I wrote a list of everything that has happened so far. I think signing my publishing deal with Toby Gad in LA coming up for two years ago, was a pivotal moment for me. Like the level of self-belief that gave me… I think when someone of merit, who you respect and is on another level of the industry that I didn’t think was tangible to me, if they give you the validation of like ‘I want to work with you and you’re good enough’, that’s a big deal and I needed that. I think the three biggest things are: meeting him, meeting my manager when I was 17 changed my life and this year, performing at the 3 arena for five nights with Picture This. Completely unplanned, wasn’t supposed to happen and just meeting that team and becoming apart of that family was amazing. And Ireland is now a special place for the whole team!

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Oh God yes, there’s loads. I’m working right now on a collaboration with Jordan Mackampa, he’s a UK artist who I just adore as a person and as an artist. But dream collabs as well, there’s so many! If I don’t get to meet and sing a bit with Stevie Wonder, I don’t know why I’m doing this. And I love Sam Fender, H.E.R and Frank Ocean. I don’t even need to release music with them, just to get in a room and collaborate with people like that and minds like that… and Chris Martin from Coldplay, would be amazing! I’m gonna stop there, because I could go on for about an hour of people that I wanna work with. But yeah, those people definitely.

Finally, what are your hopes for the future?

I can’t wait to release an album. I want that process so badly; to get into a studio with the people I love creating with the most and create an album. And beyond that, just to get to a point where I retain—because I’ve got it right now—full creative control and career control. And just continue to be at the forefront of controlling where this goes, and touring the world.

Thanks for chatting with me!

Thanks for chatting with me!

For more on Charlotte, her music and tickets to her upcoming shows visit: www.iamcharl0tte.com

Follow Charlotte on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Interview by Demi Leigh

Join us at Lost In The Sound on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

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