Following the release of her confessional debut single ‘I Tell Lies’, we sat down with the fast-rising, songwriter CHARLOTTE, to speak about her forthcoming EP, working with Beyonce and Fergie’s hit-maker, and her plans for 2019.
We love your track ‘I Tell Lies’. How would you best describe your music to new audiences?
Ah thanks so much, it feels great to finally have something out there for people to listen to! I’m not great at describing my music because I’m so close to it, but it’s definitely soulful, personal and hopefully relatable.
What inspires you to create music? Are there any people who inspire you in your life or do you have any big musical influences?
Life inspires me to create. The things that happen to me/those around me and the way they make me feel are responsible for every song I’ve ever written. I’m constantly inspired by my amazing family and have always been musically inspired by my grandparents. They were a soul duo and I used to watch them perform as a child and all I wanted to do was join them and learn the songs they were singing. Their shows introduced me to incredible old soul music that has definitely built the foundations of the way my music has ended up sounding.
We think your sound is similar to the music of Alicia Keys. Which other artists would you say have a similar sound to you? What separates you from other artists currently making music?
Well that’s a huge compliment! Honestly, I try not to think about who I might sound like because I know other people will make up their own minds about that and make their own comparisons. Part of the reason I wanted to start by releasing my music independently is so that I don’t feel pressured to sound like a current artist that has a success story. So I hope that the thing that separates me from other artists is the fact that I am unapologetically myself, writing from a perspective that is uniquely mine.
Your latest single ‘I Tell Lies’ is out now. What is the song about and what inspired you to write it?
It’s about longing for a time when I didn’t have to pretend I was okay, a simpler time, which to me was early childhood. I’ve been so guilty of playing the clown and getting drunk to fool others and myself that I’m alright when, actually, I’ve been going through rough patches and battling demons in my head. The day I wrote this song was a moment of realisation that I needed to be more open and honest with the people around me in order to let them give me the support I needed.
How did it feel to have ‘I Tell Lies’ released on your 21st birthday? How did you celebrate? (Happy belated Birthday!)
It was absolutely manic but, hands down, the best day of my life so far. I had my friends and family round in the evening on Friday, we ate and drank too much and spent quality time catching up which was amazing as I’d just got home from tour and was well overdue a reunion with everyone. It was all very civilised. Then on Saturday night I had an 80’s rave themed party in my best mate’s basement with my closest mates. That was not civilised at all. Wicked night though. Sunday was a write-off.
‘I Tell Lies’ is taken from your first EP that will be released in May. What was it like recording Nowhere To Hide? Were there any changes to some of the tracks which you have included in the album? Which song are you most excited for your fans to hear?
The songs on my EP definitely weren’t easy to write. It’s scary to let yourself be so vulnerable and write the truth down. At the same time it was incredible to be working with such talented creatives who were so patient with me and helped me get the stories out. The EP was originally 5 tracks, but I changed it to 4. The one that didn’t make it was purely cut because it couldn’t be produced in time. I still love the song, hopefully I’ll release it eventually. The song I’m most excited to release is a track called ‘Nervous’, it’s the one I’ve been holding onto for the longest and the one that started the ball rolling for this EP concept.
You were discovered by Toby Gad (the man behind Beyonce’s ‘If I Were A Boy’ and John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’) who signed you immediately. Tell us the story of how this came about.
My manager reached out to Toby (who lives in LA) for a writing session and he said ”no” because he doesn’t work with unsigned artists. But, after some top notch persuasion he agreed to meet me. I’d never been to America and on the first day I landed I went to meet Toby. I was terrified… there were plaques, of all the huge records he’s been a part of, covering the walls of the studio and I was about to play him one of my songs. Lol, no pressure. I played it for him and he loved the song and my voice so much that he signed me on the spot! I still can’t believe that happened. I adore working with him and two of the songs we’ve written together are on my EP.
What inspires you to write, not only for you, but for others also ?
I just love being around music, I love meeting new people and hearing about their lives. Writing for others means I get to do both of those things at the same time. I like to write about real people, real life, real emotions. All of those things are inspiring to me. I almost find it funny that my job since the age of 17 has been to write songs… I’m very lucky to be able to do the thing I love most every day.
What can we expect from you in the future? Are you playing any shows or are you set to release any more tracks before the release of your EP in May?
I’m going to drop another track from the EP in a month or so I think. So that’s exciting! I’m also playing my first ever headline shows at the end of March. The Waiting Room, London on March 26th and The Tunnel, Hull on March 30th. I’m also joining Picture This on their UK & Europe tour at the beginning of March, so it’s going to be a busy month!
Where do you see yourself at the end of 2019? What is your ultimate goal for the future?
I’d love to release a second EP by the end of the year. I already have the songs for it so I don’t see why that wouldn’t be possible. I’m not set on having a firework style rise to being ‘successful’, but I do hope that throughout the year more and more people get to hear my tunes and come to shows so that it feels likely that I’ll be able to do this for the rest of my life, because that’s the ultimate goal.
Stay up-to-date with CHARLOTTE:
Tickets for CHARLOTTE’s upcoming shows can be purchased from her website.