Featuring limitless vocals and open-hearted lyrics, CHARLOTTE is set to release her debut EP on 7th June with The Orchard. Described by The Orchard’s own COO Colleen Theis as an ‘exciting new artist,’ CHARLOTTE popped in to our London office to perform three tracks from upcoming EP Nowhere to Hide.
Since the release of debut single ‘I Tell Lies,’ CHARLOTTE has collected over 10,000 followers which is simply unheard of at such an early stage. The release of her second single ‘Nervous’ was followed by the announcement of her headline tour, a tour with Newton Faulkner, and a trip to LA to write new songs with mentor Toby Gad (Beyonce ‘If I Were A Boy’). We can’t wait to see where CHARLOTTE’s career takes her next.
We got a chance to chat with the dynamic young songwriter following her performance; so if you’d like to learn more about this up-and-coming artist read on below.
What is the story behind your debut single ‘I Tell Lies’?
Every song I’ve ever written has been a product of the moment. I’ve never walked in to a studio going ‘ah, this would be a great concept,’ it’s pure luck. I seem to catch magical moments this way. [“I Tell Lies”] was written over a year ago in January when I was in LA (which sounds so big time) and it had just been Christmas and New Year’s, and I had this realisation that I was very unhappy. I realised I’d spent a long time being unhappy but everything had been so fast-paced, school had distracted me, exams distracted me, turning 18 and going out distracted me, and I hadn’t realised there were a lot of things I suppressed and ignored. Especially at Christmas when you’re surrounded by friends and family, they all have an image of who I am, or a concept of what my personality is, and I realised this big ‘joker’ personality just wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like being that person but also felt like I had to, so I felt quite disingenuous. I just realised I was a very unhappy person and I wanted to do something about it. The day before I wrote ‘I Tell Lies’ I realised I had to feel happy about the way I looked, about life, and sought out therapy. After I wrote it and performed it a few times I realised I wasn’t the only person who felt like this.
How did you get to this point in your career?
My manager taught me there was no reason to rush. There are a lot of people in the industry who may have a financial interest rather than a genuine passion, and my manager never put pressure on me. He wanted me to grow and become comfortable with my tracks and who I am.
I’m from Hull in East Yorkshire. I love it but it’s quite cut off. In terms of opportunities growing up I did dance lessons and found a local singing school when I was 11. I did shows in pubs and musical theatre – just dabbled where I could. Singing in particular was difficult to get into if it wasn’t Classical. I love and appreciate Classical but that’s never been me. At school my teachers would try to change the way I sing.
What got me interested in performance was Voice in a Million which is a children’s choir academy set up by a woman from Hull! She wanted to help kids who may not have had opportunities where they live. They recruit kids to perform shows at places like the O2 Arena, which was cool. I started at the academy when I was 11 so between ages 11-14 I was performing arenas.
My main musical influences growing up were my grandparents who are both singers. The older I got the more interested I became in getting on stage. My first time on stage was in Frankfurt when I was 4 playing the tambourine, then I’d go and join rehearsals. It was such a natural thing; I was so drawn to it. They sang Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Blue Mink, Cool and the Gang – I was obsessed with “Celebration.” If they came off stage without singing Cool and the Gang they’d see a dark side of me.
How did you start collaborating with other songwriters?
I moved to Singapore for two years with my family. I had just settled in to high school when we moved away. I had to make new friends, start new courses and I took my exams there. At 14 it was quite complex because everyone at school is nasty and hormonal, so just as I started to figure out who I was I was moved in to a completely different surrounding. This is when I started writing songs as a coping mechanism. Although it was difficult, in retrospect it was the best thing to happen to me because I started exercising my song writing capabilities. When I moved back to England at 16 my dad introduced me to someone at his work who also did music events. I did a CapitalFM event which went really well so he asked ‘what are you going to do from here? Will this be a career?’ I said yes, I just don’t know how. He then put me in touch with my current manager. My manager suggested co-writing which opened up my world to all these amazing people, session after session, I just worked my arse off for three years. I took any session, I’d work with anyone, I’d travel anywhere.
Who has been your favourite person to work with so far?
I couldn’t say. Sometimes I think ‘who do you think you are’ when I look back at the cool things I’ve done. I wasn’t necessarily ‘starstruck,’ but they’re all just wicked people and amazing to work with.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Leon Bridges, Sam Fender, and you said anyone so Stevie Wonder. and H.E.R, actually. Also, Frank Ocean.
What’s coming up in 2019?
I have an EP coming out on the 7th of June called Nowhere to Hide, then maybe a second EP. Hopefully next year I’ll have an album. I’m writing for an album now.
I also have three headline shows coming up: 2nd July at The Grand Social in Dublin, 3rd July at St Pancras Old Church in London, and 5th July at The Polar Bear in Hull.
What advice do you have for young women who are going through something similar to what you went through?
First of all, the biggest thing that helped me was talking. I opened up to my mum first. Then I decided to get professional help because it was right for me. Everything I’ve gone through is normal, everyone goes through it. It helps to hear other people talking about it. You don’t have to feel like you’re the only one. I’m getting good at it. I want to be part of the wave of people who voice their feelings. I want my sisters to have access to more information; to be part of a more open generation — And that rhymes.