“It sounds like me growing up and transforming from a girl into a young women.”
Charlotte OC‘s new album doesn’t drop until March 31st but the British singer-songwriter is already making waves in the music world for her siren sound and raw lyrics. On the upcoming Careless People the British singer-songwriter chronicles the journey from childhood to adult life by flawlessly meshing tough themes with infectious hooks. Recent singles, “Darkest Hour” and “Shell” take unflinching looks at familial and romantic relationships gone wrong but Charlotte’s power-house voice is never content to dwell in the depths of despair. Her velvet vocals always come to the rescue to convey a ray of light through the storm.
We caught up with Charlotte OC and got the story behind the making of her new full-length. Check out the exclusive interview below to get the scoop on Careless People and make sure to give it a listen when it comes out in two days!
Untitled Magazine: How did you get into music?
Charlotte OC: My mum and dad bought me a karaoke machine for Christmas and then I just became obsessed with music. I started to create music when I was fifteen after I started to learn how to play the guitar. I then started recording myself and uploading tracks onto MySpace and everything started through that.
UM: Who are some of your influences?
CO: Leonard Cohen, Aretha Franklin, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Little Dragon, Mark Farina, Queen.
UM: Your debut album, Careless People, is about to come out! What was your inspiration for the title?
CO: It’s taken from The Great Gatsby. When I heard the sentence –
‘They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made,’ it really hit home. I got wrapped up in Gatsby as a character and he got swept into this world that Tom and Daisy had created and Daisy just led him on! Then it all got a bit too much for them, they disappeared and probably stayed together. Gatsby died. You get that a lot with relationships, people leave when it’s not great for them. I’ve done that sometimes in relationships… I walked away and [the other person was] still wrapped up in the world that I’d left behind… It’s such a painful thing to go through and I feel like that’s what was happening when I wrote my album.
UM: Can you walk us through the themes of the album?
CO: It’s a collection of songs about being reckless in love, out of love and overall carelessness. I also think it sounds like me growing up and transforming from a girl into a young women.
UM: Any especially memorable moments from the making of the album?
CO: All of it was pretty insane to be honest, just being able to say “I’m making my debut album” was something I dreamed about doing as a kid. Also working with Grammy Award-winning conductor and composer Paul Buckmaster, who has collaborated with greats such as Elton John and David Bowie. I was in Berlin for my birthday, Paul was in L.A with my producer, Tim Anderson and we were having a three-way Skype call with an orchestra in Lithuania. I was hearing the strings that were being put on my record for the first time and it was just the most emotional moment. I didn’t actually realize that I was on loud speaker in the studio and I was going, ‘Fucking hell, this is amazing!’” whoops.
UM: “Darkest Hour” chronicles a tough period that you were going through with your sister. How does it feel to release a song dealing with something so personal?
CO: It was quite scary but I spent so long making sure the lyrics didn’t piss anybody off. It’s a sensitive subject and I really wanted to make sure I portrayed it in an artistic way. I hope I did that.
UM: You just released another single, “Shell.” What inspired that track?
CO: “Shell” is about something that I think a lot of people go through – you get involved with someone who you trust, and give a lot of yourself to, and then they become threatened by you and break you down. When you look back you realize that they didn’t ever really know you, and every time you were truly yourself they resented it, and tried to undermine you. You become a shell when you are not allowed to be yourself in a relationship. The whole song is positive. It’s about not letting this happen to you.
The second you realize someone has done this to you is the second you wake up and realize you deserve a lot more.
UM: Other than music, do you have any side projects or social causes that you are passionate about?
CO: I have a wish list of things I’d like to learn to do. Including learning to write poetry and to learn to not draw like a five-year-old .
UM: Following the release of “Careless People” what do you have coming up next?
CO: Shows in Berlin, London, Paris and Secret Garden Party. Very excited!
UM: Any performances that you are especially looking forward to?
CO: All of the above, I’ve missed being on stage so much.
Photography by Carter B Smith for The Untitled Magazine