Charlotte OC performed at Dot to Dot Festival 2014. Watch exclusive live videos below.
Charlotte OC's songwriting is sophisticated and immediate, familiar and strange. She says she likes wordplay and imagery but has also learnt to trust a gut instinct. She had her ‘lightbulb moment’ co-writing moment at Tim Anderson’s studio in LA. ‘I’m obsessed with Tim Burton and that studio is like he’s thrown up all over it. It’s my favourite place. I met Tim, had a cigarette, went back inside, he started playing something on the piano and it just happened. I knew that working with him just flowed. The song, the lyrics, it was all so easy to write.’ The deep ascending chord sequence was her touch. ‘I love writing melodies more than anything. It’s about what the voice is saying. Everything else is embellishment.’
Charlotte is a thoughtful and sometimes abstract lyricist. She came up with the suitably stroppy, Philly soul-sounding hook for Hangover in exactly that state. ‘I’d been rat-arsed the night before and went back in the studio apologising to Tim for being hungover. He started playing a beat and I told him I had to go. As I was walking out of the door I started singing the word “Hangover” and we both came in with “In the morning”. It was fully natural. The best co-writing is when you feel like you’re working from the same brain. I went back and we nailed it.’ She cites an early love of Dolly Parton’s incredible ear for melodic storytelling for any country overtones to her tunes.
Charlotte is currently at the closing stages of what will be her EP with debut album to follow, a sultry composite of structured song-writing, a freewheeling vocal range and subtle electronic edge. She is ready for her close-up. ‘I couldn’t be prouder of it,’ she says. At the finishing-touch stages of her hallucinatory 21st century soul epic, she has every right to be.
Finding herself at the Berghain, probably the best nightclub in the world, on Sunday afternoon, a new impulse hit the singer/songwriter. ‘I felt like somebody had just let me in on the biggest secret in the world.’ Because the monolithic temple of nightlife and seat of modern bohemianism doesn’t allow cameras or press in, in some ways they had. A new loop for her music began to foment in her mind. ‘It felt like heaven and hell to me.’
Charlotte’s songwriting inspiration began to chime to a new, ethereal beat. ‘The whole place just blew my mind. I wrote, Colour My Heart when I came back,’ which became the song that would come to define her direction, a bewitching and unique ‘spooky gospel soul’ that sounds prematurely hit-ready. ‘I want my music to sound like Berlin feels. The chords to Colour My Heart are how I hear Berlin.’
Because she was born in Blackburn in the early 90’s there was perhaps something in the bloodline, the demography and geography that would connect spiritually, if not necessarily stylistically in Charlotte’s music to the collapsing edges of a dance-floor.