Honing a heartfelt brand of soul-pop brimming with lyrical vulnerability, Charlotte Jane is getting us through the down days.
Charlotte Jane possesses the rare ability to silence a room with only her rich vocals, a piano, and razor-sharp songwriting skills. Growing up with musical lineage, the rising artist’s pure and unshakable love for performing sprung from spending her childhood watching her grandparents perform soul classics in pubs and clubs. Born in Hull, she was singing at pub karaoke by five and making commitments to her future music career as soon as she hit her teenage years. But it was the unfamiliarity of a family move to Singapore aged 14 that sparked Charlotte Jane’s songwriting as an emotional comfort.
Still only 24, she continues to deftly navigate the territory between wearing her heart on her musical sleeve and creating catchy records. Describing her music as “soul-pop”, last year’s single “Down Days” struck a chord with fans, chronicling Charlotte’s struggle with her mental health. It serves as the perfect example of an impressive capacity to use her own discomfort as a driving creative force. After months of writing and with this year promising big musical output, we get to know more about Charlotte Jane and how her latest track, “10 Percent”, has helped her heal.
For listeners who haven’t been introduced to you yet, how would you describe yourself and your sound?
I would describe myself as a sensitive person who handles emotion via music and jokes about it in-between. In terms of my sound, every song is a reflection of how I feel.
What got you into music?
Music’s been a massive part of my life since I was born. My grandparents are a huge inspiration to me; they played music for the love of it, and I think that’s such a lovely way to fall in love with music. We have a big family party culture where we all just sing and jam together. I feel so lucky for that because it’s meant my love for music is very pure and unwavering. That’s why I love performing live, because of the irreplaceable connection that brings for me.
How do you feel you’ve evolved as an artist since you started releasing your own songs in 2019? What have you learnt along the way?
I’ve definitely learnt to be patient. It hasn’t been the first few years that I expected, but I think in hindsight me, and my music, have benefitted from having time. There’s a part of me that feels frustrated because I might not be where I saw myself being, but that energy is useless to put out – so I’m focusing on this year.
It must take a lot of patience to sit on unreleased music and not be able to share it…
Definitely. And it’s always hard not to overthink things, but in the last few years I’ve had so much time to write and it’s some of the best stuff I’ve written. That’s a really nice position to be in, to have so much to put out.
You’re not afraid to be really honest in your lyrics – do you feel music helps you to work through difficult emotions?
Absolutely. For me, songwriting has always been closely intertwined with diary-writing. I used to write so many diaries, and then I started pairing it with singing and I’ve always retained that aspect of it. I’m very particular about my lyrics and there’s only certain people that I’m happy to co-write with because I don’t like to dilute what I’m saying. I want it to be about my experiences rather than about making it sound ‘cool’.
Do you have a favourite place to write? Where do you feel most inspired?
My favourite place to write in the UK is with my friend Phil, in a studio in London called The Carpet Shop – it just feels like home. I also really liked writing in LA, which is an expensive habit. I love and hate LA in equal measure. It makes me feel very strange and slightly alienated and isolated when I’m there, but that makes me write really good stuff.
Is there a song of yours that you’re proudest of writing?
I would say it’s “Down Days”, of my songs that are out. “Down Days” was so scary to release because I’d never really disclosed how much I’d been struggling with my mental health. For people around me, and school friends [to hear], it made me feel very vulnerable. I’m proud of the way that people have connected with that and continue to do so.
It speaks to the emotional honesty of the song that you felt vulnerable to that extent…
I still go back and listen to that song for my own therapy. I’m glad it’s out there because I held on to that one for a while.
Let’s talk about your latest track, “Ten Percent”. How does it compare to your previous singles?
It comes from a very different headspace. The intentions were not as emotionally intense, it was just fun. I think it took us all by surprise when we listened back a couple of weeks later and realised ‘Oh, wow, this is a banger!’ It was the first time I’d heard my own song and felt, ‘I want to dance to this’.
Your dancing in the video holds more significance than people might initially realise, in terms of your own journey with self-confidence…
I danced throughout my childhood. I loved it as much as I loved singing, and then I started getting so self-conscious. Becoming a teenager, I started hating my body; I hated wearing a leotard and I fell out of love with it. I didn’t dance for ages, and it became a self-deprecating thing. Then “Ten Percent” came at a time when I got COVID, lost my voice and hadn’t got an outlet for my emotions and feelings the way I normally would. It made me really want to dance again, so I did exactly that. It’s been so good for me to get back to it and feel confident again.
What do you hope people will take from the track?
With “Ten Percent”, I hope people feel empowered and want to dance; I hope it can do the same for them as it did for me. The overarching message of that song is recognising when someone’s not serving you anymore, and it’s draining your energy. I think that’s a very valuable thing to action, so I hope people take that away from it.