Hailing from Chesterfield, UK, Charlotte Hall is a singer, bassist, guitarist and songwriter. Classically trained as a soprano, she has a clear and rather haunting voice. We sat down with Charlotte to discuss her third single ‘The Wolves’, staying motivated and discovering new music.
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
Deep down, I think it is what I’ve always wanted to do. I studied Music at university for five years and I didn’t take songwriting too seriously. It was originally just a side-project to go along with my main composition portfolio for my Master’s degree until two of my singles aired on BBC Introducing York and North Yorkshire. This led to an interview and live session with Jericho Keys. That is when I decided to start taking songwriting more seriously as I really enjoy it. Since leaving university I haven’t looked back and am moving forwards writing music without restrictions.
Can you tell us about your release ‘The Wolves’?
‘The Wolves’ is the third single I have released so far this year and it is a step up in standards in every aspect – the songwriting, the challenge of using difficult subject matter, and the production.
Originally, this song wasn’t written for me to sing. I had decided to write some songs for my best friend who is a soprano and songwriter. Before starting the writing process, I asked her to list any artists she liked listening to and her favourite songs, which led to some discoveries such as Damien Rice and Iron & Wine. It was a fun process going through both the indie and folk sound taking ideas that I liked from her favourite artists. The subject matter wasn’t an easy choice as it is about a toxic friendship I had at university.
What was the recording and writing process like?
I tend to write my acoustic parts before anything else and then add vocals later. Prior to writing lyrics, I try to establish what sort of mood or subject the music needs. ‘The Wolves’ introduction shifts between E, D# and F# which for me establishes a moody atmosphere and feelings of tension.
Picking out the subject matter was one I chose with caution, but I was very much over what happened as mentioned above. I felt it was the right time to write about it and not make it all about my experience. My original demo just consisted of acoustic guitar and voice, then this grew into a full band ensemble in the studio. I particularly like the arc formed in the song starting off with just acoustic guitar adding stabs on the drum and bass. The tension growing to the vocal layering after the second chorus mimics the howls of wolves.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
Of course, and, interestingly, in a positive light. After I left that friendship behind it marked the start of so much personal growth within a year and a half. I never imagined my music would get noticed the way it did and it felt so amazing. I had no idea how unhappy I was prior, but you are convinced otherwise! My first thoughts listening to the track in the full mix was “look how far you’ve come and how happy you are.”
What do you hope people take from your music?
That’s a very good question as my songs really vary. Most of my tracks are for the listener’s enjoyment keeping the music upbeat, catchy and positive. ‘The Wolves’ is the single that could be more relatable and can spread awareness through sharing my experiences. Coercive control does not discriminate and it is also collateral. Not only do the victims suffer, but their friends and family watch a loved one being chipped away by the abuser. I hope listeners feel they’re not alone.
What is more challenging – melody or lyrics?
Definitely lyrics for me. The melodies seem to appear faster in the writing process, mostly just through playing around on the acoustic guitar. I usually finish the ensemble parts first and leave the vocals until last.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Life is short and I just want to write, record and publish content after not being able to in 2019 because of my Master’s. At times, I found it quite stifling focusing on contemporary music and nothing else. As a result, I quit composing contemporary style last December and I’m just concentrating on writing songs.
How would you describe your music?
I’d say my writing crosses over rock and folk, which is a slightly interesting combination. A lot of my inspirations are artists from the past such as Blondie, Fleetwood Mac and Oasis; so, quite a bit of variation. I bring those past influences to the modern day in my writing and, very recently, I have been testing the waters with folk. So far with this single, it has worked very well, so expect more in the future.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Open mic nights, for sure. You meet so many people with different music tastes. One night you play could be so different from the next.
What does the future hold for you?
Of course, it’s quite uncertain right now for a lot of musicians, but I’m concentrating on just pushing the writing, recording and releasing music. I’ve got a new recording underway as I speak, so I’ll see how that goes. The new content is mostly focused on adjusting to life post-university and continuing to explore the folk soundworld.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Thank you for sticking with me and reaching the bottom of this page. I hope you enjoy listening to ‘The Wolves’ and, hopefully, there will be more folk songs where that one came from.