Die kanadische Sängerin Charlotte Cardin hat am vergangenen Freitag endlich ihr Debütalbum „Phoenix“ veröffentlicht. Anna hat mir ihr über den Albumprozess gesprochen.
The production of the album took you quite a long time, three years in total. How did you feel when you started? And when you finally finished it?
Charlotte Cardin: To be honest, it feels so weird that it’s coming out soon because we just spent so much time doing it, it felt like it was never finished. It’s like a really good feeling, I’m at peace with just releasing letting go of the baby.
But the first six months of writing, and that’s part of why it took so long, I was isolating myself writing, like I had always written — which was me alone in my house, isolating myself and either with my guitar or piano, trying to figure things out and write songs. And for the few months I did that, I felt like I was going nowhere. It just wasn’t working.
After six months, I asked myself why it wasn’t working and I realized that I was trying to write music thinking of like how people would receive the music what people were expecting from my music and I was in the wrong mindset where I was not doing the album for me. I was doing it thinking of how it would be received by the world.
So I completely switched mindsets and I also switched my approach to songwriting. I stopped writing alone at home and I started co writing and working with different producers and writers, and made it a really collaborative, conversational process which made it so much more fun. Co-writing was a revelation for me, because you never run out of inspiration when you’re bouncing ideas off each other, talking and relating to other people’s stories.
I co-wrote this whole album and still it is the most personal project I’ve ever worked on.
Strange that people speak so negatively about co-writing, right? I think a lot of people don’t understand how creative processes work. Just because someone writes with you, doesn’t mean the other person’s doing all the work and you’re doing nothing.
Charlotte: That’s true, but that’s also something that I thought. I was super possessive of my songs because I was like: „This is my story.“ Zhere’s only one song that I wrote by myself on the album, and it’s one of my least favorites. I co-wrote this whole album and still it is the most personal project I’ve ever worked on.
I would have thought: „Oh it’s gonna make it less personal. It’s gonna make it someone else’s story that I’m telling“, but really it’s not like that at all. I surrounded myself with a small team, and Jason Brando, who is my manager and co-wrote this album with me, he is a big part of the project. He knows me better than a lot of people because we’ve been friends for years and so it doesn’t make it less personal, it makes it even more personal because we talk about the things that I want to express through my songs and we pinpoint exactly the feelings and the words that are the most appropriate. It’s easier to do that when you’re not by yourself.
I think for women it’s really hard because we talk more and more about gender equality, but we’re really not there, and there’s a lot of things that societies expects from women…
I read that the more you realized certain things about yourself and the process, the angrier you became that you hadn’t realized some sooner, and I totally resonated with this. pPart of it is just like growing up and getting older but I think, a way bigger part is in what sort of society we grew up in, we’re the same age and I think we just grow up with the same things and expectations. And getting out there takes a really real effort. And it’s not easy.
Charlotte: I fully agree with that and I’m happy that you feel the same way. I guess a lot of women feel that way. I think for women it’s really hard because we talk more and more about gender equality, but we’re really not there, and there’s a lot of things that societies expects from women, whether you’re in an artistic field or not at all, no matter where you grew up, no matter which industry you work in. There’s always a struggle. Being a woman comes with incredible pressure from parts in your personal life and in your professional life.
So for me, the symbol of the Phoenix is that idea wherever there’s growths, there are also parts of yourself that you have to let go of. A lot of that realization comes from the fact that writing this album I wanted to let go of things. Like realizing that my whole life, I had been acting in certain ways, trying to guess what people wanted for me. Sometimes you get lost in it. You don’t know if you’re doing something for yourself or you’re doing it because you think that’s what other people expect. That’s always been a big thing for me and so letting go of that for this album has been incredibly liberating.
You can totally hear it in your music. When I listen to through „Phoenix“, I thought: „Wow, I’ve never heard anyone talk or sing about something in this way before“. It’s so great how you can find this evolving change in music too. That narratives can change and how a woman can picture herself and feel in emotional situations.
Charlotte: Wow, I really appreciate you saying that, that’s really awesome. It was definitely a process of ups and downs. For me writing has always been really therapeutic and I think that that’s something I really wanted to talk about. Wether that manifests in relationships or any situations.
It’s so exciting how people have written about love and other interpersonal relationships for centuries now and we’re still finding new words oways to express it. You said writing is therapeutic for you – can you process your feelings better through it and see clearer?
Charlotte: Oh, definitely. Songwriting is my way of processing all my emotions, especially the heavier, darker ones. It’s my way of getting in touch with certain reactions that I’ve had, or certain relationships that I’ve had. Where I’ve haven’t had the courage of going back to the intense feelings and trying to understand, so songwriting really does that for me and it’s my way of going back to certain wounds that I have and trying to heal them by confronting them.
It’s been like that for me for a long time, it’s always made me feel really good to write. There’s a big part of understanding my own feelings, of writing them down and taking the time to isolate them. It helped me deal with a lot of different things for sure.
To look on different things from the outside is so helpful. Things become pretty obvious from a distance.
Charlotte: Exactly! Putting it down on paper and finding words to the ways that you feel. For me it’s really important because sometimes you just realize that you felt a certain thing for a really long time and you don’t even know why and you don’t even realize that you feel that way sometimes.
I was surprised that there was only one French song on „Phoenix“. But when I think about how I write, often I can express things better either in English or German. Is that the same for you with English and French?
Charlotte: Yeah, it’s always been a little bit easier for me to write in English and I think that’s because I feel closer to French, my whole education was in French. My family is Francophone and I grew up French. I think I ask myself less questions when I write in English, there’s something a little bit more spontaneous. In French, I really ask myself a lot of questions because I pressure myself a little bit more with the French language because it’s a little bit closer to me.
And so I spend as much time trying to write in French as I do in English, it’s just that I finish my English songs faster. There was that one song that I really loved that I wanted to put on the record that was in French. But I guess on the next album, there might be more. Ot’s just ne of those things where I wanted my favorite songs to be on there and there was one, but whenever I have a French song that I like, I’m like extra proud of it because I know it’s harder for me and also it has an even more personal vibe to it.
It’s exciting that you’re feeling the same way because I always thought about how is that strange that I have this part of me that wants to write it this way in this language and other things I want to do in the other one.
I think you can distance yourself a bit better when it’s not your native language.
Charlotte: I agree, it’s super special!
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