Scottish trio Be Charlotte incorporate pop, hip hop, beatboxing, electro and indie pop into their soundscapes with their latest single ‘One Drop’ out now via AWAL / Kobalt Label Service. We spoke to their frontwoman, teenager Charlotte Brimner about their history and new release.
I’ve always known that the best songwriters are real, and their focus is on telling authentic stories.
What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was there a particular song or artist who inspired you?
Growing up I listened to a lot of different types of music and still do. When I was really young I loved Tracy Chapman. I listened to that album so many times and I knew from then that I wanted to write whole albums. The way she told stories in her songs and the fact that she was immediately distinctive, inspired me.
How did the band come about?
I was producing all the music in my kitchen …and I knew that I wanted a live feel to it. I love digital music but, for performances there’s nothing more engaging than seeing musicians in sync with one another live. James was in a band that I really liked, and so was Dave in fact. I just stole them and we started to work on the live show. Our sound engineer Keir is also an integral part of our team and key to making it sound exactly the way we want, wherever we are.
Why the name Be Charlotte?
I think a lot of people get caught up in the idea of trying to be something else, to fit in. I just want to focus on being myself. I’ve always known that the best songwriters are real, and their focus is on telling authentic stories.
Turning our attention to your new single ‘One Drop’, what was it like working with Marcus Mackay of DrivingBell Lounge?
It’s great to work with someone who understands the ambitious sound I was trying to encapsulate. I had worked with a few producers before meeting Marcus, and the issue we kept finding was that they weren’t listening to my opinions. We’ve worked together for around a year now and it’s probably the most comfortable I’ve felt in a studio environment
What is the song about?
I wrote it after playing a solo gig that didn’t go very well. It was part of s run of gigs that had made me feel like this. It’s good to learn what situations are good and bad for you, so you learn to be more comfortable or relaxed in your performance.
What are your hopes for the single?
I hope people can take different meaning sassy from it and it’s ambiguous enough to inspire or help them to overcome whatever is in their way. To be honest the positive reaction to it has been a bit overwhelming. It’s always quite nerve racking putting out songs are personal, I’ve only released a couple of songs before so it’ll take a bit of getting used to seeing lots of opinions and reviews.
How did it feel to be named one of The Great Escape’s First Fifty?
That’s exciting! It’s one of the festivals I’ve always wanted to do. We played a really cool show in London to launch First50.
You were representing the BBC at Eurosonic last week. How did you prepare?
It was a great privilege to be invited to Eurosonic representing BBC Radio 1. We recorded a live session for Huw Stephens show, and he was the nicest guy imaginable.
We had a bit of a surprise gig the night before our actual show. AnneMarie (artist from England) had lost her passport and wasn’t able to get into Netherlands, so we were asked to fill in that slot. Our drummer and sound engineer hadn’t arrived in Holland yet, and we had to adapt and play it as a duo instead of our usual band set up. I think it’s important to adapt to any situation and take advantage of opportunities, although I do always prefer playing with full band, it was a good night! Our actual show for BBC was the best ever though
You’re lined up for SXSW 2017 in Austin and The Great Escape this year. What shows are you excited about?
I’m excited about all the shows we have coming up actually. It feels like we are ready to take our live set to the next level and I just can’t wait to play to new audiences this year. Although we have toured in Asia and in Europe these gigs in February will be our first ever Scottish tour! So that’s quite exciting…I’ve never been to Dunfermline before!
What’s your three ‘must-haves’ on tour - collectively or individually?
I think it’s important to have some space…we were away for six weeks in October and November, it can become quite claustrophobic
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Milky Chance or Liane LaHavas or Kendrick Lamar or Sia. All of them!
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
You got the key, follow your heart, and don’t look back.
How is 2017 shaping up?
I think it’s going to be a lot of hard work but it’s going to be good fun as well. I’m excited to play so many gigs.
Listen to ‘One Drop’ on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates visit the Be Charlotte Facebook page.