A Conversation with Charlotte Cardin at Wayhome 2017

Let’s face it: Wayhome can be an overwhelming experience. With an onslaught of new artists being featured each year, it’s often hard to know which set to choose and you can easily get lost in the chaos. Once in awhile, if you take a break from the Bacardi tent and head over to one of the three stages, you can experience something magical.

This is what I noticed when I, along with our editor-in-chief, Drew Brown, skipped a round and went over to check out Charlotte Cardin’s set. I’ve been a fan of Charlotte’s for the past year, after hearing her debut EP, Big Boy. I quickly became a fan of her soul-enriching voice, and lyrical genius. I felt I related to a lot of her music — her stories of heartbreak and love lost, and wanted to meet the genius behind the music.

We were lucky enough and had the opportunity to sit down with Charlotte for a few minutes after her Wayhome set, and learned a bit more about her process and what is next to come.

Kimberley Drapack: How is your Wayhome experience treating you so far?

Charlotte Cardin: I love it. We got here at 11. I haven’t seen anything yet, but we were the first show. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more acts. Solange, for sure.

We had a show yesterday in Quebec, and it was a two hour drive from our house, so we got home at like 2 AM and woke up at 4 AM to catch the flight, so we had no sleep.

K: You expend a lot of energy on stage. Your show is really live and fun to watch, you must be really tired afterwards.

CC: There’s a bit of a crash, but we’re going to eat and then take a nap.

K: Is this your first music festival?

CC: No, we played a few. This year we played Bonnaroo, the Montreal Jazz Fest. We also played one in Quebec, and last year we played Osheaga, and the Winnipeg fest this year.

K: Do you have any special prep you need to do before a festival performance vs. a show at home?

CC: Not really. I see both performances the same way. The only preparation I do is I go through the setlist with the band and if we have questions, we bring it up. That takes like seven seconds.

K: By now you must know your set so well.

CC: We played it a lot, so definitely. Sometimes I sort of visualize when I’m more nervous. There’s no crazy preparation.

K: I always wondered how you remembered your setlist so well, because the transitions in between songs are so seamless.

CC: Sometimes you’ll just skip one, and think, “Oh, I forgot to play that one.” The first year and a half, we always had a written setlist, but now we just know.

K: When did you first learn that you loved music and started to write your own?

CC: I started singing when I was very young. I started singing lessons at eight but I had already been singing with my mom and my sisters for fun. I started writing when I was sixteen or seventeen. I had written a few songs before that, but just to try something new. I’m twenty-two now.

K: You’ve done so much already.

CC: Yeah, it’s been really great. I’ve been working hard and a lot of really cool opportunities have presented themselves.

K: Who are some of your musical influences?

CC: I love Radiohead, very much, although we have very different genres, I just love the atmosphere they create. I love old jazz. Nina Simone, Etta James… I listen to a bunch of different stuff… Celine Dion. Those are my main influences.

K: Your EP, Big Boy, was released in 2016. Can you tell us about the prep behind it and your writing process for it?

CC: I wrote the songs over three years. It was my whole life’s work. It was six songs, but I threw a bunch away in the process.

I took the songs that I liked the most and put them on an EP and it’s sort of this story linking the songs together. I don’t always write from personal experiences. I put myself into a certain zone and sometimes it’s even a certain character that writes.

It’s not always me talking in my songs, sometimes it’s someone else. I sometimes pretend I’m a boy writing myself into a bunch of different characters, and it’s a really fun exercise to do. People always ask, “have you been heartbroken a hundred times or are you a super dirty person?” I’m a normal person, I just like putting myself into character to write songs.

K: People often assume that there is one really bad breakup in your life and that each song is about that one person.

CC: Yeah, like Adele’s ex-boyfriend. People always ask me about that. I’ve had experiences, but I don’t feel like it’s important to talk about them. I say a lot in my songs but what’s true and what’s not true is up to people to take what they want.

K: At the 2017 SOCAN Songwriting Awards, you were a nominee in the English category for “Big Boy” and in the French category for “Faufile”, becoming the first artist in the history of the award to be nominated in both categories in the same year. What was this experience like?

CC: It was really nice. I was nominated in the French category last year. It’s nice to see that people recognize what you do and it’s not the same board judging the English part of the contest and the French part, so it’s pretty cool to see that it just sort of happened, they didn’t necessarily talk to one another. I’m not sure of that information is correct but it’s really flattering.

K: Do you have a different process when you’re writing a song in English or in French?

CC: Not really, it comes out. I don’t overthink it. I just start playing and whatever comes out is French or English. I try not to limit myself and I don’t want to censor anything. I’m not able to write on command and to write all the time, so whenever something comes out I just let it.

K: Do you ever have late nights where an idea pops into your head and you write it into a journal beside your bed?

CC: In my phone, usually. That’s way less romantic. Sometimes I’ll be on the bus and write a sentence or some words that inspires me.

K: What’s coming up for you? Do you have any new music coming out?

CC: Yes, new music really soon. We have a new single coming out called Main Girl. I don’t know when it’s going to come out but we are going to release it soon. 

We’re touring with Nick Murphy, for two months, leaving in September and October so it’s going to be fun.

K: You’re a great duo because your voices really compliment each other. Do you think you’d maybe get a song out of that collab?

CC: That would be really cool. I’m not thinking about that, but I’m super grateful to be on that tour.

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Sets You Don’t Want to Miss at WayHome 2017

With WayHome Music Festival right around the corner, we have all been prepping our bodies, minds, and bank accounts for the big weekend ahead. If you’re anything like me, you’re not excited to be camping for three days, but there is nothing like the motivation one gets from seeing their favourite artist’s name printed on a lineup. I will run the risk of not having a hot shower (or a shower at all for the matter) for three days, just for the opportunity to be 10 feet away from Frank Ocean’s feet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it will be a long 72 hours, but together, we can make things work. Below I have compiled a list of must-see sets at this year’s WayHome, along with the details of where each artist will be playing. You can thank me now, or later, but don’t forget to see these talented individuals in all their glory under the beaming sun.

FRIDAY, JULY 28th 2017

Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

NONAME [WayHome Stage @ 3:45-4:15 PM]

Noname, otherwise known to her parents and childhood friends as Fatima Warner, is a Chicago MC first known for her cameos on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap”, as well as Mick Jenkin’s mixtape, “The Waters”. Following this debut, Noname took her time and carefully detailed and executed her breakout project, Telefone, which provided hungry fans with a body of work. Noname is an up-and-comer with melodic soundscapes and lyrics that weave into poetry.

Photo by Zack Vitiello

ALLAN RAYMAN [WayBright Stage @ 4:30-5:00 PM]

Toronto native, Allan Rayman is an enigma. Fairly new to the scene, Rayman has managed to steer clear of the spotlight and keep his identity something of a mystery. His first ever interview was released in February of 2017 with Billboard. He is currently signed to Communion Records and has released two albums, Hotel Allen” and “Roadhouse 01” as well as two singles, “Much Too Much” and “All at Once“. Rayman’s vocal style is gritty and soulful, and his music crosses boundaries between genres.

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

DANNY BROWN [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

For those looking to end the WayHome Friday with a bang, attend Danny Brown’s closing set. This Detroit-native is no stranger to the festival circuit; he delivers high-energy through his performances without missing a beat. Danny’s shows are known for getting quite rowdy and #NSFW, to say the least, but that certainly doesn’t take away from his big finish.

SATURDAY, JULY 29TH 2017

Cover of Charlotte Cardin’s Big Boy EP

CHARLOTTE CARDIN [WayBright Stage @ 2:00-2:30 PM]

Charlotte Cardin is a pop/electro singer from Montréal who is best known for her single, “Like It Doesn’t Hurt, featuring Husser. Her smooth vocals compliment any backdrop, while her lyrics sing truths about tales of lost loves and relationships. Charlotte released her solo debut EP, “Big Boy“, in 2016 with Cult Nation Records with songs in both English and French.

Photo by Carlotta Guerrero

SOLANGE [WayBright Stage @ 8:30-9:30 PM]

One simply cannot leave out this beauty while highlighting the best-of-the-best at WayHome. Without Solange, there would be no list, and, frankly, if you take anything away from this article, let it be this one suggestion: do not miss her set.

Photo by Steven Taylor

RUSS [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

Russ is not only a singer-songwriter, but a producer, a beat-maker, and an artist who never stops grinding for his dream. Over the past decade, Russ has put out consistent singles and videos, making him a rising-star from Atlanta. Russ has released eleven “unofficial” albums before eventually signing to Columbia records and releasing his newest project, “There’s Really A Wolf“.

SUNDAY, JULY 30TH 2017

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

MITSKI [WayBright Stage @ 6:00-6:45 PM]

In 2016, Mitski released her fourth studio album, “Puberty 2” through Dead Oceans Records. The whole world applauded Mitski’s vulnerable and complex songwriting, whose subjects include love, depression, self-alienation, and racial identity. The New York Times describes “Puberty 2” as “an impressive collection of D.I.Y punk and indie rock.”

Photo by Liam MacRae & Sean Brown

DANIEL CAESAR [ WayAway Stage @ 6:45-7:30 PM]

Daniel Caesar is a singer-songwriter making waves in the Toronto music scene. Transcending the frameworks of R&B/Soul, Daniel’s music resonates with his audience and creates a moments of self-examination through his lyrics. The 21-year old Toronto native debuted in 2014 with his EP “Praise Break” and has since received attention from major music publications across the country. Daniel speaks directly to a millennial generation through ballads of love, lust, and faith.

Source: The Independent

FRANK OCEAN [WayHome Stage @ 9:45-11:15 PM]

I don’t think there is a combination of words or sentences that I can string together to explain the excitement I feel to finally see Frank Ocean live at WayHome. After a four-year hiatus, Frank has delivered with Blonde, Endless, and consistent singles we will cherish for decades to come. *cough* “Lens” *cough.* This angel sent from above needs no backstory or convincing. See his show, fall in love, and dance slowly under the moonlight, drifting away with his voice.

See the full line up for the 3 day festival here, and continue following our arts and culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.