Stories

Meet Your Next Music Crush

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When Charlotte Cardin first appeared on La Voix — the French-Canadian version of The Voice — it could have been the end for her, in the sense that it could have been the beginning of a career as a commercialized pop queen. Luckily for us, she didn’t win.

The 21-year-old, who cites Radiohead and James Blake as influences, wasn’t looking for a buyout. Nor was she ready to become a sell-out. Rather, the young singer stepped out of the spotlight for three years to figure her shit out — and to write a stellar six-track debut EP, Big Boy.

Big Boy seems an appropriate, if not ironic title. At 21, Cardin is young, and it’s hard to imagine she’s not embarrassed by the 18-year-old girl in a flowy skirt who once trounced barefoot across La Voix’s stage.

 

we feel the brooding intensity in her voice just trying to escape

 

Even her La Voix stint, which must be the celebrity equivalent of mortifying VHS tapes from childhood, revealed that the girl’s got depth. In the rare moments on La Voix, when she stares directly into the camera, looking past the flashing lights, the falling confetti, we feel the brooding intensity in her voice just trying to escape the reality show’s smoke and mirrors.

And escape she did. Now, she’s taken back her image without the input of reality TV producers and doing things her way, a fact that is made evident by her quietly energetic performances.

See for yourself at Cardin’s November 16 performance at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Don’t feel like braving an NYC winter? Join us for a full livestream of the show, which promises to be a totally different experience from our inaugural #STAYLOUD Session with Diarrhea Planet.

Cardin is all about being unapologetically herself. She isn’t defined by her past experiences, but is learning and growing from them — no gimmicks needed. It’s this musical versatility that has already led critics to compare her to a cadre of famous female chanteuses, everyone from Celine Dion with her power ballads to Amy Winehouse and her raspy melancholy.

Cardin grew up in Montreal, and her EP features songs in both English and French.

The Celine comparison is obvious; after all, Cardin grew up in Montreal, and her EP features songs in both English and French. Non-francophiles might not understand the lyrics to “Faufile” or “Les échards,” but that oddly gives the songs even more power. English listeners are forced to manufacture their own meanings to her lyrics, like a Mad Lib fill-in-the-blank game.

Listening to Cardin’s velvety love songs makes it clear that she’s a young woman unafraid of vulnerability. Her words flow effortlessly, like soothing jazz tunes or the twisted words of a smooth-talking lover. These are songs to play on repeat when a lover breaks your heart, or to curl up to with some brie aux truffes and a cheap bottle of red wine.

she’s a young woman unafraid of vulnerability.

Speaking of heartbreakers, it’s hard to talk about Charlotte Cardin without referencing her model-good looks because, well, she is a model. Or was, before she decided to pursue music as a full-time career. Sigh, if only quitting your day job meant trading modeling for music.

You might want to hate her, just a little bit, for the effortless cool she exudes when wearing just a t-shirt, but it’s totally irrelevant when you hear her voice, with its molasses-smooth sound that reminisces of an oft-repeated mother’s lullaby (if your mom were a 21-year-old French-Canadian model).

 

Her approach likely explains the jarring effect of her songs

 

Cardin’s vocal simplicity speaks louder than many of her contemporaries, who hide behind autotune and flashy sequined leotards. Cardin, on the other hand, pairs her jazz compositions with electronic production and poppy hooks. It’s the perfect melodic stage for her relaxed lyrics that tumble across her tracks like skipping rocks over a calm streambed.

The young singer has said she writes mainly love songs, but these are no typical heartbreak ballads. Break up with Cardin — what are you, an idiot? — and she’ll simply pick up her guitar, probably a cigarette too, and write a song about you. It’s all very Taylor Swift, minus the overproduced sound and Kanye feud.

It’s all very visceral, physical without the gyrations of those aforementioned popstars.

Actually, Cardin doesn’t write about her personal life at all. She starts with an emotion and molds the music and lyrics around it. Her approach likely explains the jarring effect of her songs — they seem to punch you in deep in the pit of your stomach, that same place that aches when you’re jilted by a lover. It’s all very visceral, physical without the gyrations of those aforementioned popstars. Less is more for Cardin. Less is more.

This pared-down approach is especially clear in the video for “Like It Doesn’t Hurt,” featuring hip hop artist Husser. In the bare-bones video, we have the honor of witnessing a singer hitting her creative stride. At the same time, we get a taste for this good girl’s bad side — and a glimpse of Miss Innocent’s upper arm tattoo.

Cardin’s full-length album is expected for release early 2017. In the meantime, we’ve got a half-a-dozen tracks to drown our sorrows in and her November 16 show to look forward to. Although we don’t know what’s next for Cardin, one thing is certain: She’s a young artist determined to make music her way, and that calls for a La Voix-style confetti shower.

Watch Charlotte on our Facebook Live Stream, November 16th as we continue our live streaming series #STAYLOUD Sessions. Make sure you’re front and center for this can’t miss show. Set your Facebook reminder here!