Charlotte Cardin is one of those rare raw diamonds. Not only is she sweet and absolutely gorgeous, but at 22 years old, she has one of the most incredible voices I’ve heard in a long while and somehow, she’s humble and simple too! It’s like Amy Winehouse meets Coeur de Pirate and looks like Liv Tyler’s little sis! Her real debut in the music scene happened with the widest possible audience on La Voix Canada, where she was a finalist in 2013. Having been a model for a while but finding that wasn’t her scene, she now dedicates herself to music only and that’s fine by me cause I just want her to keep her music coming. Her EP Main Girl was released just this September and she’s already scored big in the charts. Her sultry voice and the minimalist arrangements make each of her songs a true little gem, playing with different genres without ever losing in authenticity. I must have listened to Like it doesn’t hurt a good hundred times. Maybe because it resonates so well with my present life but also because it’s so powerful and viscerally honest. Her pop’s grip is amplified by her RnB and trip-hop vibes and her unique voice texture. I met her at the MiMA after her recording session with the guys from Bruxelles Ma Belle (videoclip coming up very soon) and here’s the little chat we had.
A couple of videoclips that are an absolute must watch are all the way down, including a cover of Justin Bieber’s Sorry. Sorry Bieber, she nails it down way way better.
What brings you to this amazing “hellhole”?
I love Belgium! I like the people, the food, the vibe. There’s just such a friendly atmosphere here. But we’re here to promote the EP Main Girl. We’re super stoked to hear that it’s playing on the radio.
When I first listened to your EP Main Girl, I couldn’t help but think there was a little Amy Winehouse inhabiting you somewhere deep. And then I saw you sing “You know I’m no good” at La Voix and I was like I knew it!!! By the way, I think Amy would have been very jealous of your Dirty Dirty.
(She laughs). You know I’m no good was my first performance ever on such a stage, unlike family dinner parties or so!
I heard you say somewhere you were thinking of doing medicine…. So in a parallel life you’d have been a doctor. From science to music… how do you feel about that leap, that life choice?
Even though I find being a doctor such a beautiful career, music is my true passion, it’s my calling and it’s what makes me so happy so it was just obvious that I had to do it, it wasn’t really a choice.
Did La Voix help you find your voice?
A little bit. It helped me realise I had to put on hold anything else and just do music. But if not La Voix, something else would have happened to show me that I really want to do music ‘cause it’s too big of a passion.
RnB, pop, soul, jazzy, I hear you’re looking into some hip hop vibes… How do you describe your musical identity?
Kind of like that! It’s pop but kind of electro, trip-hop, r and b and jazz-influenced. But it’s still pop.
You are a singer-song writer, a model who knows her science… you have it all! Are you happy?
I am very happy. I am very lucky, I find. But yeah, I’m very happy.
Seeing some very successful artists, not least our dear Amy who in spite of having a lot to be happy seem to fall prey to sadness, depression, anguish, darkness… what do you think, given your experience, your taste of the environment, dealing with huge amounts of pressure… what are the factors, the traps, the dark holes one should stay alert to, not to fall prey of?
It’s very important a good circle around you, people you can trust. Because once you start having the smallest amount of popularity, creepers try to get into your life so it’s crucial to be well surrounded. Also, I stay away from drugs (laugh), I mean like… hard drugs! I just try to avoid things that don’t make me feel good. Sometimes things will make you feel good for a really small amount of time and then the backlash is not so good. I don’t party too much. I do like a fun night out but I try to stay focused
Dealing with pressure may have been your biggest lesson from La Voix… What was your biggest lesson learned from the modelling world?
That self-esteem is a very fragile thing and that you have to do everything you can to protect it. It can go really fast. The modelling industry just didn’t work for me it was too unhealthy in ways that I couldn’t handle. I just saw things that made me so sad, a lot of unhealthiness and disease and psychological abuse. There’s a lot of that in music too but I’m just passionate about it so it’s easier to work around them; I wasn’t passionate about fashion so it wasn’t worth it being surrounded by that stuff.
No surprises from Radiohead changed your life…. how so?
I hear no surprises in my best friend’s car when I was like 13 and at the time I only knew a few songs like Karma police but not many. No surprises is such a simple but strong song. So I listened to them a lot to them from then on.
You said you’d love to do a collab with Snoop Dog. Any developments there?
(Laughs) No, I’m still putting it out there. So Snoop Dog, if you read this article… call out!
And other than him, who would you like to write a song with or share the stage?
For sure Radiohead would be my top one… There’s a singer songwriter in Québec called Daniel Bélanger with whom I recently sang one of his songs on stage. But writing with him would be awesome too.
What brought on the writing of Dirty Dirty?
I put myself into my fifteen year-old self. I kind of liked this guy and I remember a specific evening where he was talking to a girl who was just like a mean girl. So I flashed back to that jealous fifteen year old girl that I was and wrote this sort of sassy song of what it is to be jealous, although I’m not a particularly jealous person.
What is on your playlist these days?
Daniel Ceasar, an artist from Toronto. His album “Freudian” he released this summer is insane. I have a lot of Celine Dion on my playlist and Bené by PNL.
Any Belgian artists you may dig?
Unfortunately not. Oh wait, Girls in Hawaii are Belgian? I definitely like them!!
Something you would never compromise in your music?
A guilty pleasure?
All sweets in general.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
To be able to teleport! Because I miss my family all the time when I travel and that way I could do both, even for one second!
An advice for young artists trying to make a living out of their passion?
Just to take their time and figure out who they are and what they want to share with people.
So Brusselsprouts… how do you have yours?
I like them seared. Love them like that.