Today’s Feature, December 5th-6th: Charlotte Sometimes

December 7, 2007 at 12:04 am (Today's Feature)

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She’s sometimes angry, sometimes sad. Sometimes aggressive, sometimes bad. She’s Charlotte Sometimes, and she’s hard to figure out. From her style to her music, Charlotte defines her own individuality. Growing up in Wall, New Jersey, Charlotte has blended dark poetry, dance beats and indie folk into songs like “Sweet Valium High,” a different yet brilliant take on the dynamics between women and men.

The name itself, Charlotte Sometimes, comes from a children’s book written in 1969 by Penelope Farmer about a precocious boarding school student who finds herself transported 40 years into the past, into the body of another girl. The character works for Charlotte – she can “relate to the feeling of being stuck somewhere having to pretend to be someone else.” The music on her debut full-length album, “1918: Waves and the Both of Us,” reflects that same “idea of uncertainty.”

The release works in a variety of ways – Charlotte wants “listeners and especially young women to know they don’t have to listen to cheesy dance music about humping some dude to be able to dance and get into music.” She also wants you to notice that the record bends and twists throughout and that there is a definite sense of urgency in the album’s lyrics; ones that cannot be denied. They’ll get into you, leap from your stereo, grab your throat and make you listen and understand the sincerity behind each word. Give “How I Could Kill a Man” a listen, and you’ll understand.

At a live performance, Charlotte Sometimes is dominant, “flippant and seductive.” She ensures that there is an “emotional connection in each and every word and in each and every note.” After all, as she puts it, “what’s the point in music? Music is supposed to transport you somewhere. It’s supposed to make you feel connected to something. I would hope that I’m making a connection with people because if not, it’s almost like masturbating when it comes to music. That’s fun, but sex is better.” Get out to a show and see the rest of the band (Coley, Spencer, Chris and Shaun), and check out the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Charlotte Sometimes

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get started in music?

Charlotte Sometimes: I’ve been singing since before I could talk (ask my family they never could shut me up!) I was into musical theater and did competitive dancing until I was 14/15 and decided mentally I needed something a little more intimate and I wanted to turn my poetry into songs, so I picked up a guitar and started playing shows within that year.

PEV: Growing up in Wall, New Jersey, who were you listening to growing up? Who were some of your earlier inspirations?

CS: When I first started I was listening to Jewel, Van Morrison, Fiona Apple, and I was obsessed with Michelle Branch. I used to get so angry because everyone thought I sounded like her. Wall, is very jam band town so I had to search for music through friends and the internet. My high school boyfriend got me into all the indie music and brought me to basement shows… he helped me expand my tastes.

PEV: Was there a certain time when you said to yourself, “Music is going to be a career for me?

CS: Since I was three probably, haha. When I picked up the guitar I was determined to make it work. Watch out!

PEV: Who are you listening to now? Who is on your iPod or in your CD player, currently?

CS: I’ve been listening to Rogue Wave and Of Montreal a lot. At the moment I have early Bob Dylan playing in the background…. Oh, and I just downloaded ambient music to help me sleep! *fingers crossed it works!

PEV: You borrowed the name, Charlotte Sometimes, from a children’s book about a precocious boarding school student who finds herself transported 40 years into the past, into the body of another girl. How did you come about that book and deciding on taking on that name?

CS: That book was from my childhood. My middle name is also Charlotte, and I thought it was interesting. After completing the album, I realized that my music and just me personally could relate to the feeling of being stuck somewhere having to pretend to be someone else while having to try to get back to the person I really am. I think the music on this album really reflects that whole idea of uncertainty.

PEV: What was the first live Charlotte Sometimes performance like? What was going through your head?

CS: Well my first performance, I wasn’t nervous at all I just wanted to get up there… now that I am older and I am playing with my band I have horrible performance anxiety! Before I get on stage I want to run away, but as soon as I am up there it’s the best place in the world.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Charlotte Sometimes show?

CS: The music is a lot more organic, but it’s still got beats and edge. It’s very funny and sarcastic. A lot more in your face and I got 4 boys in my band that the girls seem to find pleasing to the eye.

PEV: Tell us about your debut full-length album, 1918: Waves and the Both of Us. What do you want people to take away from that?

CS: That’s a really tough question, however I think if anything I want them to know they are listening to a sincere record. I want listeners and especially young women to know they don’t have to listen to cheesy dance music about humping some dude to be able to dance and get into music. Instead dance to my record while screaming on the top of your lungs how your boyfriend sucks!

PEV: On the album, you talk about relationships, love, even a reference to Cypress Hill on “How I Could Kill a Man”. How is the writing on this album different that lyrics found on any other music out today?

CS: I think my lyrics are different because I am not thinking about what people want to hear or trying to make a hit. I write music because I am crazy and need to get out how I feel… so I think you can feel the urgency in my lyrics. I think sometimes bands are so concerened with lyrics they either become trite or to thought out. I try not to think about that too much.

PEV: When you sit down to write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

CS: It really could be any environment… But it usually is me in my room reflecting on something.. but sometimes I just write in front of people because I need to get it out asap(that can be weird sometimes).

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

Everyone is really supportive. My family couldn’t be happier and I try not to surround myself with negative people.

PEV: In all your traveling and performing, which city has been your favorite to play and why?

San Francisco, I think. The audience is always really welcoming and happy that they get to see a live show period. I’d go back anyday!

PEV: How is life on the road for you? What are the best and worse parts?

CS: I am not the best on the road to believe it or not. My favorite part of music is writing and recording. I love to perform but it’s a challenge to be in a different city everyday in a van with 4 smelly boys! The best part is having a family of brothers I can depend on and watching them be idiots. It’s also amazing to reach out to new people everyday. The worst part is traveling and not sleeping. I have trouble with that whole sleeping thing.

PEV: With recording that album and performing, how has the last year been for you?

CS: It’s been a crazy one. I went from being in college for a semester to recording an album, to living with a bf, to making him my ex and getting my own apartment, to traveling the country! Can we slow down? Didn’t think so…

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist today that you think we should all be listening to?

CS: There is this band called The Gay Blades. They are amazing!! Listen and love!

PEV: If you could collaborate or share the stage with one artist today, who would it be and why?

CS: Ben Gibbard. I want to marry him obviously ha… He is so talented I would be honored to breathe in the same room as him.

PEV: What is one thing fans would be surprised to hear about Charlotte Sometimes?

CS: I don’t think anything is really that surprising. I am crazy but I am really more of a homebody that likes to write poetry!

PEV: When you have a chance to kick back and relax, what can we find you doing?

CS: I love to read and hangout with my girlfriends in New York. I love a good coffee on a day off while I people watch in my neighborhood. PEV: What one word best describes Charlotte Sometimes?

CS: It’s that there isn’t one word…

PEV: So, what is next for Charlotte Sometimes?

CS: I will continue touring and taking over the world… duh!

For more information on Charlotte Sometimes, check out www.CharlotteSometimesMusic.com

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