Charlotte Day Wilson: June R & B / Hip-Hop Rookie
In addition to the most recent song releases before his debut album, ALPHAWilson is increasingly voicing her own identity as a queer woman and channeling her art as a way to center the LGBTQ + community. The visual for Wilson’s latest single, “Keep Moving,” highlights queer and trans people dancing, motorcycling, loving and shamelessly existing.
“To have Tynomi Banks, a Drag race an elder who is so proud and comfortable in her identity; Dykes on Bikes too, âexplains Wilson. âThey are so self-sufficient in themselves and seeing that they also empower other LGBTQIA + people. “
Wilson was about to come out ALPHA last year, but when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, plans changed. âIt was a blessing in disguise,â Wilson said, still positive. “I realized that [the album] has not been done before. âWith an additional year of development, Wilson will release ALPHA July 9.
The unsigned multiswitch spoke with Billboard about creating safe spaces as a producer, embracing her identity through her art and where her soulful voice comes from.
There is a lot of soul and emotion in your voice that people are surprised when they see you. Where is that from ?
When I was young, my father played mostly black music. We had these conversations around the house [and] he would say, “Black music is the best music.” My favorite thing was Motown, Aretha [Franklin], and old soul music. I also like a lot of other kinds of music. So it’s a difficult question to answer, because I don’t know where my voice is coming from. It’s just an amalgamation of a lifelong lover of soul, R&B and folk music.
Your words are so rich in images. What’s your songwriting process like?
Sounds a bit hokey, but I don’t have an answer because I feel like I’m a vessel for things to flow and I’m not necessarily thinking about how things should sound or what I’m trying to say. It’s strange because I’m more of a calm person. I really don’t like public speaking; words are not always my friends. And then when I sing, for whatever reason, I find that clarity when I mix words with melodies. I find that I am able to communicate ideas that I cannot communicate without music.
So do you do a lot of freestyle? It’s crazy.
Yeah, pretty much everything.
Which musicians or albums influence you the most as an artist?
I’m heavily influenced by the R&B of the 90s and early 2000s. I feel like I shouldn’t say it, and I recognize how problematic Chris Brown is, but when I was a kid his first three albums were my shit. This is what I discovered. The music is in me.
Something people might not know is that you produce all of your own music and want to produce for others as well. How does it feel to navigate that as a woman? What do you hope to bring to your sessions with other women?
When I work with another [woman] artist, and helping them produce, I’m so aware of all my experiences with men that didn’t make the space welcoming or comfortable. In the sessions where the men don’t know that I play a lot of instruments, and that I produce, I already enter with my back to the wall. I feel like I have something to prove and ultimately it’s because of [those] bad experiences. I’m talking about software and plugins and which ones I think you should use on my voice just to prove something. It is a psychological process, because you are aware of how someone might perceive you at that time. At the same time, you try to appear nice.
It’s just this crazy balance that we do as women in every space. It’s exhausting. It is not conducive to artistic creation. So when I work with other women my number one priority is to make sure that the artist feels very comfortable and that I give them the utmost attention and that every little part of the process is sensitive and careful. It’s something that we do naturally as women and that we want to translate into these creative spaces. It’s super conducive to artistic creation, because the space just needs to feel really safe.
What’s your favorite collaboration lately?
I think the coolest one recently was James Blake; he interpolated my song “Falling Apart”. It was really cool because I’m a huge fan. James thought it was an old soul record, then he found out it was my song. When I heard her voice singing my melodies and lyrics, it was like an out-of-body experience.
Your recent single “Keep Moving” comes with a really compelling visual. What is the inspiration behind the track?
âKeep movingâ reflects the strength and resilience needed to move forward; let go to focus on the future. I think it’s hard to find who you are, to find pride in focusing on everything that hurts you in the past. This fearless portrayal is integral, for me, for my queer friends, for everyone, and helps us all move forward on our own journeys to find pride.
How has it been to be more open about your gender identity over the past few years?
[Before] I was not as comfortable or confident in my identity as a queer woman. I also didn’t want to classify myself like that earlier in my career. I wanted to be seen as just an artist, neutral in a way. Now that I’m a little older, more confident, and more established as an artist, I think it’s an important thing for me to tell these stories, to be open about who I sing about, and to use those pronouns. . I think the queer community loves it. I don’t know what the straights feel about this. I haven’t really looked at them. [laughs]
You have been independent from the start and this decision seems intentional. Would you ever sign to a label?
Coming from Toronto, there is definitely an independent mentality. The labels that I spoke with, there were a lot and very good labels like, the ones that I would do it with if I ever had to make a deal, they approached me, but I have a very strong team. with which I ‘I have built around myself that I really feel capable of doing what I want to do and achieving the goals that I have without having to sign a contract with a major at this point in my career.
Do you have any advice for emerging independent artists?
There is so much you can do on a budget. I think the best art comes from a place where there isn’t a lot of money going in and out. This is a stage in his career that you really have to immerse yourself in because of this independence, this freedom of creation and the absence of pressure from outside parties. My advice would be to enjoy this part of the process.
What can you tell us about your first album, ALPHA?
This album is my baby. I really took my time with it. I had planned to release it a year ago. When the pandemic struck, she put the brakes on that plan. But it was a blessing in disguise, as it gave me almost a full extra year to work on music. And as I continued to work on it, I realized it hadn’t been done before. It’s not one of those chicken and egg situations where it’s never done. I knew at one point, it was done. It’s deeply personal. I talk about some things that I have only told my therapist and my closest friends. It is me and my life, my love and my desire that has been my life for the past three years.
What’s next for Charlotte Day Wilson?
My goals are definitely to keep making my own music, but one important thing that I get into is producing for other people. This is the most exciting thing for me. I really, really like doing it. This is something that I will be spending quite a bit of time doing next year.