Introducing Charlotte Cardin, an up-and-coming Canadian pop sensation

You want original? You’ve got it right here.

French Canadian musician Charlotte Cardin is taking the nation by storm with her addictive love songs which blend electronic, jazz and hip-hop music into an unforgettable fusion of pop goodness — a sure treat for the ears.

The rising pop star is already considered one of Montreal’s best with two Juno nominations under her belt. She has released two EPs, Big Boy (2016) and Main Girl (2017), each certified Gold in Canada from spawning a variety of must-hear hits.

Charlotte Cardin live at REBEL in Toronto on Feb. 11, 2018.

Cardin’s hard work and dedication to songwriting launched her career in 2013 where she became a finalist on La Voix (or The Voice). Following an extensive North American tour supporting indie pop icon, BØRNS, she earned a name for herself and embarked on a number of her own headlining tours, thus launching her into a Canadian household name.

She didn’t stop there either. Cardin just returned from a six-date headlining tour across Europe in support of her brand new single, Double Shifts, all before beginning a Canadian tour to end off the year with a bang. She promises her debut album will arrive in the spring too. Does she ever rest?

Cardin sat down with Global News before her show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto to share some exclusive details on the new album, her favourite band, and why she thinks it’s important to experiment with new music before releasing it.

Global News: You just finished up your European tour, how did it go?
Charlotte Cardin: It went incredibly well. It was so much fun. We played six shows over 10 days. The crowds were absolutely amazing, we weren’t expecting so many people to show up! It’s always a really nice surprise when you don’t know exactly what the atmosphere is going to be like and then you get there and people are welcoming you with open arms. That’s how we felt throughout the whole tour, so it was a really incredible experience.

Where are you at right now with your career?
It’s weird because we’re not promoting anything specific right now. We’ve really just been playing lots of shows, but we are getting ready to release the debut album, hopefully early next year, which is super exciting. We are playing a lot of new stuff though and kind of testing the waters. [Laughs] It’s so nice just to keep playing shows.

I feel like the band and I have grown so much together from all this touring. Our dynamic is stronger than ever right now. Ultimately, playing new stuff is what we’re really excited about right now, but we can’t wait for the Canadian tour to start this week! We’re starting in Toronto on Friday at the Danforth.

Are you noticing your fanbase grow the more you tour?
Yes, which is definitely encouraging. [Laughs] Obviously our fanbase in Quebec is the biggest because we’ve been around for a longer time, especially in Montreal. Just last week, when we were in Europe, all of our shows were sold out. We played to 1,200 people in Paris. We’ve been noticing that more and more, people are showing up to these shows.

It’s really encouraging when you work so hard for it. Specifically, when you haven’t released anything in a while. [Laughs] But we’re hard at work writing on the road while we travel. It’s nice to see that people are still interested in our music while we prepare the album.

But you have a new single, right?
Oh yes! [Laughs] We’ve been so busy with touring and experimenting new material. But Double Shifts just came out at the end of the month. It’s basically a song about working hard to get someone you really like. It’s the image of putting in that extra time for something that’s worth it and ultimately being rewarded for your efforts.

Will that be a prevalent theme in the upcoming album?
I basically only ever write about relationships. [Laughs] So for sure, yeah! But not only romantic relationships, it could be anything. How people interact is really fascinating to me, so I write about that a lot. Most of the time, I end up turning them into love stories — it’s just the most inspiring thing to me. Those stories just don’t get old in my opinion.

Do these songs come from personal experiences?
They definitely come from personal memories, but there’s also a lot of fiction in there too. Other people’s stories as well; I mean sometimes, I like stealing my friends’ secrets and writing songs about them. [Laughs] Nah, I could just see a couple fighting on the street, not knowing the context and I’ll just write a story about it as if I actually knew what was going on. Sometimes, little glimpses into other people’s lives are so fascinating to me. That’s why I write about love a lot.

Are you feeling overwhelmed with how quickly your career has progressed?
Not really, because I don’t think it’s gone too crazy just yet. It’s not as if people are recognizing me on the streets, [Laughs] at least not outside of Quebec. In Montreal, sure, but it’s always approached in such a respectful way. I’ve never been harassed or experienced it where people can be overwhelming. My fans have been super respectful towards me and just amazing in general. They’ll come over, say ‘hi’ and thank me for my music, which is always so nice to hear. But I’m no Justin Bieber, I don’t get attacked [Laughs].

Is it gratifying to see the results of your hard work?
Definitely! I notice it when people come and talk to us and tell us how they feel about a certain song. It’s so nice and I feel it’s so important to meet the people who are actually listening to the music and establish that connection. It keeps you grounded and helps inspire new material.

What have you taken away from the touring lifestyle?
So much! Earlier this year when we opened up for BØRNS, we did 22 shows within a month. It was really intense, but it was a great experience. It was actually our first time having a tour bus, which was really fun. [Laughs] But I feel like we really learned a lot because of that tour. We had a bunch of different situations involving new challenges which needed to be confronted. I think as a team, we felt like we really grew from that experience. I’ll never forget it.

Charlotte Cardin ‘Double Shifts’ publicity shoot in 2018.

You dabbled in modelling before your breakthrough. Was music always your first priority?
Music was always there. It’s funny because people always ask about the modelling, but it was only a student job for me — it was never something I actually wanted to pursue. It just sort of happened and I was really glad I did it. It was an easy way to make some money as a teenager.

Music has been there since I was a kid and I never had to choose between the two, although I didn’t think it was possible to make music for a living. Once I realized it was my main passion, I focused on it. That’s when it actually happened and I got really lucky. Ending up on La Voix (The Voice) really opened up those doors for me. But I did work hard for them. It paid off.

Do you remember why you started to write music at such a young age?
There was always music around my house, but I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it. My sister studied classical so you could always hear that throughout the house. My Dad was a huge rock ’n’ roll fan and my Mom even played the piano. Music was everywhere. But they had nothing to do with it. I honestly think it was just to challenge myself. I’d write little lullaby-type things for my own personal enjoyment and it went from there.

Can you tell us some of your musical influences?
Radiohead is probably the biggest one for me. I would love to cover something by them. I’ve always wanted to cover House of Cards. That’s such a beautiful song. I think how it is for everybody, my music influences show a little in my own music. Not that I could compare my own music to Radiohead. [Laughs] It’s different, but when you listen to a lot of different genres, it finds its way in there, whether it’s subtle or not.

You’ve been compared to Amy Winehouse before as well. What are your thoughts?
It’s a really nice compliment, that’s for sure. Funnily enough, I’ve never been an active Amy Winehouse listener. I mean, I love her music and I know the hits, they’re amazing. But, I could never say she’s in my top 10 list of musicians, that’d be lying. I don’t hear the similarities myself, but I’m glad to hear such an amazing compliment. [Laughs] I mean it!

What can new fans expect from your live show?
We’re there to play new music because it’s something we love to do. It makes it that much more special because you get instant feedback right there and then. It pretty much decides what’s good and what’s not so good. I mean, I know when I’m at a show, I love to hear new stuff. So I wanted to translate that into my own show. There’s no dual motive or anything behind our performance, we just want to have fun and share what we’ve created. There’s no costumes or divas — it’s straightforward because it’s all about the music really. [Laughs] We just hope that people enjoy themselves.

Charlotte Cardin live at REBEL in Toronto on Feb. 11, 2018.

What should your fans be looking forward to next?
We’ll actually be releasing a new single in the next few weeks. Other than that, we want to keep up our live dynamic and continue playing shows as we finish the album. There’s so much momentum with these live shows, I can’t express that enough, it’s such an incredible feeling. We’re really excited to release the album in the spring. [Laughs] We hope you like it!

As of this writing, there is no slated date for the debut Charlotte Cardin album, however, updates are available on her official website.

Double Shifts is now available to stream worldwide.

Charlotte Cardin Canadian tour 2018

Nov. 30 — Toronto, Ont.
Dec. 6 — Drummondville, Que.
Dec. 8 — Victoriaville, Que.
Dec. 9 — L’Assomption, Que.
Dec. 10 — Brossard, Que.
Dec. 12 — Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
Dec. 13 — Rivière-du-Loup, Que.
Dec. 14 — Ville de Saguenay, Que.
Dec. 17 — Gatineau, Que.
Dec. 18 — Trois-Rivières, Que.
Dec. 19 — Saint-Jérôme, Que.
Dec. 20 — Granby, Que.

[This interview has been edited and condensed.]

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