IN CONVERSATION WITH CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE
Singer/songwriter and actress Charlotte Lawrence just released her second single ‘Boys Like You’ from her upcoming album, which will showcase a re-discovering of her voice, her style and her story all poured into a vulnerable place. Charlotte will also be seen in AppleTV+’s series ‘Bad Monkey’ opposite Vince Vaughn, Jodi Turner-Smith and Michelle Monaghan.
Charlotte, you just released your second single ‘Boys Like You’ from your upcoming album. The song is an honest exploration of your queer experience. Tell us more about the single and what inspired you to speak about this in a song.
The song is inspired by my life and experiences, as all songs I write are. I think I can say that for all girls-who-like-girls, it’s very hard to tell whether a girl is flirting with you or not. Girl friends have a way of showing love that’s different than maybe a guys’ way, in my opinion. Sometimes we love and kiss and hug and touch in a solely ‘I love you as a friend’ sort of way. This song is about the confusion of feeling something towards someone who plays with the idea of it, maybe sends mixed signals or leads you on in one way or the other, but doesn’t actually want you more than just a friend. It’s honestly just a fun, innocent song about having a crush on someone, that realization of “Wow, I’m into this person who doesn’t even like girls”. Some people are special and flirty and filled with love to give. It’s all light-hearted and fun. Sometimes a crush is just a crush.
Why is it important for artists to speak up about these topics in their work?
I just believe it’s important for artists to be honest. If you’re not being honest, what’s the point. All the artists I gravitate towards have something to say. And sometimes that something is just vulnerability. The point of music is to make you feel, to relate, to enjoy, in any capacity. I always want to write from the most true, most ‘me’ and just most human perspective I can come from. I want to be able to make people laugh, cry, dance and go “Wow, I’ve felt that same thing, I’m not alone in this”. If even one person can relate to a song I’ve made like I’ve related to other artists, I’ve won.
Your upcoming album will showcase a re-discovering of your voice, your style and your story all poured into a vulnerable place. How will this EP differ from your previous work? What inspired it?
I believe your art should grow alongside you, the artist. The album is completely inspired by pain, deep love, curiosity, bliss, adulthood, the feelings I’ve felt and experiences I’ve had whilst writing it. I never plan what I’m going to write before I write it. I walk into a studio or pick up a guitar and write exactly what I feel in that moment. It’s my favorite therapy. I feel like with this album I’ve finally begun to make music solely for me, not for anyone else. I pray that people love it and can feel affected by it in any way, but at the end of the day, I wrote it for myself. On a basic level, the album is much more alternative than the last EPs. To me it feels more musical, more raw and unequivocally free.
Your first single from the album, ‘Bodybag’, was featured in an episode of AppleTV+’s series ‘Shrinking’. How does it feel to have your music featured in a TV project?
It felt absolutely wonderful. I feel so grateful to have been included, even in the tiniest way, in such a monster of a show. What I mean by monster is that ‘Shrinking’ is my favorite show of the past decade. I love it so much, I’ll never stop speaking about it. Hearing ‘Bodybag’ in such a vulnerable scene truly added another meaning to the song in my opinion. It allowed me to look at it differently, experience the pain of the wonderful Lukita, Alice in the show, vs. only remembering my own while listening to the song. It’s the coolest thing in the world and I am utterly indebted to my family and the magnificent crew of people and music supervisors who pushed and allowed that to happen.
You grew up playing piano from an early age and also got into playing guitar in your teenage years. How important do you believe playing instruments is growing up? How has it impacted your childhood and teenage years?
I think it’s the most important thing. I think implementing art onto your children from a young age is important. Art makes the world go round and I believe everyone can find something they love on a creative level. I would not be a musician today if it weren’t for my parents forcing me to take piano lessons. I found my spark through learning at such a young age and feel so lucky I did. Whether it’s an instrument, a paintbrush, a notebook, a camera or a science class, I’m going to allow my future child the freedom of choosing what they would love to explore on a creative level and I’m going to make them practice. Whether it becomes what they want to do for the rest of their lives or just a hobby, expressing yourself through any form of art, no matter how small or obscure, is such a vital tool of growing up. I honestly want to start back guitar lessons again.
You have fallen in love with a wider array of instrumentation-based live music. How important is the instrumental part in your own music? How do you like to include it into your songs?
I’m obsessed with live instruments. I love a song that feels like a band came together and played together and bounced off of each other and made something magical in the moment. Whether that’s exactly what happened or just what it feels like, I love that harmonious matrimony of sounds. I tried to implement live instruments into every song on this album. Live guitars, live drums, piano, etc. Real people, sometimes myself, playing real instruments. It’s just what my ears love. Every song, whether it turns out acoustic or turns into a pop song like ‘Boys Like You’, starts with just one instrument. More often than not, a guitar.
You write your own songs. What kind of music do you most enjoy writing? How did you discover what makes you enjoy it the most?
My favorite music to write is the sad stuff. I love writing a heartbreak song. It makes me feel alive. My favorite music growing up was always leaning sadder. Bon Iver, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Jeff Buckley. I gravitate towards deep dark emotional songs that just feel like anchors are pulling down your heart strings. I do enjoy writing fun songs, don’t get me wrong, but my heart lies in the sad ones.
In your career so far, you’ve collaborated with artists like Alesso and Kasade. Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Ben Gibbard, Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers (4ever), Fiona Apple, Daft Punk, Sufjan Stevens, Kevin Parker. I could probably go on forever. I love collaborating. And I just love music so much.
This year we’ll also see you in AppleTV+’s series ‘Bad Monkey’. What can you share with us about your acting experience in this series, its story and your character?
It was the best experience ever. It was my first ever acting experience and it felt so challenging and so new in the best way possible. I worked so hard and I feel proud of myself for my dedication. I didn’t realize how passionate I was about acting. It felt like a whole other world of emotional expression. To work alongside the best of the best was an unheard of, insanely lucky and phenomenal treat that I will never forget or ever take for granted.
I learned more than I’ve ever learned in my life each day on that set. From the actors to the writers to the directors to the entire crew, everyone was on their A game. Everyone had such an insane talent and passion. I was absolutely blown away. It was so fun to dive into Caitlin. She is dark and twisted, funny and smart, grown up yet childlike. She resonated with me in many ways and I couldn’t have had more fun. That being said, I would not have gotten the job without my father. He’s a huge part of the TV show and allowed me the chance to prove myself worthy of this opportunity. I loved working with him so much, he is my hero, and I hope I didn’t let him down.
Charlotte, besides working on your upcoming album, what else can your fans expect in 2023?
Album time, touring time, ‘Bad Monkey’ TV show time, dog time, friends time, love time, life. I’m going to work my bum off and give all my love to those I want to. And maybe move somewhere weird or cut all my hair off or learn to play the drums, who knows.
interview by JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
talent Charlotte Lawrence @charlottelawrence
photography David Vassalli @davidvassalli
styling Siena Montesano @sienamontesano
makeup Carly Fisher @carlyy.fisher
hair Scott King @scottkinghair
photography assistant Anthony Banuelos @anthonyban_
styling assistants Kelsey Douglas & Lauren Gray @kdougieeee @_laurengray_
editor Timi Letonja @timiletonja
location Santa Monica Proper Hotel @santamonicaproper