Charlotte Cardin is on track to having her biggest year yet. The electro jazz-pop singer has been nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at next month’s Juno Awards. Along the way, she has performed at Osheaga—an experience she calls “surreal”, having attended for years growing up in Montréal—and Festival d’été de Québec where she opened for Sting and Peter Gabriel. More recently, she has been touring behind her EPs Big Boy (Cult Nation Records, 2016) and Main Girl (Sony Music, 2017). Through this past September and October, she supported Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), and she’s been on tour with BØRNS since January. This spring, Cardin will headline her own dates.
Prior to her full-time career in music, Cardin modelled in fashion which afforded her pocket money and freedom to work on her art. She also competed on the first season of La Voix, a francophone Canadian version of The Voice. But being on television, like modelling, was never her passion. “I never really felt that much pressure when I was on TV. For me, there’s something a lot more real about what I’m doing right now.” She feels more pressure performing her own music, something she’s invested in, something much more personal and honest. “It feels much more like I’m showing a real part of myself rather than just singing in front of a lot of people.” Cardin emphasises, though: “I don’t pressure myself that much, and I love what I’m doing, and I enjoy it so much that I don’t really feel a lot of stress.”
Modelling came with another perk: the opportunity to travel. Although Cardin travels more often as a musician, modelling frequently took her to one of her favourite places. “Paris is my favourite city after Montréal. When I was modelling—and with music—I got to go to Paris a lot. And so I think Paris is the most inspiring place. For me, at least.”
Fiction plays an integral part in Cardin’s music. As much as she enjoys romanticizing biographical details or at least narrative details she can relate to, she also enjoys making listeners wonder about the truth. “I think there’s always something real and something that’s very close to me in whatever I write. There’s always a part of truth in the lyrics even if it’s not necessarily a story about me.” But she takes greater inspiration from the quiet moments of life than from specific works of art. “I’ll get inspired by someone sitting alone on a bench in a park eating a sandwich, and I’ll invent a life for this person.”
Cardin has become known for her music videos—for the stories they tell and for their exquisite cinematography. For “Main Girl”, she and her film team travelled to Iceland where they shot every day for six to seven days. “We saw the most breathtaking landscapes I had ever seen.” The YouTube credits for “The Kids” show just how much human power was involved. Director Kristof Brandl envisioned something of a short film. “He really wanted it to be a full story with different periods in this kid’s life. It’s the whole process of [the kid] growing up in a super poisonous environment,” Cardin explains. The result is the most extensively produced video in her catalogue. “We’re so happy with how it turned out, and we’ve gotten really nice feedback about it.”
Despite the complementary titles, Big Boy and Main Girl were written during different stages in her life. Yet upon Big Boy’s release, she had already recorded a few songs for Main Girl. “They sort of follow the same themes, and they have the same kind of vibes, so in that regard, they’re for sure maybe siblings.” Think of them as varying perspectives.
An air of coolness pervades Charlotte Cardin’s music and videos, whether they’re shot in chilly Iceland or depict her and her friends hanging out in Montréal’s hip, creative Mile End neighbourhood. How well she can keep her cool if she wins at the Junos remains to be seen, but now that she’s doing what’s true to her, she’s more ready than ever to take on the pressure.
The meaning of Jazz Cartier’s Fleurever is rooted in duality. In the two years since his sophomore mixtape, Hotel Paranoia, the artist has had to “[battle] the balances of love and money, risks and rewards, right and wrong, or living and dying”, alongside coming to terms with the throes of wealth and fame. Subsequently Fleurever—or, as he calls it, his “third project”—explores Cartier’s personal growth in the years following. With his newfound maturity in tow, Toronto’s rising rap star is on course to start a music revolution—well, that’s the idea anyway. Georgie caught up with Cartier to talk about gratitude, the rapper’s personal transformation, and the driving force behind Fleurever. G—Can you tell us a bit about your latest album Fleurever and the inspiration behind it? JC—Most of the inspiration came from growth, and a bit from my departure from Toronto. A lot of the record was made in my last days in Toronto, and just having that cloud over my head and knowing that I’d be leaving soon—it was more so showing my affection for the city that pretty much shaped my sound. G—Did you have a vision in mind when you started writing this album? JC—For the most part Fleurever is just myself and my
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our