Béatrice Martin, also known as Coeur de Pirate, is done with the blame game. Alongside the release of her latest album, Roses – her first written in both French and English – comes a newfound maturity for this 25-year-old Québécois chanteuse. “I was so busy pointing the finger at other people in my previous records. I saw music as a means to get back at people and that wasn’t smart.”
With over one million records sold, Martin has spent the majority of the last decade growing up in the public eye, having experienced her fair share of toxic relationships, finding true love and becoming a parent along the way. Indeed, life looks very different now for Martin than it did in 2008, when she made her solo debut. “Becoming a parent, as corny as it sounds, does shape you as an artist and a songwriter,” she explains. “It definitely helped me clean up my act and push away whatever negativity I had before.”
Writing in English wasn’t without its challenges for Martin. “I had one song, ‘Oceans Brawl’, that was in English. I realized I couldn’t have just one song in English, so I wrote a couple more. I didn’t know if they were any good, though. I had to get them proofread just to make sure my poetry was alright.”
But the truth is, whether you speak English, French or something different altogether, Martin’s haunting vocals and skills as a pianist allow her to effortlessly transcend language barriers. And Roses is no exception. Featuring lush arrangements and evocative, almost cinematographic production, it’s arguably her boldest, most captivating effort to date.
It’s also her first release in nearly four years – and Martin’s legions of fans are already looking forward to what she’ll do next. “I’d like to integrate more dancehall rhythms to what I’m doing, but keeping the piano. I’ll see where that goes,” she says, laughing. “I’m open.”
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack
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
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad