My Inspiration: Charlotte Grayson – Grow | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Charlotte Grayson is a Singer-Songwriter from Hartlepool, who today releases her debut album, Grow, via Shy Bairn Records. The album, recorded with a band and mixed, mastered and produced by Mark Aubrey (who has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Bloc Party and Elastica), is a collection of songs not afraid to embrace a wide variety of genres whilst still staying true to Charlotte’s unique brand of musical storytelling. 

Charlotte, who will be performing a Live Stream session via The Georgian Theatre’s Facebook page on Saturday 16th May (7:30pm), tells us more about what inspired the album…

When we recorded this album, I had 14 songs which we wanted to record. We did so in a week-long intensive studio session at White Wolf Studios with absolutely no pre-production. It was an ambitious goal that was definitely hard work but we did it. All of the band were session musicians at the time but are now part of my full-time band. This meant that all of their parts were written in the studio, and so we truly just formed this album within the week we had. The band consisted of Kai Bowes on percussion, Ian Harrison on lead guitar and backing vocals and Ed Leighton on bass. I also called upon the JaDES for some backing vocals and also on my grandad to play some lovely sleazy harmonica. I really love getting lots of people involved in the recording process because they each bring their own unique style and ideas and without every single person’s input, the album would not be what it is today. Once the recording was done, we were desperately trying to get it mastered which proved incredibly difficult due to the distinct lack of any pre-production. When we realised how long we had been mixing the tracks we passed them onto Mark Aubrey to do the mastering and thus, the album was ready.

The cover was also shot a while ago which is why my forehead is still visible. Howy White, who has now become a firm friend (along with Amanda), and myself travelled to a relative’s abandoned house to take some promo shots and when these came back we knew that one of them had to be the cover for the album. We spent a while figuring out how to make the lighting work and rearranging props around me. In total, I spent over an hour sat in my old prom dress on dirty steps next to a nest of spiders. Was a very pleasant day.

The album is entirely based about real-life events which I have experienced or witnessed first-hand. The common theme in the album truly is growth as I feel that every experience I share within the album has taught me something that has allowed me to become a better person. A lot of the songs centre around relationships or breakups but each focuses on a unique situation or perspective. One of my favourites within this category is a song called Grow Old which is a love song written about somebody who simultaneously makes you feel very young and also makes you look forward to the future. On the other side of this songs such as Sorry and All You Had To Do focus on breakups where you feel the other person was at fault. All of these are relatable to many people and can be interpreted to many situations. A couple of songs on the album focus more on self-reflection. Tip Toe is an apology from me to a partner who I basically just threw all my negativity at because I knew he wouldn’t leave. I realised that it wasn’t fair and so this song was born. What I Mean is also me looking at myself and all my issues and knowing that one day someone will accept all of them but due to these issues I will probably push them away anyway. Again I feel like these are very relatable and hopefully might encourage people to realise some of their less desirable habits. Drunk Girls and My Side Of The Street, however, cast social commentary onto events I have experienced. That is where the similarities end. Drunk Girls focuses on the friendships made in nightclub toilets whilst drunk and how for those few minutes, you are truly loved. My Side of the Street was originally written for only my family to hear as it pokes direct fun at a lot of neighbours in our street. The stories are all entirely true but it turns out they are also much more widespread than I realised. Despite the very specific stories I included, many, many people have told me at gigs that their street is exactly the same or they have very similar stories to share. The final couple of songs of the album are written about friendships gone wrong. More specifically they focus on friends who seemed to see me as competition more than a friend. People and Agree to Disagree were written about the same situation but with two different people. Despite the similarities in situation, I felt entirely differently about them. One made me laugh, but one made me very angry. I think this is conveyed in how I wrote the songs.

Since recording this album, I have continued writing more and more songs and have been creating demos which I send to Mark for pre-production (you only make that mistake once) and I cannot wait to be able to record them all. I am so grateful to anyone who was involved in the album in any way at all: from the band to Ian at White Wolf, to Mark, to Ed, to Howy White for the photography and Brian Barnes for the design. It was a group effort and it would not have been possible without them all. I hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as I enjoyed making it. 


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