Posted Nov 13, 2021
(New York) Thursday afternoon, in Brooklyn, the awning of the Music Hall of Williamsburg announces in large letters the concert sold out by Charlotte Cardin. The 650-seat hall in New York’s trendy district was still almost empty when we arrived, but already, on stage and behind the scenes, the singer’s team was preparing for tonight’s show.
Around 3:30 p.m., Charlotte arrives in turn. In an outfit between casual and chic – cotton sweater, jeans and Stan Smith shoes enhanced with gold jewelry – she takes the time to contemplate the place. A well-felt “holy shit” testifies to his enthusiasm when discovering the room for the first time.
The Music Hall, which she will later describe, with good reason, as a “room akin to Club Soda”, is the ideal place to launch her five-show tour of the United States. “It’s the kind of room where you can create intimate moments, but where you also feel that crowd effect. It’s been a long time since we played a show like this, ”says the singer-songwriter.
Before her sound tests, Charlotte welcomes us to her dressing room to discuss this important moment. “We had been looking forward to this day for months. We are so happy that it finally happened, ”she said.
He missed the road. A few years ago, she and her musicians were constantly on tour. “When we stopped, we were no longer capable, we were exhausted,” she says with a sincerity that will color all our exchanges. “But when the pandemic hit, it had already been a year and a half since we had filmed. After this long break, we were just so excited to meet again. »
For this circuit of American shows, “we have a small team”, explains Charlotte. In New York, the reduced committee is made up of its two musicians, Mathieu Sénéchal and Benjamin Courcy, its sound technician, Francis Major, its tour manager, Marco Royal Nicodemo, and its two Cult Nation agents, Laurie Chouinard. and Jason Brando, his great creative accomplice.
These last two are the artisans of a well-crafted operation to lead Charlotte Cardin to the highest peaks. It’s no coincidence that the Montrealer finds herself on stage in New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Los Angeles these days.
The place she is carving out for herself is mainly due to her talent, underline her agents, but also to a plan that requires a lot of effort and logistics.
Since the release of his first album, phoenix, last spring, the doors opened more and more in the already promising career of Charlotte Cardin. The disc quickly ranked first on the Canadian charts when it was released. “Being number one in one of the seven most important territories, it facilitates the storytelling to present the artist internationally”, explains Jason Brando, founder of the record label and management Cult Nation. “This album is a golden business card. »
The phenomenal success in Quebec has not yet been equaled by that beyond our borders, although the enthusiasm there is palpable. “She has fans in the United States, so the goal [de la tournée] is mainly to go see them and make contact with them,” says Brando.
“Charlotte has this naturalness in her voice which, from an almost biological point of view, raises the hair. She has the ability to get a lot of emotions without making a lot of effort, and that’s very rare, he adds. She offers a mix between hypersensitivity and an ability to be cunning in her lyrics. »
From the smallest to the biggest
The break forced by the pandemic has put a spoke in the wheels of the artist, whose aims outside Quebec have been slowed down.
We are not backing down, but we are somewhat at the same stage as three years ago. To develop a new territory, you have to be present on the spot, and there, that was not possible.
Laurie Chouinard, co-agent who has been working on Charlotte Cardin’s project since 2018
In the United States, after doing the first parts a few years ago, then a solo tour of small venues, we are now aiming for bigger stages. We will then come back to the charge with participation in festivals. “It’s a continuous work, it’s really step by step,” says Laurie Chouinard.
At the end of the afternoon, before warming up her voice and polishing the last details of the show, Charlotte tells us that the creation of the second album is already well underway. If the making of phoenix was a deliberately slower process, there’s no question of keeping the audience waiting too long this time around.
“We spent the whole summer in the studio and we’re going to polish it up in December before resuming the tour,” she said, while making tea in her dressing room. It won’t be three and a half years before the next one! We’re not done, but I’m really happy with what we have. In the meantime, she published the edition on Friday deluxe of phoenixon which we find seven new songs, two of which she presents in show.
In the crowd during the concert in Brooklyn, we sang in unison the words of Scorpio Season, extract published only three weeks ago. Moreover, the New York public knew the words of all his plays. No doubt, Charlotte Cardin has a devoted following, even on this side of the border.
Outside the Music Hall in Williamsburg, nearly five hours before the singer took the stage, admirers lined up. Americans Phoebe and Olivia wanted to be in the front row. “I discovered her when she was the first part of Oh Wonder, in 2017,” says Olivia, administrator of an Instagram account dedicated to the singer. The young woman came from Philadelphia to attend the concert in New York and intends to follow her for the two other concerts of the weekend on the East Coast.
Phoebe, she drove from Boston to see Charlotte Cardin on stage. “I had heard his song from The voice on a reading list in 2015 and went to see her in New York the last time she came, she says. I’ve been waiting for her to come back for a long time. What does he like about the work of the Montrealer? “Her voice, her presence on stage, her lyrics and the fact that she is soft, authentic, pleasant, she says, all smiles. I love everything she does. »
Later in the day, we meet a group of four Quebecers, passing through New York to attend the concert. “We love it, we are big fans,” says Céleste Brouillard. “We saw her in Osheaga, and the next day, we decided to buy tickets for New York,” adds Mathieu Roy, just before entering the room.
Charlotte Cardin’s show in pictures
As soon as 9 p.m. strikes, Charlotte goes on stage and sings the first notes of Passive Aggressive – the single who launched the “era phoenix “, at the end of 2020. The clamor of the crowd, compact and agitated, resounds. The New York public welcomes Charlotte Cardin with tremendous fervor.
On stage, the singer is magnetic. Her voice never slips, she impresses with the notes she reaches, always with accuracy. Its quickdraw throws it, it’s a beast of the stage, a real one, but without excess. She presents new songs, also returns to old pieces. In the middle of the show, his fans sing to him happy birthday ; it was her birthday on November 9, and she gave herself an unforgettable gift.
When interpreting Sun Goes Down (Buddy)in the acoustic version, she gives proof of what Jason Brando said about her earlier: it gives goosebumps, we feel the collective thrill that crosses the audience. Anyone Who Loves Mein piano-voice version, makes this moment last.
The singer is also capable of delivering electrifying moments, like when she grabs her guitar during the song phoenix. At her side, her musicians are as solid as she is. After Meaninglessthe raucous encore has them coming back for two more coins.
When she leaves the stage, Charlotte is solicited from all sides. More official meetings with industry artisans, an interview with Twitch, which broadcast the concert live, then the moment of celebration with his collaborators and friends. Everyone is thrilled. In the small box of the Music Hall, we hug and congratulate each other.
“We are really on a high “, Charlotte tells us, a few moments after her performance.
It was so full of energy! Honestly, I’ve rarely had as much fun as I had tonight. The crowd reaction was beyond our expectations, especially since we hadn’t been here for years. It’s really special to see that people listened to the album, knew the lyrics. Couldn’t have started the tour better! »
The musician and her team know that all the preparation in the world cannot guarantee the hoped-for success. Even if the talent is indisputable and the export potential just as much. It’s moments like this that confirm they’re on the right track. “We want to share the project with whoever wants to hear it and we’ll see where it will take us,” says the Montrealer, down to earth. Still, everything is in place so that in the years to come the name of Charlotte Cardin will be found on ever more imposing and prestigious awnings around the world.