Interview: Be Charlotte – 'It's important, if you're going to spend time finding your sound, to honour it by making it a little bit different.'
Talented teenage Dundonian singer whose songwriting prowess belies her tender age
Be Charlotte, aka enfant fantastique of good vibes and spoken word pop, Charlotte Brimner, is considering the responsibility being a role model entails.
'I think about it as if I was 12 or 13,' she says. 'What would I want to see? What would influence me?'
Turns out, it's all about authenticity; the sense of being genuine is important to Brimner. After learning to play guitar at 14 and deciding two years later that music was where she wanted her career to go, she's spent the last three years honing her skills and working out where she, and her music, fit in.
'I don't want to just write the same songs that have already been written so many times. It's important, if you're going to spend time finding your sound, to honour it by making it a little bit different.'
As is characteristic of Brimner's relentless drive, in her attempt to create this sound she left school at 17 and took off for America where she wrote and wrote and did some open mics and rejected the concept of a normal life for a Dundee teenager.
'I spent quite a number of years surrounded by people I knew were going to stick to the same sort of path; they weren't going to venture out and do things differently,' she says. 'For a while I let it consume me and I let myself be like that. When I found what I really wanted to do, that's when I realised I had to go and do something different.'
'The best thing I ever did was getting away from where I lived and being able to see different perspectives on things and come back with a fresh, clear mind.'
The novelty of America and the liberation it granted Brimner resulted in a change from the relative safeness of acoustic singer-songwriter she'd been playing with to where she's at now: rapping, beatboxing and breaking boundaries.
'I moved on to writing and performing with a loop pedal, because I knew that I wanted to create a fuller sound, but I couldn't afford other musicians to help out at that time. It was cool for a bit, but it lost an element in the live performance. I knew I wanted to branch away from that, so last year I moved into doing the band set-up.'
James Smith on keys and bass plus Jack Boyce on tubs complete the trio and together the three summon a live show that's all thumping beats and momentum, driving ever forwards, Brimner placing herself on a pedestal front and centre to hammer home the importance in the words she's spitting.
For a taste of what she has to say, her single, 'Machines that Breathe', a magnetic pop anthem, comes out in October.
'I wrote it towards the end of last year. It was one I started doing a lot of production stuff myself, arrangement-wise, then I worked with Marcus McKay [Hit the Fan Records] in Glasgow to develop it a bit.'
As for what the future holds, there's Glasgow's Tenement Trail in September, a south-east Asian tour in October, followed by a London gig and a little tour back up to Scotland, finishing in Stirling.
'I'm sure there'll be more things that pop up,' Brimner says. 'I just want to keep writing music and touring the world for as long as I possibly can.'
Be Charlotte plays the Tenement Trail, Glasgow, Sat 8 Oct. 'Machines That Breathe' is released on Oct 7 via Kobalt.