It is just us, or do you also feel pop punk rising from the early-2000’s ashes and back into our ears better than ever? There are only a few artists making this alt-pop/punk genre crossover absolutely fresh and unapologetically their own. One of those artists in particular is Charlotte Sands.
The Nashville-based artist and songwriter first found her way to the blog with her steamy, Harry Styles-dedicated single “Dress,” but we’ll admit her tunes have floated through our headphones since she released “Happy Together.” Her sound has come a long way since that single and we can confidently say Charlotte Sands commands all of your attention.
She recently released her EP Special, featuring some previously released singles, like the vividly relatable “Sweatshirt,” as well as new material, like harrowing “Dream About You.” Her leading single “Special” carries all the power that makes a Charlotte Sands’ song unmistakably her. The song’s gritty drums and spunky guitar build up to a spirited chorus that makes you want to smash a guitar, jump from a drum set, or give your ex the middle finger.
We chatted with Charlotte on her new music, some of her influences, and making a home out of Nashville’s creative community.
RDFO: Your songs carry an undeniable pop flair with a tasty rock edge. Can you tell us more about some of the influences you grew up with who’ve inspired your current sound?
CS: I grew up listening to mainly folk / country music by women like Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Grace Potter, and so many more. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I found bands like All Time Low and Mayday Parade which felt like the opposite side of the genre spectrum. I think my sound comes from wanting to make music that has the story and lyrical quality of a folk song but the energy and feeling of a 2000’s pop punk song.
RDFO: The single “Special” is crazy relatable and I particularly love the lyrical content of the bridge; it has such a powerful undertone of ingenuity and hypocrisy surrounding relationships–romantic or platonic. What would you consider the most important part of building a relationship (romantic, friendship, etc) with someone? What are some red flags you’ve learned to spot?
CS: Thank you so much, that’s my favorite part too! I think the most important part of building a relationship is communication and always being super open about your feelings and emotions with each other. The biggest red flag I’ve learned to spot is when someone talks to you better than they treat you. I’ve dated so many men who were verbally so supportive and great but they would never actually show up when I needed them to or commit actual time to our relationship. My lesson learned is that people do what they want to do and put their time and energy towards the things that they see as important. If someone is not giving you their actual time they don’t see you as a priority.
RDFO: What song from the EP is your favorite? And what was the writing process like for that tune?
My favorite song from the EP might have to be “Dream About You”. I wrote this song about such a specific feeling and a time in my life where I was really emotionally confused and it felt like a therapy session. Every word in that song is true and actually happened the day it was created and it feels like a time capsule of my life and who I was then.
RDFO: You seem to be one of the independent artists spearheading an amazing pop community in Nashville. What is it about Nashville that made it the city you wanted to set up in? And what’s something about the city you wish more young artists/musicians knew about?
CS: I wanted to move to Nashville because for so long every single album and CD that I owned said it was recorded there and it sounded like such a magical place. Every time I read about it, I knew that it was where I was supposed to be, and so a week after high school graduation I drove there and have been here since. It’s such a wonderful place because it’s exploding with creativity and people are so supportive of each other, which is hard to find, especially in such a competitive industry. I wish more young artists / musicians would just go to more shows and take in all the city has to offer. The majority of opportunities I’ve gotten were from me meeting people at bars or random shows on a Tuesday night and building relationships with other people in or out of the music industry. All the opportunities are there – you just have to go out and take them.
RDFO: This EP is packed with lyrics that are hard hitting and refreshingly original. How do you go about the songwriting process and who are some of your favorite collaborators?
CS: When writing a song, I usually like to start with a track idea so we can figure out the energy of the room and what our goal feeling is to create. I always think about the live show when writing and which song in the set we want it to be and how to make it translate for a live audience. I usually sing random words and melodies until something feels / sounds right, and it also lets my brain subconsciously vent which leads to more honest lyrics. My favorite collaborator is Danen Reed who co-wrote and produced the majority of the songs on the EP, he’s phenomenal and the reason all these songs exist the way that they do.
RDFO: You have such a strong stage presence and channel amazing energy to your audience. What’s your favorite part about performing and where do you hope to perform/tour when live shows are back in business?
CS: My favorite part of performing is being able to interact with people and share a feeling and experience with strangers and friends. There’s something so special about having so many different people in a room, and all having one thing in common – I’m just lucky to be a part of it. I really want to perform in Boston because that’s where my family and friends live, and they’ve never been able to see me perform live. It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to go back home and show them what I’ve been working on for so many years.
RDFO: What else can we expect from Charlotte Sands this year? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to that you can share?
CS: You can definitely expect more music. There are so many songs I’m dying to release and I cannot wait for them to be out in the world. I also cannot wait to be back on stage and be able to interact and actually meet so many of the people I’ve built relationships with over the last year.
Check out the Special EP below!