She's only 17, but singer-songwriter Charlotte Lawrence has already made a splash in the music business. The Los Angeles-based pop upstart was part of the first collaborative Spotify Single with Sasha Sloan and Nina Nesbitt; at the single’s Los Angeles launch party in March, she made her live debut. Her enthusiasm about Kaskade's "Cold as Stone" led to her working closely with the mega-DJ on the breakup ballad and performing it at the massive Ultra festival in Miami.
Lawrence, who's going on her first tour this June, talked to Spotify about getting used to performing live, writing "Psychopath" with Sloan and Nesbitt, and how staying true to herself increases her passion.
__You played Ultra in March as part of Kaskade's set, performing your new collab "Cold as Stone." How did that go? __
It was insane—it was so much fun. Ten minutes before I went on, I got really, really, really nervous while I was backstage watching his performance. But when I walked on stage and grabbed the microphone, I fully calmed down. It was so much fun, and after, I felt the biggest high of my entire life. I was so happy. It was so exciting because it was so many people, and it just felt so nice. And I had a bunch of friends there, too.
They must've been thrilled to congratulate you.
Just thinking about it makes me happy.
How did the collaboration between you and Kaskade come to be?
I got sent a demo that was just vocals and piano—no production on it, really. And I fell in love with the song. I was like, "I really relate to and connect with this song and these lyrics, and I wanna sing it." I immediately called the person who sent it over and I was like, "Hey, this is my song. I need to sing this. I resonate with this so much." I recorded it, and [Kaskade] loved it. Apparently he'd been sitting on the song for two years and didn't know what to do with it. When he heard my voice on it he was like, "Yeah, this is the song. Let's do it." It became more of a collaborative thing toward the end of it. I really love him. He's such a good guy, and he's very kind and supportive. It's been such a fun journey. And we're going to do more performances soon.
It's fun for me because I don't have all the stress of doing a huge set. It's so much fun to be able to just go on stage for one song in front of hundreds of thousands of people and then be chill and go have fun with my friends after.
How has prep for your solo tour in June been going?
Before the Spotify event [celebrating the release of the collaborative Spotify Single], I'd never performed live. I mean, I [sang] on a few occasions, but I'd never performed my own music live. When I did that event, it was so much fun and I was so happy—I felt really comfortable on stage, moving around. It got me looking so forward to the tour, because I realized how much I love performing. It's what I was meant to do.
__How was the Spotify event otherwise? __
That event was so much fun because it had a very relaxed vibe. I love the two girls—I love Nina, I love Sasha. We were already really close before that event. We've been close since we originally wrote ["Psychopath"], and at the event, it was all of our friends and family. We made it very fun and relaxed, and it turned out to be one of my most fun nights of the year.
__What was collaborating with Nina and Sasha like? How did you work together on "Psychopath"? __
We were told to go into the studio and write a song about female empowerment. And they were like, "You have one day to do it." Obviously, all of us were like, "Oh God, this is going to go horribly. I don't know these girls. How do we write a song that's not cringe-y and weird?" During the lead-up to being in the studio with them, I was nervous—out of my mind. I was like, "This is not gonna work."
So we get in the studio and instantly vibe—instantly start laughing and talking and chatting. We wrote a song in so much less time than I thought we would, and I ended up loving it. I think it's so cool. It's a song that I would sing on my own, you know? We each brought different aspects to the table—songwriting, melodies, other stuff—and I felt like Spotify did a very good job of putting us three together because we all are very similar musically and personality-wise. It was, all around, just very easy, and very fun.
Have you collaborated with other women in the past at all?
Yeah. I've collaborated with women songwriters, and some of my favorite songwriters of all time are women. But I've never collaborated with a woman artist to do a duet or a trio or whatever. This is the first time that I sang with two other girls on a song, which was super-cool. Normally, in a studio, it's either me and a male producer, or me and a songwriter and then another producer. It's normally dominated by males in that area, so it was cool being like, "Oh, it's three girls, and we're going to write a dope song." King Henry [produced], but, you know, he's part of the squad.
If another young woman came to you for advice on how to navigate the music business, especially in the early stages of their career, what would you tell them?
Honestly, my motto is, "I do what I love and I love what I do." Everything that I sing, everything that I write, everything that I put my foot out there to do is something that I'm passionate about, and I wouldn't do it if I wasn't passionate about it. That's my No. 1 thing: Always stay true to yourself. Especially as an artist, you always have to sing what you want to sing and write about what you want to write, and never become fake or caught up in other aspects of it. Those are the most important things to me: authenticity and realness. You can easily tell if somebody's not being real. I think it's so, so, so, so important [to] be who you are. Be who you want to be. Don't be anybody else.
- Maura Johnston