Charlotte Lawrence has been building steam since her first EP 'Young' came out in 2017 and was streamed in the millions, but over the course of 2020 the 20-year-old musician has slowed down, consolidated and spent the time discovering her voice, her style, her story. Over FaceTime from the floor of her bedroom in Los Angeles, she talks with unbridled enthusiasm at a hundred miles an hour about her sonic influences, her life inspirations, her struggles, her hopes and dreams. She talks like someone who doesn't have a moment to waste not telling the world who she is and why. She talks like someone who knows what they want to say and how they're going to say it.
Since 2017, Lawrence has fallen in love with a wider array of instrumentation-based live music and she’s learned what kind of music she enjoys writing. “I love everything I've ever put out,” she says about prior work. “It's part of my story and how I became the artist I am. But I was young and I hadn't found my sound. Between that time and now, I've grown 100 years in music form in my own head. This is the authentic Charlotte, the most vulnerable I've ever gotten, my experiences of the past three years shoved into six songs.”
She made the songs in LA over the past year, largely with Andrew Watt and Ali Tamposi, who became like a big sister figure to her. “I would call her if something happened in my life, she had my back, and we grew this special relationship that sparked.” It transported itself into the studio where both Watt and Tamposi would create an environment in which Lawrence felt safe to be real and honest. “I'm somebody that if I go through something, I need to write about it. I can't just let it live. I don't like to talk about it to people. I don't like to burden someone with issues or talk about a boy for hours. I would rather write it the fuck out, get it out.”
Born and raised in LA, Lawrence spent little time in the city and more by the Malibu coast and up in the canyons. Her family are not musicians but are heavily music-orientated, and she grew up with the best education possible, listening to everything from The Beatles to Cat Power. “Real raw music,” she says. She grew up playing piano from the age of five and got into guitar around the age of 13. “I became obsessed with it,” she says, self-taught. In the past year she developed a newfound love for instrumentation over electronic beats. She began to write melodies, riffs and chords and rather than going to instruments to cover others' material she figured out how to utilize them for her own art. “I've always wanted to be a musician and was so passionate about it but when you're young you have a certain mindset of what's cool and what you should be doing. I'm a strong believer in being able to feel love or pain at any age, but I do believe I wasn't sure of myself yet,” she says. Now that Lawrence knows how much of herself she is willing to portray she's letting it all loose.
The experience of releasing her first EP helped her on her journey to become more openly expressive. It gave her the confidence to be more comfortable in her own skin and more willing to share her reality. She doesn't want her artistry to be separate from her person; she wants it to be unified. “I want to share pain and heartbreak and sex and all the emotions everybody feels, and hopefully people can connect to that and relate,” she says.
For Lawrence, the grind and hustle of studio sessions and locating her sound since her early teen years is starting to pay off, and she's not shy about where her sights are set. “I'm not gonna stop until I get to perform at the Hollywood Bowl,” she says. “I always felt like it was obnoxious to say, or that it was a pipe dream. I always thought that I shouldn't be vocal about what I wanted to do. I was shy and scared. Finally I've grown enough as a person that I feel confident to say I want to perform in arenas and share my music with as many people as I can. I wanna do everything, I always held myself back in a sense.” Well, Charlotte Lawrence is not holding back any more.