Monday, April 30, 2012

[Interview] The Glass Child Talks Music, Tears, and Ghosts

Meet Charlotte Eriksson. She's based out of London, but only after she decided to pack up and leave everything she owned and knew. She grew up in Sweden and has never been completely comfortable in her own skin; that is until she starts singing. She goes by the name, The Glass Child, and she has managed to build herself a career around music without any help. I recently had the privilege of talking with this determined young woman and had the chance to ask a few questions - some serious, others not so much. Hit the jump below to read through our conversation and hear an incredible voice from across the pond...

Beat Dropping: Hey Charlotte. So I read your excerpt on your website and felt pretty inspired. In that little paragraph you wrote about yourself, I felt an instant urge to better myself. There's a lot of stuff to pick out from it, but I want to focus on just a few things - acceptance of yourself, your motivation, and your sense of humor. With a voice like yours, and looks equally as stunning, why do you say acceptance of yourself is still in question? I can't help but feel, after listening to your music, that your stage name, the Glass Child, has a way of reflecting this. 
Charlotte Eriksson: I think my trouble with accepting myself isn't so much about how other people see me, but how I live with myself. I have to live inside this mind, this body, every day of my life, and I need to deal with who I face in the mirror every single morning. I've never understood how some people can just do that without any trouble. I think I was shaped by the environment I grew up in. The people I was surrounded by and the child I grew up as. I was always very observing and guarded and I didn't trust anyone, which meant that I didn't have any close relationships to either friends or family. I had a lot of trouble accepting myself and I never really felt welcome anywhere. I really don't know why I felt this way, but now when I'm older I can see how it shaped me. I've learned how to live with myself, but I think that if you've felt such a strong hate to your own body and personality, it will always live in the corner of your mind. 

So it's easy to say that you are a determined young woman - you up and left everything in Sweden at 19 and pursued a new life all alone. What's the scariest moment you've faced since leaving family and friends behind? I honestly can't see myself doing the same, which is why your story inspires me so much. 
I'd lie if I didn't say that it's been hard, harder than I ever thought it would be. The first months in London was the toughest of my life. Not just because I was all alone and didn't know anyone here, but because I was very lost and confused and I knew that I had left to find something that was missing, but I didn't know what I was searching for. I had to learn how to deal with missing, letting go and letting new people in. I had to grow up and learn how to live with myself. All I knew was that I wanted to write and play music, but I had no idea how to get started. It's been an amazing journey and I've learned and grown so much every single day. 

I like how you end that, the fact that you've endured so much fear and pain yet you're still capable of having a positive outlook. So then, what's been the happiest moment? 
There's been a lot of tough days, but the small achievements, both personally and musically, makes me see how everything was meant to happen because it taught me lessons and made me grow. The whole first year was an uphill battle but while fighting it I grew a strength that enabled me to build a life for myself on my own terms. I'm in a place now, where I get to do what I love every single day. It's still a struggle some days, but I know where I am and most of all, who I am. If I were to pick one moment, it would probably be when my single I Will Lead You Home reached #2 on the Swedish iTunes-chart. I released it as a charity-single for a Swedish cancer-organization, and it felt so good to prove to people in Sweden that I'm still here, you know.  

I Will Lead You Home (Charity-single for Ung Cancer)

Making I Will Lead You Home was obviously a decision that paid off and is a very emotional tune. How come you decided to take on the project? 
Yeah I never even had a thought that this song would get this kind of exposure. The girl, Julia Mj√∂rnstedt, who started this organization is one of my best friends and like an unrelated sister, and she got cancer when she was 21, I was 14. She told me about their idea to do this video with their message to reach out and asked if I wanted to write the soundtrack to the short-film, and of course I was just honored to do it. As a songwriter I often feel that what I do doesn't really mean anything, especially around people and organizations like this that literary change people's lives, so giving all the profit for this song to Ung Cancer was an easy choice. 

Where does the motivation come from? 
I think the fire was born when I found music. I found my place, really, and it made me realize that I'm not useless or so weird at all, I had just been living in the wrong place my whole life, with the wrong people. I found how all these songwriters were singing about the things I felt and it made me realize that there are more people like me. I always feel a strong urge to prove things to myself, prove to the doubting voice in my head that I can do whatever it tells me that I can't. I guess it's a way to get revenge on the part of me that made me struggle with my confidence for so long as a kid. 

I'd say the vendetta is well on it's way. You want to leave a scar with your music, and I totally dig that. With your upcoming tour, what's the plan in terms of leaving that mark on your fans and audiences? 
I've grown an amazingly dedicated fan base online every since I released my first EP, but I think that meeting people in real life, singing my words straight into their ears, is such a different thing. I've met so many amazing and beautiful people and it really gives me the motivation to keep fighting every single day. I'm still learning so much about this and my own behaviour, and every show turns out differently depending on where I am in my head that day, and that's the beauty of live-music, it's real. 

Have you ever thought about bringing your music to the US? 
I've been in the US! I played some shows in New York last year and it was breathtaking. I will fight to spread my music in Europe this year but when I release my full-length I'm aiming for a US-tour. 

Well hot damn, I'd love to see you tour the East Coast when you do. But I'm changing subjects now, and plan on throwing you some curve balls; I'm thinking you'll handle them well. You have trouble sleeping and you believe in ghosts. How do you deal with horror flicks? 
Love them, haha. They make me feel at home! 

Which one's your favorite? 
It's not really horror-movies I guess but I love the Paranormal movies! 

Ever seen Ghostbusters?
Actually I haven't... 

You're killing me Charlotte. I think you'd love it. Besides renting Ghostbusters, what are you gonna be doing on a weekend where you're tired of the whole music thing? 
I love just hanging out and laughing with my friends. I've found so amazing and wise people and they always remind me of what life is. I love going on road trips to nowhere or just drive to the ocean late at night. The way I'm living, with no real home, I'm kind of going wherever the action is every day, so every night is an adventure. And a lot of spiked coffee... 

Where's the coolest place those adventures have delivered you? 
I've seen so many amazing places, and the best ones are the ones where no one else goes. Like far out in the middle of nowhere, on a mountain with your best friends, just existing. Last month I did this live-session with a college-radio and while waiting for my bus back to London at 3am I went to this local little pub. I was just meaning to hang on the internet for some hours but the owner of the pub thought I looked lonely I guess, so they bought me some drinks and introduced me to everyone and suddenly I got to know the most beautiful people I've ever met, having the night of my life. 

Hypnic Jerk 

Who's the coolest Spice Girl? 
They're all the cool kids on the block. 

Well played. If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) on a project who would it be? 
There are so many songwriters I'd like to collaborate with! Adam Duritz from Counting Crows is one of my favorite lyricists. I really look up to Trevor Hall in every single way, and he really inspires me to be a better person, so he would be amazing to write with. Ben Harper is another songwriter I really look up to. 

Even better answer. Would you ever work with a rapper? 
I'd love to! Not one of these commercial radio-ones, but I actually used to be really into hip hop so i'd love to do something different as a collaboration one day. But not until people know my music for what it is. 

What's playing in your headphones right now? 
Brand New! 

Where do you see yourself in the near future? 
On the open road, playing shows every night. I'll be focusing on finishing the recording and mixing of my full-length next month, but in June we're going back on the road, touring all summer long! 

Want to grab some spiked coffee if I ever come across the pond and you have time in between those shows? Worth a shot... 
I will never ever say no to Irish Coffee! 

Thanks Charlotte.

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