It’s been a busy couple of years for the LA-based singer-songwriter. After a few quiet releases, her debut EP, Young (2018), a collection of pop earworms, solidified her spot on the pop music map. Lawrence worked the pop machine like the back of her hand: the EP’s closing track, “Just The Same”, was an unavoidable dance-pop banger throughout the summer of ‘18.
With a debut album on the way – tentatively titled #CL1 by online fans – Lawrence has spent the last year dropping cutting pre-release singles. Strangely, the era painted a unique sonic landscape and marked a renaissance in Lawrence’s style.
First, “Why Do You Love Me” – dropped almost a year ago – was a darkly spiraling, theatrical, punchy track with an opulent bridge; next, “Navy Blue”, a catchy, indie pop slow-burner, examined willful naivety in a relationship; and finally, “God Must Be Doing Cocaine”, a cinematic, existential examination of LA life, merged religious allegory with a gentle, poetic melody. It’s all a huge jump away from the mainstream love lyricism and bubblegum production present on Young, but with ease, Lawrence ditches expectations, instead opting for powerful, gutsy metaphors and slick production.
Unsurprisingly, anticipation for her sophomore collection has reemerged with the release of Lawrence’s new single “Slow Motion”, produced by Andrew Watt.
In May, we spoke with the break-out artist to check in on how she’s doing on the cusp of her latest release (“Slow Motion”) and first album.
How have you been doing in isolation? Who are you with, and where are you now?
It started off rough, but recently I found my inspiration again and it hit me really hard. I’ve been working every single day. I’m almost completely done with my album, filming a quarantine music video tomorrow (at the time of interview). It’s honestly been great for me lately.
This time is so weird and scary, and I think everyone is afraid of the unknown. I’ve been quarantined with my whole family and my man. Half the time, we have the most fun ever and [the other] half of the time we want to kill each other.
You got a new puppy! Could you tell me a bit about her?
Her name is Winnie! She’s a little mutt [that] I rescued from the Labelle Foundation! She’s the cutest little thing of all time, with lopsided ears and mini human teeth. She is so precious [and has] the sweetest personality, I’m so lucky she’s mine!
If anyone wants to adopt a dog, I highly suggest doing it – it’s life changing. And the Labelle Foundation is so amazing and the perfect place to find a new family member.
How have you been keeping yourself entertained during lockdown?
Work! And creativity! Constantly writing; recording; painting; finally finishing my album and finishing many half-written or half-produced songs. And, of course, everyone here is keeping me very entertained. My family has a newfound addiction to croquet – tournaments happen at least twice a day.
Who have you been listening to recently in your spare time?
Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, Sufjan Stevens, Lennon Stella, a lot of Aphex Twin, Rosalia and an insane amount of The Beatles.
Have you been watching any good films or TV that you’d recommend?
I’ve re-watched every cartoon kids movie under the sun, whether it be Coraline or Monster’s Inc. And, if I’m being honest, it’s not even about nostalgia; it’s genuinely because I love kids movies. I bawled my eyes out to the entire Toy Story series last night – no shame.
One massive conversation at the moment is mental health during quarantine – is this something you’ve had to deal with? If so, what have been some of the ways you’ve been able to help yourself overcome this?
I’ve had high-highs and low-lows, as everybody probably has. I notice when I have less to do, I get more anxious, sad, frustrated, etc. When I keep myself busy, I automatically feel so much more okay.
Even though work is on pause, it doesn’t mean you can’t create the work for yourself. It gives you more leeway to work on what you love. The more you stay inside – alone and bored – the more your emotions reflect that: isolated, lonely, anxious, etc. Take a walk! Learn a new hobby!
I have also been talking to my therapist once a week. There’s a weird stigma around therapy, but it has helped me immensely and incredibly in every aspect of my life.
After the lockdown, what are you most looking forward to?
SEEING MY FRIENDS!
Moving onto music – first and foremost, have you felt inspired to create new music in lockdown? What’s it like making music in isolation?
At the beginning of quarantine, I did not feel creative or driven at all, but as of recently, I’ve felt really inspired! It’s hard to create new music [because] I love to collaborate, and part of the magic in writing sessions is bouncing off each other’s vibe, presence and emotions, in person, in the studio. The whole Zoom session thing isn’t really my thing… yet.
But I’ve been writing songs and sending things to people; writing over text or over FaceTime; and writing by myself on the piano or guitar. I have missed having that drive to write on my own. It used to be all I did, but then I fell in love with collaboration and lost that drive a little. It feels nice having it back.
Is there any new music in the pipeline?
Yes, yes, yes! My new single, [titled “Slow Motion”]. I social-distanced-shot the cover [with Tyler Shields]. Just us two, at my boyfriend’s house outside. No team, no equipment, just us and the camera!
[This will be] followed by another single, and eventually lead to a full-ass album! […] It will start from “Why Do You Love Me” – the new era of me. […] I’m really excited to start working on the visuals, artwork, creative and videos behind all the music that’s about to come out!
What themes are you exploring in your new music?
I’m more of a feelings person. Every song is different; every feeling varies based on the day or night that I write. I always stay authentic and real in my writing – never fitting to a theme, just writing how I feel in that moment. It’s very much like a therapy session: you shouldn’t go into it with a plan of what you’re going to talk about. You just talk about what comes to you and what you feel in that moment.
On a lot of your newer tracks – following your debut EP, Young (2018) – have solidified that you’re developing a sleek and metaphorical lyricism. What has inspired your evolving lyrical style?
It’s natural for people to change and evolve with age and experience, and being an artist, my art changes and evolves with me through life experiences, learning from other writers, expanding my taste in music, learning about the history and different cultures of music, knowledge, love, heartbreak, and much more.
My writing [has] developed and evolved along with my mind and my emotional capacity. My lyrics became more honest and vulnerable, darker even. I notice, as I age, I get less afraid to speak about more serious, open topics. I’ve begun to find my sound and my lyrical style. As time continues to go on and life moves quickly, my music will keep growing!
Finally, what’s on the agenda for today?
It’s my mom’s birthday, so we’re celebrating! I [also] have to film another video for my Charlotte’s Web series on Instagram.
Charlotte Lawrence’s new single, “Slow Motion” is available to stream now.
Image – TylerShields