INTERVIEW x Charlotte Dos Santos

On vous faisait part de notre coup de coeur il y a peu pour la très belle voix de Charlotte Dos Santos, chanteuse norvégienne dont plusieurs titres figurent sur la compilation du crew Mutual Intentions sortie sur Jakarta Records. Une bande de potes qui apporte un vent de fraîcheur à Oslo, au sein duquel on retrouve Ivan Ave et Fredfades, rappeur et producteur dont on vous parle régulièrement. Plusieurs sujets à aborder donc avec celle de qui nous sommes tombés sous le charme. Entrez donc avec nous dans son univers.

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♦ Hi Charlotte can you in one sentence or two introduce yourself

Hi! I am Charlotte Dos Santos, born and raised in Oslo Norway to a Norwegian mother and Brazilian father. Currently doing my bachelors in arranging and performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston doing an exchange semester in Valencia, Spain.

♦ How and when did you start singing and considering that doing music will be your life or big part of it? 

I started singing when I was about three years old when my mother got me a tape recorder with a microphone attached to it. I would bring it with me everywhere and no one would ever be allowed to even touch it. I think I always knew that music was what I wanted to do growing up in a very musical house and music being played all the time at all hours. But what I remember vividly was in second grade when our teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and my answer being “a pop star” was not considered a real profession. I was so disappointed! But I also remember thinking “I’ll show them”.

♦ You are Brazilian and Norwegian and currently studying in Valencia to focus on flamenco singing. In which way this music and culture could enhance your approach on music?

Well, in our house music from all over the world was always played. My father is a big Jazz enthusiast so naturally I became familiar with it at an early age. He took me to festivals and shows and I always found it very intriguing. My mother would play flamenco, North African and Arabic music so I was accustomed to Middle Eastern sounds and instruments. I have spent the last five years of my musical education focusing on jazz and other genres with African American heritage, so one of the things that really drew me to flamenco was its similarity to blues. Both historically and lyrically they resemble each other a lot. The gypsy people of Spain and the Mediterranean have a history with a lot of suffrage, which I somehow find myself drawn to. There is also something about the scales and modes that really touch my soul. I am taking flamenco arranging as a class here, and I am still learning and absorbing and waiting for all of it to sink in, but I have already written a few different palos (styles of flamenco). Hopefully I can try to embed what I know so far into my own compositions as well!

♦ You are writing and singing in English for now. Could you imagine doing it in Norwegian or even Portuguese/Brazilian?

Yes, I do sing in all three languages and I enjoy being able to choose between the three, but it is always more natural for me to write in English. I have yet to write an entire song in Portuguese though, but I can definitely see myself writing in Portuguese in the future. I have a few different Brazilian percussion instruments, which I bought when I was living in Salvador for capoeira classes and just for hobby so I want to use them in my music eventually.

♦ To us, you re-define modern soul sounds and we were wondering the music styles and the artists who influenced you?

Thank you! Since I listen to so many different artists its always hard for me to pinpoint exactly who I am influenced by, but Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Aura Urziceanu, Nancy Wilson and Erykah Badu are vocalists that I am really impressed by and that I have learned a lot from. I also like Karin Krogh and her quirky, effortless delivery. Soul singers as Marvin Gaye, Minnie Riperton and Leon Ware are also amongst my favorites. Most of the time though, I listen to instrumental music and have been very inspired by music from impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel to jazz cats as Miles Davis, Pharaoh Sanders, Cannonball Adderly, Freddie Hubbard and producers as Madlib, Nick Wiz and J Dilla. D’Angelo is also a composer and vocalist who definitely influenced me and helped shape how I write my music today.

♦ After hearing your voice, I could not  keep thinking to Erykah Badu. If you could choose three of her songs, which would it be?

Haha, I keep hearing that! Baduizm was the first album I really fell in love with. My top three Badu songs (tough one) would be « Didn’t Cha Know » because I really like how Dilla flipped the Tarika Blue sample on this one, « Certainly » because the lyrics are so clever, and « Green Eyes » because it hit so close to home.

♦ We recently heard your amazing voice on the Mutual Intentions tape with two songs. Have you released other projects?

I have previously released a track on a bonus Fredfades 7” off of Breathe EP called ‘Comes And Goes”. We also released a Mutual Intentions cassette tape with « Watching You », « Move On » and « Take It Slow » before it was released on the Jakarta Records dubplate (which we proudly sold out in 12 hours). I post my own tracks on my soundcloud from time to time unofficially, but my EP is coming up in the spring and I am very excited for that.

♦ Mutual Intentions’ crew seems to be composed by many talented artists in music and visual arts. Can you tell us more about the members?

Yes, basically we have been a group of friends for many years with the same interest for music, design and art. Many of us have been active in the DJ scene for many years and both Ivan and I have been writing and doing our thing for a while now, so we thought since we are all so close and support each other anyways, why not make it official and illuminate what we’re about! The members are videographer and visuals designer Erik Treimann, graphic designer, illustrator and DJ Hans Jørgen Wærner, Producers /DJ’s Yogisoul and Fredfades, MC and poet Ivan Ave, Photographer and videographer Mohamed Chakiri and our personal manager and publicist Stian Nicolaysen and our recently added member, beatmaker Sun Raw from Sweden and myself!

♦ Boiler Room is coming over Oslo next week for the Mutual Intentions Takeover and we are excited to stream it. What kind of performance can we expect?

We will be focusing a lot on the visual aspects this time actually having live Vj’ing and exhibiting photography’s and illustrations by our crew members. Our musical performances will be varied with both beats and incredibly talented musicians. It’s going to be lit.

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♦ Do you feel to be a part of a booming crew in Oslo? I imagine you are all being approached by European promoters. Is there a chance to see you live anytime soon in Paris?

We do receive a lot of love and encouragement from both our peers and fans, which has been amazing. And we were really overwhelmed by the turn out on the last Mutual Intentions show we had. We are just super happy that there are so many who appreciates what we do! Actually, I am in contact with a few different promoters wanting me to come to Paris so hopefully that will happen either by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. On that note, we are truly saddened to hear about what happened over the weekend and our prayers and thoughts go out to all the people of Paris.

♦ By the way how does a live performance of Charlotte Dos Santos looks like? Help us to picture it.

Well, tune in for our Boiler Room show and you can see it live!! I can say that I usually like to keep it simple though. And I always perform with a band.

♦ What are your upcoming projects?

Right now I am working on my first EP, hopefully to be released in the spring. And other exciting projects that I am not sure of how much I can talk about! I recently did a track with LA based Pink Siifu, which will be released next week.

♦ We have a general question for you on the actual scene, what is the last album which impressed you the most?

On the contemporary music front I kind of slept on Thundercat’s A Golden Age of Apocalypse in an opposition to everybody’s excitement to him, which was completely my bad so now I am obsessed. Choose Your Weapons by Hiatus Kaiyote, and Moses Sumney’s Mid City Island has been a favorite for a long time. All time favorite though is French Troupeau Bleu by Cortex. I never, ever get tired of that album.

♦ That’s a question we always ask in our interviews : in an Utopia, which artist (dead or alive) and where would you like to collaborate with?

Wow, hmmm. I think a collaboration with Leon Thomas or Christian Scott would be an interesting musical journey.

And extra question, what would be the best featuring you could make with an actual artist?

Usually I am open to many kinds of collaborations but Thundercat, Robert Glasper and Hanna Paulsberg would all be incredible to work with! I also love Mndsgn productions and would love to collaborate with him.

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