Meet Singer Charlotte Cardin: A Q&A on Being True to Yourself, Concert Vibes and More

by Eva Barragan

When it comes to discussing topics of self-respect, desire, broken love, and intimacy, Charlotte Cardin is the woman you want speaking on your panel. The 23-year-old Montreal songstress is celebrating the release of her MAIN GIRL EP, with her longest North American tour to date, alongside Nick Murphy (AKA CHET FAKER). The EP is an intimate collection featuring three songs--“Big Boy,” “Dirty Dirty,” and “Like It Doesn’t Hurt (Feat. Husser)--from her 2016 EP Big Boy, as well as three newbies: “Main Girl,” “Paradise Motion” and “The Kids.” Cardin collaborated with EDM artist JackLNDN to create a remix of the title track. The result is infectious, seductive and sexy as hell. 

We caught up with Cardin recently to discuss the details of her EDM collab, the records she recommends everyone listen to from to start to finish, and the anatomy of  poisonous relationships. 

How did your collaboration with JackLNDN come about?

It was a very natural collaboration. I just recently signed to Atlantic Records and they suggested we collaborate together. They sent JackLNDN the song and they sent me back the remix and, immediately, I thought it was so cool and groovy. It sounded different but it didn’t change the whole song. I ended up saying yes right away and I’m really happy with the remix.

Let's talk about the single for the remix, “Main Girl." You explained the meaning behind the single "is an ode to independence, it is the empowerment of knowing that you deserve a good relationship, it’s a realization that you’re better off alone than not being someone else’s priority and it’s never coming in second." Is this feeling based on an authentic time in one of your past relationships when you felt like you were coming in second? 

That song isn’t really about anything I have experienced myself or not exactly—I think that every girl has sort of been in a similar situation. In my case, it was more about the friend that I wrote it about. I had a friend who was really treated like shit by a guy and she was so in love with him and it’s really hard to get out of a relationship like that once you’re really attached to the person, you know?

So even if the person you're with doesn't treat you very well, you're more likely to stay in that very poisonous environment. I wrote the song about a friend but the song is also just about a general feeling about not accepting to be anyone's  second choice or back up option. It's a feeling that I think everyone has experienced at one point.

Do you feel like that moment of realizing you're better off alone than being someone's second choice comes gradually or do you think this realization hits someone all at once?

I think it comes gradually and I think usually your friends and the people surrounding you will tell you "that’s a poisonous relationship, you shouldn’t be in it" and at first you don’t really listen but none of that matters because eventually, you realize it for yourself. I think it’s something you need to come to terms with on your own before you can actually make the move to leave. When it comes to love, it’s so complicated that no one can really tell you how to feel or how to act. So I think it comes gradually and at some point, you just realize that it’s too negative. You realize that it's not worth it anymore. 

If you had to listen to one record or album for the rest of your life, from start to finish, which record would it be and why? 

I'll give you two. The first one would be "In Rainbows" by Radiohead, it’s just so good and it’s a full experience to listen to it because it really creates such a specific universe and they just really sink you into their atmosphere and that’s just really special. And the second I think would be an album called "Rêver Mieux" by a Canadian artist called Daniel Bélanger. It’s really amazing and his lyrics are so beautiful. It’s in French and “Rêver Mieux” means to “dream better.” It’s probably the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. It truly provides the listener with a wonderful experience. 

If you were to seduce someone with a song, which song would you choose? 

It would definitely be a Celine Dion's, "My Heart Will Go on" because then they would see into my soul.

What song do you feel like listening to when you don’t want to think?

Right now, I think it’s “We Find Love” by Daniel Caesar. He creates such a beautiful atmosphere through his lyrics and his voice is really beautiful—you should listen to that song.

All of your music videos seem to have a prominent, effortless theme about them. They are all extremely organic and raw—a lot like how you are on stage. When you’re creating these visuals or when you’re conceptualizing a theme for your music videos, what’s the most important element that needs to exist in every visual representation of your music?

I love being hands-on in the whole process of not only the music but the videos and the photo shoots and everything that’s attached to my image. In videos it’s so easy to go overboard and to be like, “Okay I’ll have a makeup artist and a hairdresser and a stylist and a this and that” and then you end up just being all dolled up and that's really not who I am.  Even though it’s really easy to have access to those glamorous, fun things, it’s really important to me to remind myself that I just want it to be about the music and not anything else. I just want it to be as true to myself as possible and it's important for me to portray that in the videos that I make, my appearance on stage, and in every aspect of my career.

What are you inspired by? What excites you? 

Human beings are very intriguing to me and so I write a lot about human beings in general. I think everyone is just so weird in such a beautiful way and I’m very intrigued by different people. But what excites me? I love going to shows. I find them to be so inspiring and I haven’t seen a show in like a few months now and I really miss it.  I feel so inspired when I see a live performance; it can be even like a dance show or I love going to the theatre or seeing a live musician or the orchestra.

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When watching a live show, what do you focus on? Do you focus on like the artist, the band? What element of a live show are you instinctively drawn to?

Just the live rendition of the music to me is very intriguing and interesting. I love seeing how a song that you know so well is going be either changed a little bit or played around with. I love when musicians do that. 

What’s the most memorable live show you’ve ever attended and why?

About two or three years ago I saw Lykke Li at Osheaga festival and she was so amazing and beautiful and extremely sensual. It was an empowering experience to see her perform. She is just super powerful in her femininity. She’s really unapologetic.  I’ve seen so many live shows that were super inspiring but that one really stuck with me.

What is the last film you watched that made you cry? 

I recently saw Schindler’s List for the first time and obviously I cried all the tears out of my body. It’s a beautiful movie, it’s so sad. But the ending is good. You know, given the context.  I cried the whole time. But I hadn’t ever seen it and I’m really glad I did. It’s really touching and it just haunted me for weeks and weeks after seeing it.

What do you hope people take away from your music? What feelings do you hope to inspire in others? And where do you want your career to take you?

I want people to know that it’s okay to be themselves and to not apologize for being different. I want my career to take me to new places and I want to meet new people all the time and I want to travel. In the future I want to be able to spend considerable time both at home and in the studio and to work from different places and I never want to have the same routine.


Charlotte will be joining BØRNS on his North American tour next year. For tour dates click here.

Written by: Eva Barragan