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Expect the unexpected …

 

Even before the release of With Blindfolds On, Chloe Charles’ sophomore orchestral-soul-pop album received accolades with its opening track, Black & White, winning the 2014 Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the Lennon Award for Pop. Sparsely orchestrated, yet characteristically lush, the vulnerable song Black & White sets the tone for this album’s labyrinthine soundscape through loss, love and yearning, lust and joie de vivre with her 3 dimensional orchestral romance and a hypnotizing voice reminiscent of Billie Holiday’s sultry poise, Adele’s intensity, the grit of Amy Winehouse and the courage and mischief of Bjork.

 

When Chloe’s debut album Break The Balance left critics in awe of her magical voice and scratching their heads as to what genre describes her, her mesmerizing sound placed her in a category of her own and landed the album critical acclaim.

 

Who would have thought that an overnight decision to jump from an honours university degree in psychology to braving it as a musician and furiously teaching herself guitar, would lead her to legendary stages in Europe where she consistently entranced her audiences? She’s played the North Sea Jazz Festival, WOMAD, British Commonwealth Games; opened for Rodriguez at London’s Apollo Theatre and Birmingham Symphony Hall, and for Anna Calvi at Paradiso in Amsterdam; and graced the stage on France’s most respected music television program, Taratata. She’s also won the 2014 Sirius XM Indie Award for Soul/R&B and the 2012 Harbourfront Soundclash Award, charted #9 on France’s iTunes Rock Chart, #1 on Amazon Germany’s Folk Chart and #9 on their Rock Chart.

 

With Blindfolds On promises a more mature version of Chloe’s dark and light sides. While Through Your Eyes both mourns the deaths and celebrates the lives of several family members the loss of whom she endured in one brief year, the bright, crispy pop single, Smiling, captures the huge relief and joy of coming through a rough patch in a relationship. Melancholic or gleeful, Chloe’s songs inspire the courage inherent in being vulnerable. Take Me Naked, for example, is a call for sincerity: “If I throw away protective facades, meet the world head on, flaws and all, can you still love me?” Indeed, the whole album suggests that we can “see” differently, and more clearly through our vulnerability, stripped of material crutches and props cluttering the view. And that this seeing “with blindfolds on” can open our eyes to the many faceted and mysterious vistas that lie beneath the surface of things.

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