“People assume I’m going to produce a very specific type of music,” the genre-less singer/songwriter says.
You may have heard of Chloe Charles, the singer/songwriter behind recently released With Blindfolds On, a self-produced, soul-baring record that combines R&B, soul, jazz and folk with an orchestral pop vibe.
You may have seen her name in Rolling Stone or registered in passing that she was the winner of the 2012 Harbourfront Centre SoundClash Music Award.
Or you may not have.
Because even though the musician has toured the hell out of Europe, playing concert halls and major festivals, things come slower in Canada, where this second album came out independently through Foreseen Entertainment thanks in part to crowdfunding.
“You hear over and over again that musicians are forced to go outside of Canada, and I think it has something to do with our history and culture,” Charles says over the phone. “In Europe, you’ve got this history of appreciating the arts. It’s way more ingrained.
“Here, it’s more of a learned thing. [The focus is more on] pop and modern stuff. Europe has much stronger classical and jazz worlds.”
Charles says incorporating jazz and classical sounds into popular music – which she does, often – isn’t questioned across the pond. And it doesn’t come down to Europeans’ predilection for mature sounds. Charles notes that Canadians sometimes lack confidence in their own tastemaking skills.
“It’s like people don’t trust their opinions until someone else has said it’s good,” she says.
North America also has a hard time marketing her. She’s genre-less, sure. And being biracial, she says, has further confused the matter.
May 26, 2016