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Charlotte Day Wilson tickets at Webster Hall, New York
Fri 31 May 2024 - 19:30 EDT
Cyan Blue Tour Ouri
Webster Hall, New York, NY
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Cyan Blue Tour Ouri
Webster Hall
125 E.11th Street
New York, NY 10003
212-353-1600
Fri 31 May 2024 - 19:30 EDT
Doors Open: 18:30
Onsale: Fri 1 Mar 2024 - 10:00 EDT
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Bio: Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson can make a single moment stretch into a lifetime of feeling. It’s not just that her warm voice recalls the jazz phrasings of classic torch singers, or that her smoldering anthems are methodically paced, allowing her emotions to linger long after the song finishes. But throughout her self-made career, the Toronto-born-and-raised singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has developed a masterful ability to unpack modern lamentations with a sense of timelessness, captivating listeners across generations.

 

Cyan Blue, her debut album on XL Recordings arriving May 3, showcases the next evolution of Wilson’s time-bending songwriting. Through 13 hypnotizing tracks, she continues to use music as a vessel for unpacking relationships, which in turn allows her to meet and understand herself in life-spanning, panoramic focus. The crux of the album lies in its title-track, on which Wilson addresses her younger self in a liminal space between dream and reality, then and now. “I wish I could see through your eyes / One more time,” she sings. With those unadorned words of wisdom, she collapses the beauty and frustrations of the past, the burning immediacy of the present, and the possibility of the future in one fell swoop.

 

Inspired by the blue-green hue of Wilson’s irises, the color cyan blue began to inform the record’s emotional and sonic palette as she played with song ideas with co-producer Jack Rochon in her Laurel Canyon home studio. Suddenly, she began to see the color everywhere: on the horizon line between the California sea and sky, and in the eyes of her little nephew, whom she refers to as “the pure untainted child I wish we could all go back to,” who proudly plucked the shade from his crayon box. “As I was working on the album, I started to think of blue as the past and green as the future,” Wilson explains. “These songs sit somewhere in-between.” Cyan Blue captures all shades of the human experience—with all its melancholy, bitterness, regret, desire, and faith—through Wilson’s piercing vision.

 

“I want to look through the unjaded eyes of my younger self again,” Wilson explains of making Cyan Blue. “Before there wasn’t as much baggage, before so much life was lived. But I also wish that my younger self could see where I am now. It would be nice to be able to impart some of the wisdom and clarity that I have now onto her.” There’s a cyclical nature to the project, as Wilson sings both of protecting the girl she once was and the child she will one day raise. That sentiment arrives on the sparse piano ballad “New Day,” on which Wilson dreams of being a queer mother, but also the grief attached to the fact that both parents couldn’t be genetically tied to the child. Despite the “fucked up world,” she makes a tender commitment to her family-to-be: “When everything’s / Stacked against us / Give her my name / I want a new Day.”

 

Cyan Blue also sees Wilson crafting a smoothly woven tapestry of her eternal influences, from thumping gospel piano, warm soul basslines, atmospheric electronics, and penetrating R&B melodies. Yet, it possesses a sense of vastness that rings in a new era for Wilson, one in which she’s embracing collaboration and newfound creative openness. Aside from a few collaborators, she had largely self-produced her previous projects—2016’s CDW, 2018’s Stone Woman, and her 2021 debut studio album Alpha—obsessively making up to 14 versions of the same song. This time around, she challenged herself to kick her perfectionist tendencies and finish the album within a couple months.

 

“Before, I was extremely intentional about creating music with a strong foundation, a bed of artistic integrity,” Wilson reflects. “But that was a bit stifling, like, ‘Let me just make a great piece of art that will stand the test of time, no pressure.’ Now, I think I'm getting out of this frozen state of needing everything to be perfect. I'm more interested in capturing feelings in the moment as they happen and leaving them in that moment.”

 

It helped that Wilson had Rochon, a close collaborator originally from Toronto, who made her feel “completely free and weird and able to make mistakes.” With his help with instrumentation and hands-on production, she could focus on the big-picture aspects of the project. It allowed Wilson to be even more intentional about delivering a vocal performance that’s even more powerful in its restraint. “I think of my voice as an instrument,” she explains. “I don’t only think of it as emotion. I think of the shifting of the notes like they’re on a scale, as I climb my way and descend on the imaginary staff.”

 

Though Cyan Blue is tinged with wistfulness, as Wilson ruminates on all forms of past relationships, it also sees her claiming her desires and future with certainty. On “My Way,” a collaboration with songwriter-producer Leon Thomas, she portrays making a decision during a sliding-doors moment between relationships through hazy images of “magic tricks” and “smoke and mirrors.”  “I don’t really like to write in a completely overt way,” she explains. “So I try to make it a little bit more ambiguous. I like seeing how others interpret my words, like a rorschach test.”

 

Wilson also allowed herself to fully express her frustration towards others, like on “Canopy,” a penetrating R&B track on which she hits out against others who are blocked by their own worldviews and become a dark cloud for those around them. “I can get in my own way, too, for sure,” she reflects. “But I wrote this while walking around the house in Laurel Canyon and looking out the window at the canopy of trees, finding associations between my environment and the people I was thinking about. I’m out of those scenarios, too, so I feel liberated because I’m no longer in them.”

 

Even in its different shades of anger and disappointment, Cyan Blue shows Wilson always finding her way back to gratitude. Like on “I Don’t Love You,” she breaks tough news to someone whom she once loved, yet comforts them by singing, “It’s not the end / It’s the beginning.” For the piano ballad, she and Rochon sampled an iPhone demo for its glitchy vocal chops that add to the song’s mournful, ghost-like quality. Then on “Walk With Me,” she reminisces on a by-gone relationship by honoring the love that they once shared. “I tried to remember that love doesn’t die,” she explains. “Love will always outlast us. I wanted to remind myself that there was something that brought us together in the first place and celebrate that.”

 

Maintaining a sense of hope and childlike imagination is what has carried Wilson through her illustrious career. Over a decade, she’s been sampled by Drake, John Mayer, and James Blake, while Patti Smith has recently praised and covered Wilson’s 2016 breakout single “Work.” “Everything I do in my life is catered to making sure that I stay inspired,” Wilson reflects. “I feel like, in general, we get so much less imaginative as we age, and I see it in the people around me. But I feel like I’m heading in the opposite direction, where I'm just getting started again after my little frozen period in the middle of my career. I have the desire to create everyday.”

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