BEHIND THE MUSIC OF CHARLOTTE JOHANSEN
The Full Story
Charlotte Johansen writes pop music with an alternative twist, inspired by vivacious singer/songwriters like Michelle Shocked, Sinead O’Connor, Ani Difranco, and P J Harvey.
At the age of 21 she was singing a Sinead O’Connor song in her flat in Christchurch, she thought that no-one else was home and suddenly she started singing in a way she never had done before. What makes this moment stick in Charlotte’s mind other than finding her voice, was that her flat mate appeared at the top of the landing asking her to be quiet because she was meditating. “I’d never experience this kind of projection in my voice before and I knew in that moment what I wanted to do with my life, and that was to write and sing.”
She spent the next couple of years hitch-hiking around the south island, writing, working seasonal jobs and playing music around campfires.
On one rainy night in Golden Bay she hooked up with some other musicians, formed a band called Plum, played one show and then disbanded.
In 1996 she returned to her home town of New Plymouth, met up with some great musicians, friends and spent time jamming, working and performing in local theatre.
Realising she needed a change of scene Charlotte made her way to Auckland and spent time training to be a teacher but in the end that didn’t really work out for her. “Music was like an itch I had to scratch and if I wasn’t writing or performing I’d have this feeling that something was missing.”
In 2001 she followed her kiwi boyfriend to Toronto, who was off to play in a 2 piece punk band and Charlotte decided she wanted to travel and play music.
Charlotte was following her heart-the music and the boy. Her independently released debut album," There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground", was recorded in Canada in 2002 and was her first step in becoming a recording artist.
Returning to New Zealand in 2003 Charlotte continued playing and writing. Charlotte won 2nd place at the York Street Studio Acid Test, a national performance and songwriting competition held at the Temple bar in Auckland.
In June 2004 Charlotte was invited back to Canada to play their biggest annual music event; North by North East [NXNE]. Charlotte was the only New Zealand musician out of 400 acts who participated. While there, she recorded another 5 songs that she released in NZ the following year. This offering was "Yes Charlotte" and she toured the country playing over 18 shows in 3 weeks.
Her guitar playing combined with insightful lyrics began to speak directly to her audience and she picked up fans wherever she played.
Charlotte spent the next two years writing more songs, and honing her songwriting craft.
Since 2007 Charlotte has been concentrating on raising her daughter with her husband (that kiwi punk boyfriend) in West Auckland where she has continued to play gigs and write, organising music nights for other West Auckland musicians and developing her latest offering, her third album “Upon waking…dream.“
I wrote the title about 15 years ago, but I didn’t actually write the song until last year. I knew what it was about but perhaps I needed to grow up and experience life, to really understand it. To me it means when you wake up to who you are and who you can be, you can make your dreams a reality.”
Charlotte has returned to New Plymouth to raise her two children with her husband. She continues to perform as a soloist, she is part of the Ladies 80s Choir and has also developed another live performance act called Char Char Gabor