Interview: Charlotte Eriksson // The Glass Child
Charlotte Eriksson has certainly made a name for herself after recently topping the Swedish charts with her February 2013 single, “I Will Take You Home.” Charlotte or “The Glass Child” was only 18 years old when she decided to make the big move to London to pursue her music, art, and writing. Since then, she has earned a substantial following online, with nearly 30,000 dedicated fans on her Twitter and Tumblr pages.
After four years of living in London, Charlotte has started Broken Glass Records where she has released 5 EPs. On top of that, she released a full-length album, I’d Like To Remain A Mystery which included her hit single from February 2013. Lemonade Magazine also named her the Breakthrough Indie Artist of the Year in 2013, she has been featured on the BBC6, and 3FM in the Netherlands.
Charlotte was kind enough to answer a handful of questions about her journey, some of the background behind her work, and her goals for the future.
Charlotte’s new album, I Must Be Gone and Live, Or Stay and Die was just released on October 21st. You can stream the album in its entirety here.
You’ve been quite busy for the last couple of years! Can you tell me a little bit about your journey moving from Sweden to London? Why did you decide to make that bold move as a young 18 year old?
I decided to leave Sweden and move to London for a lot of reasons. First, because since the day I discovered music and how much alive it made me feel, I’ve known that I want to spend my life chasing that feeling. But I also needed to leave in order to become the person I wanted to be. Build a life for myself that I could be proud of and excited about. I think it’s important to go and live by yourself at some point in your life to really learn what you’re all about.
You decided on the name “The Glass Child” as opposed to Charlotte Eriksson. What is the inspiration behind that?
The name The Glass Child stands for a lot of things that I’d like to remember, personally. The first song I ever wrote was called The Glass Child, and I wrote it because I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to be both strong and honest to myself at the same time. It reminds me of why I started to write music in the first place. I’m quite a shy and private person, so I think I also feel a bit safe and protected behind that name, instead of using my own name.
Writing, producing and releasing all my music all on my own is a way for me to keep 100% control of my own life and decisions. My music is not just a project or a career – it’s my life. With my own label, I don’t have to compromise my art to fit into the ideals of a bigger label. I also want to show other people, wanting to go after their dreams, that you don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission to do what you love, here and now today. If you want something bad enough there’s always a way to get there, you just have to be ready to fight for it.
Building on that, you have the recurring glass motif in both your name & in your label. What is the idea behind that?
The fragility of glass has always fascinated me. I find a lot of beautiful and mysterious stories and metaphors in the many meanings of hiding behind glass, or being as fragile as glass. When I was younger, I was a very guarded and shy kid. I never really trusted anyone, and people always told me that it was as if I was living behind glass; they could see me but never really reach me. I also often feel like I am a pretty strong person when I know what I want. When I find something I believe in, I go for it with all my heart and nothing can stop me. But at the same time, everything gets to me. Words, bad opinions, missing and rejections really get to me, and can break me in an instant. Again, I love the contradiction of strong and fragile.
What do you think is different about making music in the UK than in places like Sweden or the US?
I think, for me, it would be very hard for me to do what I do in Sweden. It’s such a small country and a lot of people are still very stuck in the traditional way of thinking when it comes to simply leading a life. You’re supposed to keep the same old rhythm of education, get a job, have stability, and not stand out too much. While in the US, I have a feeling that people are more open to new crazy ideas and innovation when it comes to things like location, independence, entrepreneurship, and especially the independent musicians movement. But when it comes to it, I’ve built my whole fan base online, through social media, so it doesn’t really matter where in the world you are if you just know how you want to build your life and reach out.
You recorded a song called “I Will Lead You Home” which benefitted cancer. Tell me a bit about that?
Yes, this was a single I released as a charity single for a a Swedish organisation called Ung Cancer. The single reached #2 on the Swedish iTunes chart and all the profit goes to the organisation. It just feels really good to be able to do something more with my music – to help others.
How did you land on the title for your 2nd album?
I Must Be Gone and Live, or Stay and Die is a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. When I read it, it just jumped out of the page and grabbed me. It stood for so many things that I hadn’t realized, or accepted by then, and the meaning that this line came to mean for me shaped my whole year. It stands for the fact that the comfortable thing in life is to just settle. Settle into a safe and slow way of living, with no risks, highs and lows. But if you simply stay, you don’t get anywhere. You need to keep going, no matter what. As long as you are moving, you will get somewhere.
Who are your main sources of inspiration (music, literature, style, etc.)?
I am inspired by a lot of different writers, authors and songwriters. I read everything from Jack Gilbert, Buskowski, and Virginia Woolf, to self development books by Robert Greene and Steven Pressfield. I will also always be a fan of music in the first place, and I listen to tons of different bands and genres. Some of my favorite bands are Trevor Hall, Brand New, Ben Harper, and Ben Howard.
You will be releasing your next single, “ Yesterday” on October 28th. A little background on that track?
This is probably the most personal and honest song I’ve ever written, and I will release it together with a beautiful music video, hand made and drawn by my friend Susan Merrick. She’s an amazing artist and I’m so honoured to collaborate with her on this video.
Anything else you’d like to add?