Writing all of these features on talented singers and musicians has forced me to confront the fact that I can carry a tune about as well as I can say no to a chocolate digestive – it’s simply not in my skill-set. Whilst it is nice to maybe have an explanation as to why cars erratically pull over when I’m singing my way down the road with my window open… also as to why the shopping centre had to be evacuated when I was browsing in HMV that time… I can’t help but feel a little sad that it’s highly unlikely someone will be writing about my vocal prowess any time soon. What is admirable about the really great artists, however, is that regardless of your own talent (or lack thereof) they inspire you to entertain the idea of packed audiences and critical acclaim, even if just for a short while. They incite hope in the hopeless and, whilst that may be rather dangerous in my case, encouraging creativity and self-expression in people is an incredibly worthwhile pursuit.
The artist inspiring me to practice my banshee babble this week is Charlotte Ashdown.
Charlotte Ashdown-Aint That Kinda Girl
Hard to pin to one definitive genre, Ashdown’s music embodies the silky ease of soul, the impulsive groove of funk and the accessibility of pop, creating a sound that is musically accomplished yet effortless for the ear. It’s eclectic and engaging with inventive keyboard riffs and a vocal bursting with personality. The whole set-up was assembled as recently as last year, yet Ashdown and her band have managed to create a unique and considered style that really sets them apart from the crowd. The potential is vast and as she continues to define and grow into her sound I think the soul singers of the charts will glance behind themselves ever more anxiously.
There is a quiet power to her voice which she unleashes just enough to impress without needing to win her audience over with the prolonged belting blasts you know she’s capable of (check out her Beyonce-Listen cover!) Her range is extensive and natural in execution as it dances over the ambient guitar and mellow keys; vocal and instrumental accompaniment are as suited to one and other as socks and feet. Outside of her own style her tone has an noticeably cool affinity with chillstep and electro music, making her potential as a recording artist even more obvious. This particular track she worked on with OjO is a great example and such a good track. I’ve been listening to it somewhat obsessively.
OjO-Down The Road (Feat. Charlotte Ashdown)
The musical maturity of Charlotte Ashdown’s original sound is wonderfully contrasted by the contemporary lyrics penned by the artist herself and inspired by her own personal experiences. Her writing style brings a strong current relevance to the more traditionally-influenced aspects of the music. Her clear diction and confident vocal projection communicate lyrics of the irritation of shallow propositions and freedom from past relationship hangups in an almost conversational manner, making her a very congenial artist . Also, after watching her various videos on YouTube it is clear that Ashdown is as accessible and endearing off record as she is on.
It is very refreshing to see young musicians embrace different styles of music and use their influences to create an informed individual style of their own. This particular musician matches originality with charming likeability so effectively that you can’t help but enjoy her work. She is an invigorating talent and her debut tracks relay exciting promise of things to come. I am in no doubt that we’ll soon be hearing Charlotte Ashdown’s dulcet tones and that infectious laugh much louder and much more frequently.