Five Minutes with Charlotte Lawrence: The 22-year-old singer bringing unfiltered intimacy to the world of pop

HUNGER catches up with the LA native following the release of her latest single, ‘Bodybag’.

Charlotte Lawrence is a name you’ll hear time and again when discussing the new wave of US pop. The singer-songwriter released her first EP, Young, in 2017, introducing her to millions of listeners endeared by her authenticity and relatability. Since then, the Los Angeles native spent several years sharpening her vocal and lyrical skill set, culminating in 2021’s adored project, Charlotte. On the EP, Lawrence displayed maturity beyond her years, touching on subjects such as anxiety and addiction whilst displaying newfound confidence through her songwriting. Lawrence is an artist who allows you an unfiltered glimpse into her world and psyche thanks to her intoxicating melodies and visceral lyricism. So, it’s no surprise the talent has quickly built up such an incredibly loyal following.

To describe Lawrence as just a musician would be doing the 22-year-old a disservice. Lawrence was recently enlisted to appear in a starring role in the upcoming Apple TV+ show Bad Monkey, while she’s also making a name for herself in the fashion world – walking for and being styled by YSL. And Lawrence’s upward trajectory shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In March, she released her first single of 2023, titled ‘Bodybag’. The heart-wrenching track is an ode to those relationships you know are nearing their end, but you’re holding on with every inch of your being. The ballad will be featured on Lawrence’s upcoming album, set to drop later this year. And if this teaser is anything to go by, we’d recommend some tissues on standby for the first listen – despite Lawrence promising at least some “sweetness” on the project. Here, Lawrence sits down with HUNGER to discuss the inspiration behind ‘Bodybag’, what to expect from her album and her love, hate relationship with TikTok. 

Congratulations on the release of your new single, ‘Bodybag,’ can you talk to us a bit about the inspiration for that track?

Thank you! The inspiration behind the song is honestly just my life. My experiences, my heartbreak, my emotions. I feel I write my best when I’m being vulnerable and honest.

Your lyrics are often introspective, and you’re not afraid to put your vulnerable side out there; where does that confidence come from?

Thank you. Selfishly, I use songwriting as therapy, like a diary. I write exactly what I feel in that moment and use it to put all the pieces of my jumbled emotions together like a puzzle. I tend to push things down in my everyday life, and sometimes my feelings or what I want and don’t want can get confusing. I use writing to make sense of all that. I’m also very indecisive and distracted all the time. I feel sure of myself and focused when I create. I guess the confidence to actually release the music comes from my parents, though. They’ve always been my biggest fans and have always made me feel so talented and powerful.

What can we expect from your debut album? And how will it differ from your previous releases?

You can expect sadness, some dancing, anger and sweetness, and then more sadness, lol. The album has fun, upbeat songs and slow songs, but even the fast ones tend to lean darker or lonelier lyrically. I feel so happy and grateful in my life, but I struggled a bit personally when I was writing a lot of this music. I think it helped, though. I do feel that my best frickin songs (in my opinion) came from my shittiest life experiences. That doesn’t mean I’ll try to stay in the negativity or search for hardship just to fuel my writing; it just means I’ll revisit the moments that have passed and welcome the ones yet to come, knowing that everything heals. This project is very different from what I have put out in the past. I made a lot of it with Ben Gibbard and Andy Park, two of my favourite people in the world. It’s a lot of live instruments, truth and rawness. We chose to express ourselves in the way we wanted to without trying to be, or write for, anyone else. I’m really, really proud of it. I’d listen to the album if it weren’t mine. 

How does it feel to make waves in other creative avenues, such as fashion and TV? Was that always part of your plan?

Oh, it feels amazing! I love everything that makes me feel inspired, excited, and challenged and allows me to be passionate and artistic. The ability to be creative is my favourite gift of life, and I feel so lucky that I’m able to pursue all these different venues. I know how blessed I am and how rare it is to not only have passions but get to (attempt) to monetise them. It’s so cool, honestly. I want to make music, act, model, and be creative for the rest of my life if I can, even if it’s just seen by me. And maybe one other person. The acting was so much fun and sparked such a fire in me. I didn’t realise how much I’d truly love it until I tried it. I’ve been seeing this phenomenal acting coach, Anthony Meindl, and have just been trying to get better, and the more I learn from him, the more excited I feel. He pushes me and inspires me, and makes me want to go on as many auditions as (the collective) they will let me. I feel so grateful to be able to work with YSL. Everyone at YSL is so kind, generous, hardworking, and hilarious, and I’ve become good friends with the crew there. I truly love them. I can’t believe they even want to work with me. I get to travel across the world and sit at the most beautiful fashion shows in luxurious, breathtaking clothing. It’s a literal dream and my favourite clothing brand in the world.

How would you describe your creative process at the moment?

I’m really zoned into the visual aspect of the album right now. We are about to shoot the video for the next single, and the cover art, all the album artwork, etc. It’s very fun to put visuals to the songs. Visuals always give me a new perspective, like there’s a new meaning or colour attached to the song afterwards. And I have the most amazing team around me. Everyone is so smart and talented, and they help me turn my scattered-sometimes-frantic ideas into reality. I’ve also been doing a lot of fun things for ‘Bodybag’ and rehearsing for my upcoming show.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome that?

Oh my god, TikTok! I should understand it because of my age, but it is so wild to me. TikTok changed music and streaming. If your song goes viral on TikTok, you have the biggest song in the world. It didn’t use to be like that. No social media has ever done that before. It’s awesome but also scary. I love scrolling through it, I definitely go through addictive phases with it, and I love getting to discover beautiful artists from around the world that I probably wouldn’t have been able to hear without TikTok.

What’s a song in your playlist that nobody would expect to be there?

I’m pretty on the nose with my music taste. But maybe some French songs I love? ‘La Ritournelle’ by Sebastien Tellier. This one song from the tv show Victorious called ‘you don’t know me’ that I shamelessly listen to semi-frequently. There is also this song called ‘Enormous Penis’ by Da Vinci’s Notebook that made me giggle once. I put it on my massive playlist, and it will come on shuffle every now and then.

What song are you playing to get a party started?

‘Instant Crush’ by Julian Casablancas and daft punk. Honestly, anything by The Strokes or Daft Punk. Or recently, I’ve been playing ‘Champagne Coast’ by Blood Orange to get into the dancing spirit.

What’s been the biggest pinch-me moment in your career?

Oh gosh, I’ve had so many. Maybe performing at Governors Ball this past year, which is definitely the most recent. Getting to work with Ben Gibbard, that was effing awesome.

How would your younger self feel about the position you’re in now?

She would be in disbelief that we got to pursue our dreams, and she would be so proud of me. She would also criticise my style, lack of college education, my affinity for staying home, and my dancing. But we’d fist bump with pride.

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2023?

An album and a lot of smiles!

WriterChris Saunders