Photographs by Dakota Arsenault
Charlotte Day Wilson is a Toronto artist cracking everything from neo soul to jazz to R&B to, as of her two sold-out shows at The MOD Club during Canadian Music Week, 80s-esque atmospheric rhythms. Over the last year, her name has made rounds throughout Toronto and beyond, her music finding its way into an iPhone commercial and Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. If the endorsements from publications like Pitchfork and The Fader aren’t convincing enough, let’s reaffirm the thesis: Charlotte Day Wilson is Toronto’s next breakout star.
While she could have easily provided the evidence by strictly drawing from last year’s EP CDW, Wilson instead packed in a whole slew of new music in her hour-long set, busted out a saxophone, and successfully requested silence as she performed a new ballad. Though she expressed her nervousness around live performances, Wilson presented her silky smooth vocals so confidently and convincingl, forcing eyes to close and get lost in her vibe. CDW favourites like “Work” and “Find You” naturally found bigger reactions, and were more powerful than what was set forth in her independently-released EP.
The new material, however, proved to be a bigger confirmation that Wilson is an artist that pushes past genre confines, and does so compellingly well. Her artistic identity pulls from influences like Arthur Russell and Feist; her hometown Toronto and her post-secondary home, Halifax; her classical training; her independence; and as she told Kevin Ritchie at Now Toronto, her desire to express the female perspective in her work. She is a creator who is building a space that’s truly her own; unrestricted by sonic boxes, driven by a rich voice in every respect, entirely self-produced, and grippingly good in the face of all of it. It’s best to keep an eye on what comes out of it next.