Charlotte Day Wilson is ready for joy

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      The tapestry of our lives is held together by our relationships. Familial ties, friend breakups, and lovers’ quarrels become defining moments in our coming of age. Using music to mount these experiences, Charlotte Day Wilson is no longer looking at life with rose-coloured glasses. Instead, she’s seeing Cyan Blue.

      In 2021, Wilson’s debut album Alpha established her as a multi-hyphenate artist who produced, wrote, and sung her way to accolades like a Songwriter of the Year and R&B Soul Recording of the Year nomination at the 2022 Junos. The Toronto-raised artist also hard-launched herself into the pop culture stratosphere with a feature in season one of Euphoria with breakout single “Work”, which was quick to hit Spotify playlists—and Zendaya, Jacob Elordi, and Hunter Schafer fan edits across the internet.

      “What was nice about that album was just seeing how things continued to catch on over time,” she shares via phone. “Putting out music is a funny thing because you just never really know who’s gonna take to it, and when.”

      In this next chapter of her life as an artist with Cyan Blue (released on May 3), Wilson is sharing the producer chair, collaborating with R&B, pop, and soul giants like Leon Thomas III (SZA, Ariana Grande, Post Malone) and Jack Rochon (H.E.R, Daniel Caesar).

      “It gave me the perspective and ability to not get caught in the details,” she reflects. But before you listen to this tremendous body of work, be warned. Wilson’s buttery, deep, unfettered vocals and lyrics take the listener on a ride through all stages of relational grief.

      As we age, an inevitable hardening occurs. Unprecedented events in life pile down on us. In these capitalist and colonial systems, labour is often misplaced as your lifeforce. To cope, the child inside us becomes abandoned. Recognizing that music is a vessel for audiences to emote, Cyan Blue resists this evolution by putting words and melodies to the madness of our lives.

      Jessica Foley

      “At my core, I’m a very soft person; very sensitive and very easily moved,” Wilson admits. “I find a lot of beauty in the world around me, and I have gone through phases of my life where I haven’t felt that and instead felt like a stone woman. I was really scared that that’s what adulthood was going to feel like.”

      In an effort to romanticize her life, Wilson packed up and headed to Laurel Canyon to change her course.

      “My whole approach with my career right now is just to have fun. It sounds kind of basic, or it sounds obvious, but you can get lost a little bit in the pressures of being an artist,” she shares. “Anything that gave me a sense of romanticizing the situation—whatever was sparking my creativity, my sense of play and fun—I just leaned into.”

      Finding herself in an environment that isolated her from life’s pace of perpetual struggle, Wilson found hues of Cyan Blue on the horizon.

      “I have a bit of synesthesia with colors connecting to sound,” Wilson explains. “I was using a green-blue colour palette to inform all of my decisions, from the tone of a guitar to the shape of the lyric, to any sort of ambient texture in the background.”

      In the face of life’s grand expectations, it’s true that many of us are groomed to be emotionally avoidant. The realities of our life are often hard to reconcile with. And optimism is hard to maintain when your inner child is completely lost in the pressures of your present.

      “The inner child is something that I’m really always trying to connect back to” Wilson says. “I think that we are who we are from a very early age. For me there’s a continuous journey to reconnect with that version of myself that knew how to play and knew how to feel and knew how to experience joy in a really extreme way.”

      In comes Cyan Blue. In pursuit of this extreme joy, we’re reminded that one must first mourn what’s been lost. The irresistible soul of “Canopy” leads us into a setting enveloped by someone’s darkness. “It’s like a canopy, all that hate/And I’m above it, can’t live that way,” Wilson sings. But as she begs to escape a toxic environment, she turns towards us, the listeners, asking: “When the light comes through, am I the same as you?/Just a different shade of blue?”

      As a child, Wilson saw a lack of representation in queer relationships; as such, her definition of love was narrow.

      “I couldn’t see how it would ever happen for me, you know, just based on the trajectory that I was supposed to follow,” she admits. “I didn’t know if I would ever experience love.”

      Through the creation of Cyan Blue, Wilson has opened herself up to a new chapter of seeing life in different shades.

      “I think it’s changed for me now, knowing the type of love that I can have in a queer relationship,” she adds. “One where I’m encouraged and allowed to indulge in my sensitivities.”

      Wilson’s sensuous, comforting vocals suggest that angst, sadness, joy, and peace are all intertwined. Cyan Blue will have you seeing life in colour again. But first, you must feel it all.

      Charlotte Day Wilson plays the Vogue on May 17.