We meet up with Charlotte Church amid the early stages of a reinvention that sees her rise up from the woman we’ve known as child, teenager and young adult into something entirely of her own making.
It’s a brave move for someone who, as Elizabeth Day wrote in The Guardian, has ” been part of our collective celebrity consciousness for so long”. Church had sold 10 million records by the time she was 22. Now, post-Leveson and following a series of albums that seemed to mostly embody someone else’s idea of what she should be, the 27-year old former classical starlet has opted for an under-the-radar approach to making music. Playing a set of low-key shows around the capital over the last year and putting out a series of five EPs is a deliberate move that’s helping her hone a performance ethic very different to the one she was raised with.
Somehow, it works. Questions of authenticity might linger with some who have trouble accepting her move to a more left-field sound but Church has greater claims to authenticity than most. If 2013 is about a pop music that embodies an artist-controlled aesthetic, sound and dynamic, Church’s career trajectory is entirely in-line and on-message
We took Charlotte to The Great Eastern Bear, a gallery on the site of a former brothel in London’s East End, for her Best Fit Session. Her performance of ‘Nerve’ (from the Two EP which drops today) clips back the nine-minute track to a respectable five and hints further as to the compelling path she’s on. Later this month she heads to SXSW for shows that see her sandwiched between the likes of Diamond Rings and Fallulah, followed up by dates in LA, San Francisco, New York and Toronto.
When we meet Church, she’s as articulate, warm and down-to-earth as one would hope. Brimming with enthusiasm, we talk about her love for Sufjan Stevens and Björk. Once the cameras start rolling, she’s the most complicit and least diva-like subject we’ve ever worked with, striving for perfection as part of a band as well as the front-woman.