Pop Singer/Songwriter Charlotte Cardin Talks About Her Excellent New EP, A Week In Nashville, And Her Albums 99 Nights And Phoenix

Charlotte Cardin
Charlotte Cardin
(photo credit: Ellie Blondeau)

Over the past several years, Canadian singer/songwriter Charlotte Cardin has been an award-winning artist who has built a large following, particularly in Canada and Europe. Impressively, she has won six Juno Awards, including Album of the Year in 2022 for her debut album, Phoenix, and Album of the Year in 2024 for her second album, 99 Nights. And last year (2023), she had a U.S. chart hit with her single, “Confetti.”

Currently, Cardin has released a new EP called A Week In Nashville (on Atlantic Records), which contains some of her best songs and vocal performances. It features three songs that start out more acoustic and understated, but then build to full, dramatic arrangements, with lush strings and vocal harmonies. At the heart of these tracks is Cardin’s powerful, expressive lead vocals.

Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Charlotte Cardin, who talks about the making of her new EP, A Week In Nashville (written with Tofer Brown & Gabe Simon).


Cardin wrote and recorded the three songs on the EP—“Lonely With Our Love,” I Came Here To Leave You” and “Did Life Work Out For You”—with two top collaborators in Nashville: Tofer Brown (who’s worked with Noah Kahan, Lana Del Rey) and Gabe Simon (Keith Urban, Elle King). She had decided to go Nashville to co-write, and her collaborations went so well that she decided to release this EP. The three songs are very personal and vulnerable, and her heartfelt thoughts and feelings come through on these songs.

A Week In Nashville is Cardin’s first set of new songs since she released her album 99 Nights in August 2023. 99 Nights is a more diversified collection, with the songs “Confetti” and “99 Nights” having an uptempo, electro-pop sound, while the ballad “Next To You” having a more intimate, piano-based style. Another highlight is the unique song “Jim Carrey,” where Cardin dives deep into the actor’s quirky humor and playfully asks, “Jim Carrey, will you marry me?” (Carrey later called Cardin and told her he liked the song).

Cardin grew up in the town of Mount Royal on the island of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. She learned to play piano and guitar, and in 2013 she appeared on the TV show, The Voice. Then in 2016, she released her first EP, Big Boy, which led to her signing with Atlantic Records. In 2017, she released her second EP Main Girl, which included her popular song, “Main Girl.”

Here’s the audio of Charlotte Cardin’s song “Lonely with Our Love.”

It was in 2021 that Cardin had a breakthrough with the release of her first album, Phoenix. This album reached #1 on the Canadian chart, and was also successful in Europe. Notably, Cardin won four Juno Awards for Album of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (for Phoenix), Single of the Year (for “Meaningless”) and Artist of the Year.

Then in 2023, Cardin returned with her next album, 99 Nights, which won Juno Awards for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.

This month (June 2024), Cardin will be launching a major international tour. She’ll start with shows in Canada, and then she’ll travel to Europe to headline shows in France, Belgium, Turkey and other countries.

We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Charlotte Cardin. She discusses her new EP A Week In Nashville, her albums 99 Nights and Phoenix, and her songwriting.

DK: You’re from the town of Mount Royal on the island of Montreal. How did you get started with playing piano, singing and writing songs?

Charlotte Cardin: Music’s been a part of my life as far as I can remember. Both my parents are big music fans, so when I waas growing up there was always music playing around the house. Then I started taking singing lessons when I was about 7 years old, and I took singing lessons until I was 18…I loved it. And I loved singing and rehearsing at all the school recitals and talent shows.

So it all started with singing and playing the piano, and that led me to being interested in songwriting when I was a teenager. Music was one thing that belonged to me and that I knew I was good at, and it made me happy to do it.

DK: In 2013 you were on TV show, The Voice. Was that your first big break being on this show?

Cardin: It was my first professional experience as a singer. I didn’t win on The Voice, but it was a very good experience for a lot of reasons. It was not really representative of what the music industry is like…you don’t get to sing in front of millions of people every night with just a snippet of a song. Everything was disproportionate and it’s very different. But it was reassuring that it made me aware that people were interested in hearing my music, and there was an audience for what I did.

Here’s the audio of Charlotte Cardin’s song, “I Came Here
to Leave You.”

DK: In 2016 and 2017, you released your EPs Big Boy and Main Girl. Can you talk about those early releases?

Cardin: Big Boy was a special for me, because it was the first time releasing songs of my own. “Big Boy” was a song that I loved…tt’s stripped down, with just piano, vocals, a little electro drums. It felt like it was so aligned with me as a singer and artist, and to this day it’s representative of what I love in my music.

With the second EP Main Girl, I feel like I had a little more fun with the songwriting. I used to write everything alone, but I started co-writing for that EP. “Main Girl” was co-written with a few people, and I found out I loved co-writing. It’s allowed me to be a little more playful and adventurous with my songwriting and storytelling, and it opened up a lot of possibilities, because co-writing really changed my life. It’s something where I switched from a process of solitude and sadness at times, to something that’s so open to other people. Co-writing is vibing and telling stories, and getting those emotions out and sharing them. I feel that it made my life so much better since I discovered that.

DK: In 2021, you released your first album, Phoenix. Can you talk about the making of this album, and your favorite songs on it?

Cardin: Phoenix was a really long process…it took about four years to put out my first album. A lot of songs on there are very special to me, and the song “Phoenix” is one of them. It’s a song about learning to love yourself in order to be able to open your heart to someone else, and I think it’s still a very relevant theme in lots of ways. The song also introduced me to (writer/producer/artist) Lubalin, who is a very important friend and collaborator. He co-wrote “Phoenix” with me, and since then I’ve worked with him a lot more.

I’m very happy that I took the time to make that first album, because I think it’s so important in a career. I wanted it to tell a story, and be very aligned with who I was at the time, and explore different ways of telling that story. So “Phoenix” was an important song, and the song “Daddy” opened me up to be a little more indie, and a little more with a band.

Here’s the audio of Charlotte Cardin’s song, “Did Life Work
Out for You.”

DK: Last year, you released your second album, 99 Nights, which contained your hit, “Confetti.” Can you talk about the making of this album?

Cardin: 99 Nights was a fun album to work on. It was a very joyful process; I made that album with my friends. It was mostly made in Montreal. I was going through a lot when I was writing for that album. I called it 99 Nights because it was written during one summer; it was about 99 days of summer. It allowed me to spend beautiful moments in the studio, in a safe space with people I love who are creative and talented who inspire me. You’re basically hanging out with people who you love for three months, and you have the best time. And you share very vulnerable things and personal things, but in a space that you can turn those things into something beautiful.

DK: You’ve had success with your song, “Confetti.” How did you come up with the idea for this song?

Cardin: “Confetti” was one of those magical songwriting sessions. I wrote it with Lubalin, who co-wrote “Phoenix.” Lugalin ia a big introvert, and I consider myself an introverted person, and we really bonded over that. We were telling each other stories about how we’re the ones at parties who like to be a little more removed from the groups and the crowds. And it honestly felt as if the song unfolded on its own. In a few hours we had the entire song written. “Confetti” is my ode to introverts—it’s a party track for people who don’t necessarily love being at the party.

DK: I like your new EP, A Week In Nashville. How did you decide to go to Nashville and collaborate with Gabe Simon and Tofer Brown?

Cardin: I had been to Nashville many times before, when I toured there. But whenever you tour, you’re always in and out of cities, and we don’t get to experience and immerse ourselves in the vibe of the city. But then a year ago, I went to Nashville for the first time to actually spending time there. I had heard that the songwriting bubble there was really special, so I wanted to try it out and meet songwriters and musicians. And I fell in love with the city, and with the community The way that people share music there is so special; it’s all about elevating each other. It doesn’t feel competitive. It feels like producers want to introduce you to other producers they think you’d love working with. And they want to introduce you to their musician friends. Everyone is sharing music for the simple love of music, and that’s what I loved.

Here’s the lyric video of Charlotte Cardin’s hit, “Confetti.”

So I really bonded with Tofer Brown and Gabe Simon, and we wrote two of those songs during that trip. I had done a third song in Nashville earlier, so we made it a 3-song EP. They’re very vulnerable songs that are personal and intimate, and I wanted the musical arrangements to be the reflection of that as well. I wanted it to feel stripped down and to feel honest. I wanted it to be heartfelt, and for the emotion to come through as much as possible.

DK: Your three new songs—“Lonely With Our Love,” “I Came Here To Leave You” and “Did Life Work Out For You”—seem to be about love not working out, and breaking up. Is that the theme for these songs?

Cardin: It definitely is. It’s about love not always turning out the way you want or expect it to. I’ve been in a long distance relationship for a very long time, and we’re still together, but we’ve been doing long distance for almost eight years and it comes with a lot of challenges, a lot of questions. And so with these songs I’m telling my story, but I’m also telling a lot of people’s stories.

With “Lonely With Our Love,” I wrote it from the perspective that sometimes being together feels lonelier than being alone. And I don’t think you need to be in a long distance relationship to have felt that. Because you can be sitting next to someone and feel like there’s a big emotional gap between you. So these songs are very personal and vulnerable, and I love them because they made me feel better writing them. They help me process these emotions and put words on certain feelings that were overwhelming. And songwriting is beautiful for that in my life. It’s how we go through a lot.

DK: Now that you’ve released your new EP, have you already begun working on your next album?

Cardin: Yes. I’ve been writing a lot in the last few months, gathering ideas. The next album is starting to have a direction, but we’re still playing around with songwriting and figuring it out. It’s exciting…I love that part of the process.

DK: This year you’ll be launching a new international tour, with shows in Canada, France and other countries in Europe. Is Canada and Europe where you have the largest followings?

Here’s the video of Charlotte Cardin’s song, “Meaningless.”

Cardin: Yes, Canada and Europe are definitely my two main markets, with Canada being the primary market. I’m Canadian, so that’s where I’ve been touring the most and doing it for the longest time. I also like playing in Europe, especially France and Switzerland, and we had a lovely tour in Germany and fun shows in the U.K. And people are starting to discover my project a little more in the States. I play arenas back home (in Canada) and I play smaller venues in the U.S. But it’s nice, because it allows me to adapt to new situations, playing shows in bigger venues and in more intimate places. You get to do all these different things musically as well. So I love sharing music with as many people as possible. It’s a fun journey, and it’s been nice to be able to share with people from all over the world.

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima