Charlotte Church: ‘I didn’t have a clue what I was doing’

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Since she was just 11 years old, Charlotte Church’s life and career have been known across the globe.

The classical singer sang for the Pope, the President of the United States and became the youngest artist with a number one album on the British classical crossover charts with Voice Of An Angel.

Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church

She looks back at the time with a mixture of fondness and difficulty, and believes now she is right where she needs to be with music.

Leaving her record label in 2011, Charlotte’s recent EPs, including Three which is released on August 26, have all been recorded in her garage at home, alongside her partner Johnny and bassist Jamie.

Speaking during a break from working in the studio, Charlotte’s conversation is sprinkled with expletives.

The mother-of-two says: ‘I feel like I haven’t left the recording studio for the past 15 years, which is kind of true.’

‘When I was younger I wasn’t constantly feeling. I have taken some time out,’ she explains, ‘and I’ve had a family. I’ve figured out what I want to sing and what I want to sing about.’

Heading out on a national tour in September, the songstress will be making just one festival appearance this summer – at the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Charlotte explains: ‘We thought it will be nice to get out and perform, especially as we’ve been stuck inside recording for this whole beautiful summer.’

The Welsh soprano may be well-known for her classical career but in 2005 she also branched out with her first pop album, Issues and Tissues. In 2010, after having her two children Ruby and Dexter with boyfriend Gavin Henson, she returned to the music industry to release Back To Scratch.

The following year she left her record label behind and set up on her own. Now she’s about to release her third EP from a planned five.

‘It’s such an exciting process writing the material in the studio and figuring out how we want to do it live. It’s a lot of fun,’ says Charlotte.

‘At the festival we will be doing music from the new EP, some off EP2 and maybe even EP4. I think it’s only a 45 minute set so you just have to try and get it right, and make the best music you can.’

Thinking about her new music it’s clear to see how much Charlotte is enjoying creating it, and she loves the people around her.

She says: ‘This group of musicians I’ve put together, and coupled with the way I sing, is pretty different.

‘It’s very enjoyable and we put a lot into our live shows and the music in general. It’s basically my partner Johnny, Jamie and me, we are the three song writers. We put a lot of emotion into it.’

But working from home can sometimes be a challenge.

‘It’s awesome and difficult too because you can’t leave work at work. You can spend the day there but then you’ve got an idea for something else. We are all pretty crazy to be fair.’

When Charlotte thinks of her time at the heart of the music industry, she sees it as a completely different place to where she is now. She partly regrets using her instantly recognisable name at the forefront of her recent music.

She says: ‘ It’s an entirely different experience now. It’s more of a band project and I wish I had put it under a band name I think. People will see my name and I don’t want them to see Charlotte Church, you know what I mean? It’s a totally different thing.’

After a recent visit to Latitude festival she was shocked at the amount of backing track that is used in some artists’ performances. She adds: ‘I’ve grown up and got through that. I’m free of the machine, which is the record industry. It feels great just to be performing with a live band.’

So concerned with the sound of her music that the decision to release 5 EPs gradually instead of one or two albums is to allow Charlotte and her band more creative freedom.

‘I think the music industry is a totally different beast to what it was. It’s not just albums anymore and a lot of people are just releasing singles to test the waters.

‘I wanted to let our sound grow as a band and we are constantly learning and constantly trying to be better.’

She adds: ‘It’s such a huge change from anything anyone has heard from me before. I listen to a lot of music and music is my life.’

For the songstress, it’s all about the emotion: ‘I think that’s the important part of music – to make people feel emotion.’

Charlotte’s plans for the future are to keep going as she is. Happy with the music she is making, she has complete control. But collaborations are a possibility.

‘I’d love to collaborate more because that’s where the magic happens. It’s amazing to be with creative minds, whether that be a band or a producer. I’m looking forward to picking other people’s brains and finding out how they do it.’

Through her years in the spot light, Charlotte has seen much more than the average 27-year-old.

She agreed a settlement of £600,000 with News Group Newspapers last year - publishers of the defunct News of the World – after her phone was hacked when she was just 16 years old.

Charlotte says: ‘It was mental and brilliant. It was a lot of things all at one time. While I had a lot of fun sometimes it was pretty difficult.

‘I was so young and it was a difficult industry. You have to learn quickly and naivety doesn’t stick around for long. But I think I was so little even when I was doing the pop stuff. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.’

Charlotte Church will be performing with her band at the Victorious Festival at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Sunday, August 25. Tickets: £15 on (023) 9283 9766 or go to historicdockyard.co.uk.