Charlotte Church lets the music do the talking at Moles in Bath
From child prodigy to tabloid headline maker, Charlotte Church seems to have been in the public eye for a lot longer than her meager 27 years suggests.
With her focus back on music, and a return to the live music with a date at Bath's Moles on Wednesday, The Guide spoke to the Welsh singing sensation to find out more:
The Guide: Firstly, you have lived so much of your 27 years in public, does it feel good to have the focus back on making music?
Charlotte: It feels awesome to get back to where my heart lies, which is firmly in the belly of music!
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I've missed performing and creating. Whether that be in the writing process, arrangement or production.
Could you tell us a little about the music you're making now – style, direction and vibes?
It's almost impossible to categorise, which I think is a good thing and genre defining is tedious.
I would like for the listener to decide. Everybody would probably place it differently anyway.
You are working on a series of EP releases. Why did you choose this format?
It is a much freer, fresher way to do things. The material and style can be constantly evolving and growing when recording a series of EPs. I'd love to do an album at some point, but for where I am right now it's all about EPs.
I'm guessing you're confident that creativity is high then?
For the first time in my career I'm taking the helm. I'm surrounded by some excellent creative minds, but ultimately the buck stops with me, which is scary but exhilarating as well.
I'm much happier doing it this way, without having men in suits tell me "the synth is a bit weird" or "the beat doesn't appeal to the right demographic".
The songs are often scenarios that move me. I think every writer draws from their experiences but it would be a very dull listen if I were to draw solely from my own.
There's three of us who write the material so there's plenty of ideas to bat about.
With the buck stopping with you, and factoring in your past, do you feel like there is a sense of unnecessary pressure put on you to deliver?
If you look at the age most successful creative musicians are when they get their success, it's about the age I am now.
I try not to look at my musical past as baggage, more as a run up to the real thing. I've got to prove myself to people sure, and there will always be those who won't like me or what I do, but ultimately what I've got to do is put out what I deem to be the best music I can.
Which vocalists and musicians do you admire?
I went to see Bjork do Biophilia in Paris only the other week. She's a huge deal for me. Although strangely not so much vocally.
Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens are pretty constant as well. Deerhoof are the band that's blowing my mind at the moment.
Your big TV break predates the whole current fame-hungry celebrity culture and shows such as Pop Idol, X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent … How do you feel about those kind of shows?
They won't be around forever.
The way I see it is there's always been crap at the top of the charts ... look at Crazy Chick.
I think what's a shame about those shows is that they get talent in, albeit generally young kids emulating their favourite singers, then systematically spoil it.
A musician needs nurturing, not exploitation.
On a similar note the internet has blown the music industry wide open. Do you see this as a good thing and would you have any messages of advice for aspiring talent?
When a viral idea is coupled with genuine talent, great. It's not a new concept really.
When it gets exploitative then yes, it's awful. The tragedy is that a singer under the age of 21 who gets snapped up and packaged because they posted a great cover of a James Blake tune on youtube, will most likely be chewed up and spat out after one record.
I was lucky, because when I came to fame none of the social networking sites existed, so there wasn't a younger prettier version round the corner.
I was still a commodity, but there wasn't the pressure then to find the next new thing quite so quickly.
Pop's a cruel industry getting crueler.
Why did you choose a small club like Moles to showcase material?
I'm mates with Kill It Kid who are from Bath, and they said it was a great venue to play. I'm building up to go to SXSW and then do a mini tour of the USA so I wanted some good venues to warm up for that.
We've got two drummers, so it's going to be pretty beats heavy.
Lots of synths and other electronic jiggery-pokery. It's gonna be a blast.
It's sounding pretty badass in rehearsal, I've got to say.
Any musician will tell you it's nicer playing to a smaller room.
Big stages give you a certain rush, but there's nothing quite like being able to see the whites of everyone's eyes.
What are your plans for the rest 2013 … Is Charlotte Church 2013 all about positivity?
Well the diary is getting fuller and fuller at the minute, so I'll have to work out if I'll have a chance to breathe.
Every year is about positivity, so I say 2013 is all about radishes ... More radish for everyone. Locally sourced of course.
Charlotte Church plays Moles, Bath, on Wednesday. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12.