Fans clutter the front sidewalk at The Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. "We've been here since 1:30! We want to be upfront." 200 fans and supporters prepare to join Charlotte Martin for the intimate recording of her debut live DVD. Witnessing one of Charlotte's emotionally charged performances confirms what most hardcore fans already know one show is never enough.
In 2003, RCA Records released In Parentheses, a captivating four-song snapshot foreshadowing Charlotte's full-length album, On Your Shore. The EP was recorded and co-produced alongside Ken Andrews (Pete Yorn, Year of the Rabbit) in Charlotte's studio and Atlantis in Hollywood, CA. Details described her as "a seductive performer" and "a skilled lyricist who writes with surgical precision," and Interview called her "an impressive newcomer with an unforgettable display of emotions."
On Your Shore, released in 2004, further opened the door to Charlotte's striking meditations on faith, determination, and love. Co-produced with Ken Andrews, much of the musical backing was recorded live and featured bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Macy Gray) and drummer Joey Waronker (REM, The Eels). The album was deceptively simple and equally impassioned with beautiful, bittersweet melodies, and harmonic textures. Billboard applauded Charlotte's full-length debut, "the classically trained singer/pianist draws comparisons to Kate Bush and Tori Amos. That said, her songwriting, production, and voice distance her from those two artists, while her often dark lyrics differentiate her from such contemporaries as Norah Jones or Alicia Keys." Studio M Live described the album as "intense, catchy, unwavering, and brutally honest" and selected On Your Shore as one of the "top 10 CDs of 2004."
Touring in 2003-2004 with Matt Nathanson, Damien Rice, The Cardigans, and Howie Day, Charlotte ventured beyond the Los Angeles music scene, securing fans in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. The New York Times and The Boston Globe graciously praised her mesmerizing live performances.
With two major label releases and several supporting tours to her credit, Charlotte faced the heart-pounding decision to either move forward with RCA Records or leave the label entirely. "I left because I felt I was at a point in my career where I had enough of a fan base to do it on my own." Charlotte clarifies, "we left friendly. I just didn't want to give them my second LP."
By June of 2005, Charlotte was gearing up for her first headline tour and promoting her self-released EP, Darkest Hour on Test-Drive Records. The tour-exclusive EP was an emotional explosion of layered vocals and intricate harmonies enveloped by her bona fide inner-pianist. For the first time, Ken Andrews, with guitar in-hand, joined Charlotte onstage during the "Darkest Hour" tour. Each night, they paired-up, bringing some of Charlotte's most dynamic tracks, "Chasing a Shadow" and "Pretty Thing," to a new, riveting dimension.
November brought forth the release of Charlotte's most recent studio recording, Veins and two headlining tours. Veins, released on Test-Drive Records, brought together Charlotte's musical counterparts–Ken Andrews, Beth Katte, Emily Wright (Ben Harper, Abandoned Pools), Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and Joey Waronker–for intense explorations of dimension and reaction. Musical Discoveries awarded the EP a five-star rating, "the EP opens with the robust self-titled rocker, crisp percussion perfectly underscoring piano and Charlotte's powerfully soaring voice. The singer's vocal excursions reach through her range and are filled with emotional energy supporting the lyrical message."
Among the collection's many highlights was the heartrending "Four Walls." WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia, PA and 99x Everything Alternative in Atlanta, GA added the lead single to their on-air rotations and helped Charlotte perform to sold-out audiences in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.
The fall tour concluded with one of Charlotte's most endearing performances the recording of Something Like A DVD. "I keep changing elements live and in the studio. My audience expects a freshness and spontaneity that I create only live," Charlotte explains. Fans traveled from Japan, New York, Illinois, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, New Jersey, and California to write a new chapter in Charlotte's career.
"It was her obvious sincerity and affection towards her audience that ultimately made her such a compelling live act. If her performance at The Silent Movie Theater is any indication, she has many successful years in front of her," cheers Music Connection.
The DVD combines mesmeric live performances, rare behind-the-scenes tour footage, recording sessions from In Parentheses and On Your Shore, and lighthearted fan interviews to create a comprehensive and unique documentary about Charlotte. While the DVD ends promotional touring for On Your Shore, it catapults her onward and foreshadows upcoming tours and recordings. Charlotte continues, "the songs I've been playing live over the past three years have really turned into different songs almost. My recordings and albums are sometimes heavily dense with a lot of percussion and layering lots of vocal layering and effects. Early on, I toured with only a piano, but over the past three tours, I've brought out different pianos, keyboards, tracks and other electronic elements that reinvent some of the songs."
The Something Like A DVD North American tour begins in early March of 2006. On May 1, 2006 the DVD is available worldwide courtesy of Musictoday, iTunes, Amazon, and IndiEclectic.
Something Like A DVD segues into Charlotte's sophomore full-length album, Stromata. "Stromata is my most experimental work to date," Charlotte hints. The release of the new LP is expected in 2006.