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Charlotte Sands On Acceptance, Growth & Feeling ‘Good Now’

Photo by Dillon Jordan

There are few artists who have had a rise to stardom in the last few years quite like Charlotte Sands has. From collaborating with her heroes to realising exactly who she wants to be, it’s been an incredible and inspiring journey to watch and be a part of. Shifting from her pop roots into a sound that pulls from pop-punk and post-hardcore as much as straight-up emotional rock, she is more comfortable and confident in her heart and soul than ever before.

That is defined by her new EP Good Now. A culmination of the last 12 months in sonic form, it is vulnerable, vibrant and viciously catchy. A warts and all look at what it means to show your innermost feelings to the world and what it means to have a community and place where you can be that stark. It is her best work to date. And yet, it is still only the beginning of this leg of her adventure.

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To find out more, we sat down for a catch-up with Charlotte in a quiet moment to go over every ebb and flow she has experienced and how that is inspiring her as she looks forwards…

As busy as you have been over the last two years, what would you say were the things that stuck with you the most about what you have experienced? How did they reflect in what you ended up writing for this EP?

“A huge thing for me has been how I spent a lot of time doing what I thought other people wanted from me. I’m such a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy, so what can I do to accomplish that? And it got to the point where I was sacrificing what I wanted and replacing what was best for me in my relationships and career.

“I got to the point in the last year where I knew I wanted to be known within the rock scene and for making music that lives there. I love it so much. But I also want to be a pop artist and have huge productions and play stadiums and opening for those sorts of artists. I think for a while. I was figuring out whether or not I should release a certain kind of music because it would move me away from a certain sort of person.

“So that’s when I let go of all of it. I don’t care anymore. The human level of me cares so much about everybody’s opinion of me, but it comes with this debilitating pressure. Either I have to let go of it all, or I will sing and say what I want. And if I get it wrong, I step back, work on it, and go again. I’ve realized that I have to make myself happy. For me to be able to do this as long as possible, that has to come first.

“As much as I care about opinions, I have to let go to be able to create the best possible art and feel healthy doing it. I’ve started being more straightforward in what I want people to think of when they hear my songs. It’s about letting go of control regarding things you can’t control. That’s been eye-opening.”

Has working with so many artists who have made peace with themselves helped that? You have songs with MOD SUN, Underøath, The Maine, and so many scene legends. How have they helped you reach this place?

“I have learned from The Maine especially. Working with them, touring and being friends with them has been a crazy experience. They are such a great example of having a sustainable career in this scene and a healthy life. Still such good friends who all love each other and what they do so much. They have fun, find ways to enjoy the ride, and keep putting out better music.

“Being able to witness that has been a really cool thing. They are kind to every single person at every single venue they play, from the bands to the staff. The smallest things ever, they will acknowledge. Those tiny little actions and moments they have taken have allowed them to make this community that they have. I’m more aware of these things now for myself, and I put those things into practice in my shows and my days. That’s how you do it. That’s how you stay happy.”

It’s remarkable when you focus on those little things and the relationships formed. The love, the loss, the laughter that comes with life, or even not having time for those things. In another life, you would probably have all these things figured out, but you’re moving so fast that you are still learning as you go. But when you can nail it and know how the scales work, that’s when you know you can make progress as a person and the artist you want to be…

“One of the challenges for me has been touring. My lifestyle, mood, and emotions completely differ from who I am at home and writing songs. They are different jobs. One is a performer, and the other is a writer. It’s so separate that it feels like multiple identities. So finding ways to go from switching back and forth between those things – playing a show, flying five hours to do a session, flying five more hours for another show – and checking in with my parents and friends- is a lot. That’s the way for many people’s lives, but the hard part comes from the constant inconsistency of emotions and expectations. It’s something to figure out, and I don’t think many people have figured it out. You have to be intentional with it, and it’s all part of the process.

“But that’s what I think is so fun about the songs on this EP. They are all different perspectives on this entire journey. Some are, ‘This is really fun, and who cares whether things are spiralling out of control’. Then others are, ‘This does not feel good, and I don’t think I should be doing this right now’. There are ones where I feel sorry for myself and others where I don’t. It’s so true to me as a person. I always return to the center, but I must go through the whole spectrum to get there. This EP is that whole wheel, all of the things that I experienced. I’m just taking everyone along on this journey.”

You could go through that cycle but then choose not to write songs about it. Let’s separate your journey from your art. But for it to be so close, fresh, and honest, it would be a disservice for you not to document these things. And Good Now as a title will reflect this time in a special way when you look back on it in the future. Reminding you that you made it and that you were okay…

“What is so cool for me is that I feel better when I put these songs out. It feels like when you are journaling and writing all your emotions down. When I journal and write things down, it feels like they are coming out of my body and my mind, and it takes some of the weight off and puts it somewhere else. Those feelings are still there and still valid, but I can pick to go back to it if I want to. I can choose it, but it doesn’t have control over my current state of mind.

“Writing songs, in general, gives me the same feeling. I can’t exist if this feeling follows me around like a cloud, so I write it into a song. Happy or sad, it’s getting it out. Then on top of that, people can relate to that and feel their own sense of peace. That’s the coolest thing in the world, someone connecting to something you thought nobody would ever understand.”

And in the quiet moments, you can reflect on what those connections have given you. Touring with YUNGBLUD, opening for My Chemical Romance, people singing your words back to you. The size of those moments cements the intentions you had doing this. You went in at the deep end and have grasped it all with both hands…

“There’s nothing else I would rather do. All the highs and lows that haven’t even happened yet, I’m prepared and excited for the experience. I’m excited that I get to be here and do something that I love with people that I love. The fact I get to wake up every day and live my dream is something that most don’t get. I’m fortunate and aware of how rare that is. So I will find joy in it as much as I can. I will create when I want to, release when I want, and make every moment as exciting as possible. I’m so proud of what we have achieved so far and what we are going to do.”

And you are saying, “And what we are going to” is the most important thing. Even you know this is only the beginning. And you are already thinking about what is coming after Good Now and how it will leave it in the dust…

“To say, ‘Wait until you hear the next stuff’ when this EP is only just out is so funny. But honestly, I went through a lull. I toured for eight months last year; I barely wrote any songs; I was super down because I felt so happy touring but lost creatively. But this year, taking time to focus on writing with new people has allowed me to be in a position of overwhelming confidence. That’s in who I am, in what I want to say, everything. I feel exactly where I need to be and doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

“Sometimes there is so much friction that I feel things aren’t right and something is off. To exist in that space for months means that growing pains are happening, and there is space for things to change. Even in this past week, there has been a huge change for me. The machine is working correctly again. I feel so confident in what I’m doing and what I want to do. It’s so exciting to be a part of something that works and is enjoyable. The music I am making now is my favourite music that I have ever made, and the wait is going to be worth it.”

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