Behind the Track

Behind the Track: Charli White

6th July 2018

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What was the inspiration/is there a story behind your track?

There wasn’t so much a concrete story that inspired ‘Sanctuary’, more of a feeling. I like songs that prompt questions rather than give away too many answers, that allow people to make their own judgement and take from it what they want to – so I won’t say too much. But, the song is rooted in conflict—conflicting emotions and conflicting thoughts. The conflict is both in the lyrics and the music, which kind of reflects the conflict I feel in myself a lot of the time, as well as the conflict we feel in opening up and trusting someone. That’s what the song is really centred around. There’s a certain colour and energy about the song that is created through that, I think.

How did you write this song?

I always write the music first, then the lyrics. For me, the feel of the music inspires lyrics that I probably otherwise wouldn’t write. It means I can craft more prosodic lyrics—lyrics that mirror what is happening in the music. That connection is really important for me. I write mostly on my own in the first stages of a song, then take it to the band (Dejeanté Hinks, James Sampson, Connor Crossland) when I feel like I might be onto something. For ‘Sanctuary’ they wrote their own parts. They kind of just naturally slotted in around the parts I had already written, and it just clicked into place. I don’t think it would have been as easy as that if I didn’t have the band—I’m very lucky to have such talented people around me. They seem to know what I want from a song before I even know myself.

Do you have a favourite line/section of the song?

There’s something about the line ‘And I fall, into the abyss, where you ooze gold, and I cry crystals in my sleep’ that’s always stuck with me. It paints this romanticised, almost ethereal image of pain, which I like because I feel like we often do see pain as something romantic. It kind of brings together the whole concept of ‘Sanctuary’, the idea of loving fiercely, regardless of the pain it might cause. To be honest, I just really like creating imagery in my lyrics. I kind of see it like painting but with words, so I just saw the picture in my head and it resulted in that lyric.

Can you describe your sound in three words?

Powerful but reserved.

How do you feel your sound has developed from studying at BIMM?

I feel like it’s developed massively. I feel like I’m way more open now to just trying things and seeing what happens rather than worrying about the outcome, and not knowing where I’m headed is what drives me now—I’m no longer scared of the unknown. It shows in the music, I think. Each song has its own space, its own influences, its own vibe, and that’s especially true of ‘Sanctuary’.

What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?

BIMM just allows you the time to settle into yourself, and that has been so valuable for me. I didn’t realise how badly I needed that until I first started. I felt like before I was just kind of aiming without being able to see the target, but after the two years I’ve spent at BIMM I’m starting to see it. The artist development team in particular have been fundamental to my growth—without their help it would have been a whole lot harder to get to where I am right now, and I can’t thank them enough. I’ve got a newfound curiosity and determination to succeed and I’m looking forward to seeing where the new single takes me and the band.

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Author

Sarah-Louise Burns

After studying Ba(Hons) Photography, Sarah has worked in Social Media Marketing since 2013 - she's now part of the BIMM Social Media Team, and is photographer for the Who, What, Why series.