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Charlotte Day Wilson’s homecoming

The former Haligonian returns on a wave of praise and buzz for her soulful, gentle voice.

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Charlotte Day Wilson w/Lido Pimienta, Ralph, Vogue Dots
Thursday, October 19, 9:15pm
The Marquee, 2037 Gottingen Street
$25

Charlotte Day Wilson's voice is unlike any other in the country. She's soulful and gentle, able to communicate just as much feeling through a quiet slope of blue notes as she is with an impassioned growl. Naturally, hers is a voice that invites comparisons—to a singer like Sade, to a texture like molasses.

But Wilson refuses to be pigeonholed—her music pulls as much from classic soul as it does from Toronto contemporaries like R&B singer River Tiber and the jazz deconstructionists BADBADNOTGOOD. It's unsurprising that a consistent element of her live shows has been a cover of Divine Brown's 2005 single "Old Skool Love:" A decidedly contemporary reference point, but one that recalls decades of music that came before it.

Though Wilson currently lives and works in her native Toronto, she calls Thursday's Pop Explosion show "a homecoming of sorts." She spent a number of years studying and making music in Halifax, but it's only been since she moved back to Ontario that her career has truly blossomed. With just one EP—last year's self-released, Polaris Prize-longlisted CDW—to her name and plans for new music on the horizon, Wilson is poised to break through to a new level of acclaim.

Her headlining performance at the Marquee will be her biggest solo show here yet, and comes as her career smoulders towards a critical tipping point. Wilson says that her slow ascent has been intentional—she's playing the long game, interested in making her mark and building a musical life beyond a few buzz-worthy singles.

"My career as a musician is not necessarily about right now," she says. "I'm always thinking about the future and how to make this a long endeavour, so for me it's about making the decisions that will benefit me in the long run versus quicker, easier decisions."

This attitude of patience quietly chafes against an increasingly fast-paced music culture. But it's also central to how she approaches her practice as a musician and songwriter: For Wilson, patience is less a tactical decision and more an emotionally fulfilling ideology. Her lyrics trace histories of romantic disenchantment and longing, but her voice and her music exude a consistent, uncommon sense of calm.

"I am a somewhat anxious person," says Wilson. "So when I create my own music I do it to relax myself and to enter into a meditative state, versus making something that will make me feel more hyper or anxious."


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