Kaamaakshi Bhat, Zirakpur, Punjab
First of all, we would like to thank songwriter and music producer, Charlotte Wilson, so much for taking out time for this interview on behalf of our Hallyuism Team. Here’s an excerpt from the interview that took place with her:
Could you please give a brief introduction to our readers?
I’ve been into music from a young age. I wrote my first song at 7 years old. I’ve always loved to created and have been very artistic. I was born in the UK but I grew up in Trinidad & Tobago until the age of 16. I returned to the UK and that’s when my love for K-pop started.
How did you discover K-pop and how did you start songwriting in the K-pop industry? Please give an insight into how your journey has been so far.
I came across a video of Rain (Bi) performing live on one of Korea’s music shows and fell in love with the sound. Rain was opening for the singer Usher on the Asian leg of his tour and I saw a video on YouTube. I couldn’t understand the language that was being used but I understood the production and melodies. I then looked into the genre more and realised that there were so many groups like TVXQ, Beast, SNSD, Brown Eyed Girls and Big Bang to name a few.
I would write Melodies and record them on a Dictaphone. K-pop seemed so much more exciting and allowed me to play with melodies, so I decided I wanted to be a writer at the age of 18 but didn’t really act on it until I was 25. There weren’t that many foreign writers around and social media wasn’t the place to find them so I researched Everything. From the writers behind all of the songs, to the producers and I tried to find out who their publishers were and contacted them.
I flew to Korea a couple of times to visit publishers as well as to work with producers and get closer to the right contacts. At the same time I’d been practicing writing as well as perfecting the sound of my demos. Once I had saved up enough demos I sent them out to the publishers who’s information I’d gathered hoping to land a placement with a group. Within this time I placed “Butterfly” with a group called “The Boyz.” Once I got this placement it opened doors to other companies and other contacts.
You recently participated in writing Dice by NMIXX, how was your experience writing this song?
DICE was a very fun song to write. When I originally heard the instrumental it was exciting and had a very strong concept. This helped me to write an exciting topline. I did quite a few re-writes on that song which I enjoyed. The song switches up in the middle so it allowed me to really mix dive into the topline creatively.
You have worked with so many artists such as Itzy, Astro, Verivery, NMIXX, Enhypen, The Boyz, Weeekly, Kep1er etc. Do you have any memorable experiences with any of these K-pop artists?
I was a huge fan of the group ‘Highlight’ when I was 18, they were called ‘Beast’ back then. I wrote a song for them called Disconnected and it was such an epic moment to get to meet them as well as vocal direct the session with the producers. It was such a full circle moment and a dream come true. Another moment was being able to vocal direct and meet different groups, I’ve vocal directed most of my placements. Meeting and working with NMIXX and ITZY also meant a lot to me. JYP as a company was one I admire so it’s been amazing to get to work with their groups.
Is there any artist you would like to work with, whether it be a K-pop artist or any other artist in the future?
I’d love to work with Doja Cat, IVE, Bree Runway, Le SSerafim, Lizzo, Doechii, Cardi B, NCT, EXO, Aespa, Boys World to name a few. I love to create so it would be a dream to work in various markets.
If you could recommend one of your songs to a new listener which one it would be and why?
Verivery: Undercover. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written to date. I feel like it has a good balance of swag, rap, melody and performance.
Is there any music style/genre that you haven’t tried yet but would like to try in the future?
Yes! I’d love to try Amapiano music. It’s has it’s origins in South Africa. I love the feeling I get when I listen to it and I’d love to get the opportunity to explore that genre.
How do you find the motivation/inspiration to write your songs? What inspires you to write a song?
I’m usually inspired by the instrumental when I receive it. I’m inspired by the energy the track gives and just freestyle. I write what first comes to me and don’t overthink it. If I’m collaborating I also get inspiration from my writing partner. The producer may also have an idea for the track that may also inspire me.
I try to imagine what the music video or choreography could look like and it helps me created a better melody or flow for a group to perform to.
What is the typical day of Charlotte as a songwriter? How is it different from when you are not working?
I usually start the day by replying to emails and looking at social media. There may be song releases I’m interested in listening to. I usually plan out my weeks in advance and know that I have a session for a song or need to edit another song. I’ll spend 5 to 6 hours at a time working on songs with breaks in between, but I’ll have about 3 songs in different stages that I’ll be working on in one day. From editing vocals, to writing lyrics, or finishing a melody draft.
What would your advice be to those who want to pursue the same career as you?
It’s important to never give up. Persistence is key and is very valuable. Sometimes you may want to give up but just remember don’t! You’ll regret it in the long run.
Research is very important. Know who the companies are, who the publishers are and who are the people your demos need to get to. It takes time to get noticed but persistence is key.
Build a catalogue, a strong catalogue, write or produce as much as you can. The more songs you put out, the higher chances of them getting to the right person.
Practice: The best think anyone could do is get their demos to the best quality they can. Meaning vocal production, mix, structure and performance.
Collaboration is also a great thing. If you are stuck then reach out and find others like you. Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have made this much easier to do!
If not in the music industry, what would you be doing right now?
I’d probably be a veterinarian. I love animals and I was also interested in medicine, so why not combine the two?!
What dreams do you want to achieve in the near future?
I’d love to write for more artists around the world. I’d love to be nominated for a Grammy at least, or be fortunate enough to win one.
Could you please elaborate a bit on your upcoming projects? What can the fans expect?
We are sworn to secrecy so not much can be said unfortunately. But I can say I have some exciting songs coming out this year which I hope fans listen to and support.
Hallyu Wave/Korean Wave is growing rapidly in India and there are many fans who love listening to your songs. Do you have something you want to share with your Indian fans?
I want to thank fans in India for supporting the artists, writers & producers and also the companies in the K-pop industry. Music has no barriers so it’s such a great feeling to know we have your support. Creatives such as myself know that it’s thanks to the fans that K-pop has managed to reach millions all around the world, and we would be no wehere without you! I’m hoping you can support and share the Hallyu wave to reach new heights.
Once again, on behalf of Hallyuism, thank you so much for your time. Best wishes for all your future endeavour.