POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE SHORTLIST
ALPHA by Charlotte Day Wilson
CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON’S ALPHA
A strong singer with cool remove
Her powerful, understated vocals are sung in pure dulcet tones that belie the depth of feeling in Charlotte Day Wilson‘s lyrics. The feelings are strong but restrained. Read the lyrics for Strangers, the compelling opening track from her 2021 debut album ALPHA, where she sings to a possible lover:
Girl, you’ve got to listen please
as I talk in my dreams
As I speak illegibly
Apologize if I can’t come to you coherently
As I feel this weight in me
But is he just so lovely?
Is he lovely?
Well, I see how you look at me
We have talked enough
It’s time I come up to you
I just wanna touch you, babe
In an online interview about the record Day Wilson – who identifies as queer – says: “I feel like the first few lyrics on this song set up the record in a way that felt just intriguing. There’s a lot of unrequited love and longing on this record, and I wanted to start with a feeling of almost desperation.”
Several of the 11 songs on the 2021 collection bear an imprint of deeply personal and unresolved concerns.
One of 10 shortlisted entrants for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, the album presents R&B, folk, gospel and adult contemporary sounds featuring some strong supporting players. Fellow Toronto scenesters Daniel Caesar (Dannie’s Interlude) and BadBadNotGood (I Can Only Whisper) both take part. Veteran US R&B artist Babyface and a team of others cowrote the emotive Mountains while L.A’s Syd duets on the tender Take Care of You.
But the most important voice belongs to Day Wilson. She delivers music that is in turns caring and melancholic, forthright and mournful.
The production crew – including Day Wilson – creates a strong sonic framework. Intimate vocals and lush harmonies are dexterously foregrounded and wrapped in a well-arranged set of contemporary sounds. Listeners are taken on a journey through the singer’s cool remove and emotional insights. It’s a treat.
Polaris Music Prize
The Polaris Music Prize awards $50 thousand to the best Canadian album based on artistic merit and irrespective of streams, sales, or radio play. This year’s winner will be announced on September 19.
The shortlisted artists and albums are :
Charlotte Day Wilson ALPHA
Hubert Lenoir PICTURA DE IPSE : Musique directe
Kelly McMichael Waves
Lisa Leblanc Chiac Disco
Ombiigizi Sewn Back Together
Ouri Frame of a Fauna
Pierre Kwenders José Louis And The Paradox Of Love
Snotty Nose Rez Kids Life After
Stay tuned and enjoy,
20 August 2022
PITCHFORK ONLINE MAGAZINE
Day Wilson stays front and center on the immaculately mixed Alpha built on weighty writing and daring arrangements
On her debut album, the Toronto singer-songwriter and producer draws variously from gospel, folk, and adult-contemporary influences; no matter the style, every song is a showcase for her powerful voice.
Light has always been a precious resource in Charlotte Day Wilson’s music. The Toronto singer-songwriter and producer’s vast voice is like a canyon that the sun can’t access; the percolating soul and quiet storm that surround it flicker like candlelight. “I went to a funeral today just so I could feel something,” she sang on “Funeral,” from her 2018 EP Stone Woman. It’s a particularly bitter line in a catalog that has often traced life’s hard edges.
A long-awaited, expertly sculpted debut album
A debut album often feels mired in great expectation and scrutiny; usually being the first real taste for what an artist has to offer. Charlotte Day Wilson seems to slip straight through these overly critical cracks with her debut album ‘ALPHA’. Already a significantly established artist – with a catalogue of EP’s and singles dating back to 2012 – Wilson has been on the scene for a while. ‘ALPHA’ comes as a comprehensive overview of who Charlotte Day Wilson is as an artist and a producer.
The Canadian native doesn’t shy from a collaborative opportunity. BADBADNOTGOOD, Syd and Daniel Caesar all feature on the album. ‘ALPHA’ is the long-awaited extended body of work we’ve been hoping for from Charlotte Day Wilson. It doesn’t disappoint.