Interview: Charlie Winston

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Charlie Winston’s already been famous in Europe for a while now. The singer-songwriter released his second album, Hobo, on a French label and the wave just kept rolling from there. He was discovered publicly first, however, by Peter Gabriel, the former singer for Genesis. Together, they worked out a licensing deal and now Winston is being recognized all over the world for his songs about man’s every day problems and romance. His newest video for “I Love Your Smile” featured acclaimed actress Audrey Tautou from the films Amelie and Coco Avant Chanel. He’s been touring Canada in support of Hobo, but as it was technically released in January 2009 over in France, Winston’s been busy preparing for the next one already. AUX caught him as he was deep in songwriting concentration outside of the Mod Club before his show last week before he had time to talk.

So are you working on your third album now? Will you be able to release that one all over the world at the same time?

Yeah I am. I’m just trying to write as much as possible at the moment. Probably, it would make it a lot easier. I’d have done a lot of leg work by then.

But you are getting work done on it.

Yeah, I’ve got a very clear vision on how I want my next record to sound, and message, of the energy I want it to have, and I’ve got to do quite a lot of work to get there. I’ve written a lot of songs. I mean, I could easily release a record that I’d be happy with in terms of having good songs, I’ve got enough good songs to put on the record, but it’s not the sole record I want to make. So I’ve got to do a lot more work now because I’ve realized where I want to go and I’ve got like about 50 percent of it made.

So it will be pretty different from Hobo?

I’m not sure yet. Perhaps, but that’s something you can only really discover when you get into the studio. All the different ingredients have a factor into the sound of the record.

Your songs on Hobo take such common aspects of life without being cheesy. Like your song, “Like a Hobo.” I never expected to hear somebody singing a metaphor about being a hobo.

I’m glad you saw it as a metaphor, because a lot of people often people confuse it as me talking about being a hobo, which I’m not, other than I travel a lot.

Right. You’ve traveled a lot in the past, so how has that affected your music?

I don’t know that it’s really affected my music that much other than I’ve been exposed to things, people and music that I wouldn’t have had I stayed in one place. But having said that, these days you’ve got access to anything anywhere, like you could actually travel further and go to more exotic places in your own imagination than you could by actually going somewhere. But the difference is traveling challenges a lot of your preconceptions of the world. That’s why I like to get to the basics of things, there are fundamental needs and desires that humans have which you can’t argue with, you can’t try to change, we all need to eat and piss and shit and have sex and we’re all going to die and they’re just fundamental rules of life, it’s just how people do it, it changes. So that’s when you learn from traveling, that’s what you realize you’re not as ignorant as you might be. But it comes down to education as well if you’ve got the right education, but it’s a good way of confirming certain things or changing your ideas.


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