I am sure, in the 60 and ’70s, any artist named Charlotta Curves would have had men in coats queuing for hours. Please don’t ask me why I said coats! And while things have changed for the better, it is nevertheless an undeniably arresting name. And in an age of music congestion, with many artists sharing names (try searching for the excellent danish band Lola), any differential is an advantage.
The follow-through is Charlotta Curves is different and retro-inspired.
A soul singer in the mould of Dusty Springfield, behind the moniker, is Charlotta Kerbs. Previously part of the Finnish band The Napkins, the solo singer vocals have always stood apart – robust and enriched in emotion. Listen to Charlotta, and you will hear a Scandinavian SOUL singer, with SOUL in all caps.
As if to demonstrate her natural, unfiltered soul vocals, her first solo EP consists of four tracks recorded in front of an audience. The whole concept generates a marvellous sense of the past—an era where people sat cross-legged on the floor, silent and focused.
Her original cuts Stardust, Hours of Silence (a beautiful, smooth ballad) and the bouncier Breaking Free (6mins of pleasure) are arranged with depth, space and time for Charlotte to showcase her vintage sound and skilful songwriting abilities fully. The quality of these recording and musicianship continually caused the sudden applause at the end to come as a surprise.
It takes a certain amount of courage for Charlotta to cover Nina Simone‘s version of the jazz classic I Wish I knew How I Would Feel to be Free -a song which powerfully united and highlighted the struggle of Black people and their fight for civil rights. Written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas, this spiritual song feels carved in personally lived experience. Charlotta performs impeccably, seeping in empathetic emotion and aching pleas from the heart, without a sense of imitation. Charlotte is an authentic soul singer, and you feel it in every word.
The days when a white woman from Finland, who can sing like a black one, would cause many to gaze in amazement may have passed. However, there is still so very much to admire with Charlotta today. Curves or not.
This live recorded EP sets the stage for Charlotta Curves soulful voice to impress.