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Charlotte Day Wilson

ALPHA

Toronto native Charlotte Day Wilson has been on the precipice of blowing up for years, making significant contributions to projects from Daniel Caesar, BADBADNOTGOOD and Kaytranada in addition to two solo EPs of her own. Her debut full-length album, Alpha, is an escape from the twilight that finds Wilson firmly in the spotlight, a genre-mashing showcase that cements her place as a voice from Toronto to watch.

From the start, ALPHA is unorthodox and gorgeous, full of incredibly moving and soul-splitting music that radiates light and feeling. Wilson’s voice is the focal point here and remains a singular instrument. Her vocals are powerful and deep, capable of lunging from soft spoken whispers to trumpet-like blares. She never turns it up too much though, always keeping her vocals in line with the instrumentation and beats she’s working with.

Musically, Charlotte Day Wilson has a sound that’s difficult to pin down. ALPHA possesses a unique sonic palette that’s haunting and ethereal, but also grounded by roots in folk and contemporary R&B. Take “Mountains” – a gospel-tinged track featuring throaty choral chants and foot stomps – or “Keep Moving,” which sounds like a muted version of a sunny 2000s R&B song. There’s also more traditional soul fare, including a collaboration with BADBADNOTGOOD, who supply their signature blend of groove-laden psych jazz to the wistful ballad “I Can Only Whisper.”

Throughout, the music blends Wilson’s unique voice with a mix of compositions that look back to classic R&B and forward to a truly modern sound. It’s the kind of boundary-pushing music you’re not supposed to categorize, because it exists as a genre of its own making. What really separates Wilson’s propulsive songs from other alternative R&B singers is how she continually carves negative space out of her vocals by resisting the temptation to oversell the melodic hooks. Each song is expressive and direct, yet also detailed and complex, often in ways that are unique to Wilson’s music alone.

With her honey-dipped voice, Charlotte Day Wilson dives deep into her own psyche and explores the realities of adulthood with chilling honesty. An expression of strength arising out of pain, ALPHA is a hauntingly gorgeous triumph. 

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album cover of charlotte day wilson's album alpha