Charlotte Day Wilson talks new album ‘Cyan Blue’ and avoiding perfectionism

“I’d like to think the album touches on all the stages of love and grief,” Charlotte Day Wilson tells us of her just-released sophomore effort, ‘Cyan Blue’

Charlotte Day Wilson has today (May 3) released her highly-anticipated sophomore album, a smoothly-woven and soul-baring project titled ‘Cyan Blue’.

We already had a taste of what was to come with singles like ‘My Way’, ‘Canopy’ and ‘I Don’t Love You’, each of which offered a taste of the Toronto artist’s refined songwriting and genre-spanning sound. 

Charlotte Day Wilson 'Cyan Blue'

Across 13 tracks, Wilson dips into thumping gospel piano, warm soul bass lines, atmospheric electronics, and penetrating R&B melodies, all while reflecting on tales of loss, heartbreak, relationships and the quest to understand herself.

“Love is at the core of all my endeavours,” Wilson told us, “so  it makes sense that my music serves as a dimension to explore and express the love that’s come in and out of my life.” 

Below, we caught up with Charlotte Day Wilson for an insightful chat about ‘Cyan Blue’, avoiding perfectionism, and working with producers Leon Thomas and Jack Rochon.

Scroll down for the complete interview, and listen to Charlotte Day Wilson’s sophomore album ‘Cyan Blue’ below. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

WILSON: Worked out, played tennis, had some meetings, did therapy and ate lots of fruit!

HAPPY: Tell us a little about where you live, what’s the scene like?

WILSON: I live in a cute neighbourhood in Toronto in a sexy lil house I bought during the pandemic. It’s very bright and welcoming. 

HAPPY: Congrats on your forthcoming album ‘Cyan Blue’, can you tell us about the title and what inspired it?

WILSON: Cyan is the colour of my eyes – somewhere between blue and green and I was seeing everything through a blue-green colour palette while I made the album.

All musical decisions were informed by my synesthesia. Looking into the past, present and future through the eyes of different eras of my life kept my creative spirit very active while I made the album. 

HAPPY: ‘Cyan Blue’ seems to explore themes of lost love and reflection. How did these themes come to shape the overall sound and direction of the album? 

WILSON: Love – romantic, platonic, familial and otherwise – is at the core of all my endeavours so it makes sense that my music serves as a dimension to explore and express the love that’s come in and out of my life.

I’d like to think the album touches on all the stagesof love and grief. 

HAPPY: You mentioned wanting to capture feelings ‘in the moment’ for this album. Can you describe how your creative process changed to achieve this spontaneity?

WILSON: I took my hands off the computer and allowed my friend Jack to do all the hands-on producing and playing.

His gift and quickness with the music and production allowed me to focus on capturing spontaneous feelings and lyrics rather than getting caught in a granular process of “perfecting” that I’d become accustomed to. 

HAPPY: Collaborating with different producers like Leon Thomas and Jack Rochon must have been an enriching experience. What unique aspects did each bring to the album’s production?

WILSON: Leon has a similar approach of capturing feelings, rather quickly, and choosing the path of least resistance which was so very welcome in our creative space.

Jack is just an absolute sweetheart with a heart of gold. He connects to something bigger than himself when he plays instruments and it’s just a pleasure to riff off of. 

HAPPY: ‘Work’ remains a breakout single for you. How does it feel to see an artist like Patti Smith cover the song, and how does it influence your approach to creating music now?

WILSON: It was really special to see Patti Smith covering ‘Work’ at first, however I’ve since learned that she has an EXTREMELY racist song that she wrote in the 60s and continues to perform. Look it up. I can’t rock with her anymore. 

HAPPY: You’ve not only had your own music sampled by big names like Drake and John Mayer, but you’ve also collaborated with diverse artists like Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD. What keeps you open to exploring different musical styles?

WILSON: I listen to so many different kinds of music, it keeps me open and excited to try all different sounds and find different avenues that my voice can fit into. 

HAPPY: Looking back at your younger self in the making of ‘Cyan Blue’, what specific lessons or pieces of wisdom would you share with her?

WILSON: That it’s all going to be ok. 

HAPPY: ‘I Don’t Love You’, the first single, showcases your production skills alongside your vocals. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind the song’s production choices and how they complement the lyrics?

WILSON: Jack and I were a bit stuck on how to approach the production on that one. And then one day I was driving to the studio looking out the window and the way things were flashing past me reminded me of how memories feel.

They flash past us so fleetingly and cumulatively that it can feel like a collage of nostalgia that you can’t quite reach out and grab.

I realised I wanted the song to sound like a collage of memories, like a relationship flashing before your eyes. So we approached the production like a collage. 

HAPPY: Who are your favourite producers?

WILSON: To me, a great producer is anyone who gets the best out of any given artist. Production isn’t so much a technical skill as it is an ability to connect – with the artist and with the music, spiritually.

But some all time favs are: Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Organized Noize, DJ Dahi, Dylan Wiggins, River Tiber, 40, Mica Levi, Dev Hynes, Dean Blunt, James Blake, Mk.Gee, Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver, Raphael Saadiq, D’Angelo.

HAPPY: The music video for ‘I Don’t Love You’ features both candid and introspective moments. How did you come up with the concept, and how does it tie into the broader themes of the album?

WILSON: The music video was meant to feel like a collage of memories and introspection, much like the approach we used for the production of the song.  

HAPPY: Beyond the studio, what are some things that inspire you creatively and help you tap into your artistic vision?

WILSON: Looking for synchronicity in the world around me and giving myself time and space to NOT be creative so I can recharge all the creative juices. 

HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

WILSON: My loved ones! and tennis.