We managed to catch up with singer/song-writer Charlotte Brereton during her hectic schedule at This years Edinburgh festival Fringe where she is currently performing in "The Joni Mitchell Story" to talk about the show, her new album -The Breretons - Keep you Safe" and music in general.
1. How did you come to be involved with the Joni Mitchell Story show running this year at TheEdinburgh Festival Fringe at theSpace@Symposium Hall?
Dan Clews who plays guitar in this show with me, and who also performs at The Fringe with his own The James Taylor Story show has been a friend of mine for many years. When he first suggested that we do this show together I originally was not too sure about wanting to sing the music of anyone else, but I love Joni Mitchell and her music, and this was a chance to come to the Edinburgh Fringe, perform and sing Joni Mitchell songs.
2. The sheer scale of the fringe can be daunting for many performers, and this is I understand your first visit here as a performer. How have you found the experience?
To be honest, slightly overwhelming in its sheer scale. I am adjusting to it a little bit now as the daily schedule of shows progresses.
3. There is an obvious love for the music and the worlds of Joni Mitchell in your performance at this show, but on a personal level as a singer/songwriter how has Joni Mitchell influenced you?
I think it is her honesty in her music and her willingness to write about even the most painful of experiences in her life. If I can get anywhere near her use of words, and complexity of musical structure in her work, I will be happy.
4. As well as Charlotte Brereton the performer at this show there is also the completely different Charlotte Brereton as a singer/songwriter in her own right, and performing other artists’ work is not something you usually do. What made you make an exception to this rule for The Joni Mitchell Story?
The answer to that one is simple – Joni Mitchell, her words and her music and the chance to perform them at The Edinburgh Fringe.
5. Away from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, what would your normal performance space be? From what I can read online, you are building up a solid reputation as a singer/songwriter by doing it the old way (like Joni Mitchell did) and constantly performing live.
Normally I would be performing in theatres, folk clubs and at festivals in the South East of England either on my own, with my brother or some fellow musicians. We have all worked hard over the years and built up a solid reputation as live performers.
6. You have an album out at the moment with your brother Marc –“The Breretons – Keep You Safe”. What has the general reaction been so far to it?
It’s been very good. People are surprised that there are so many different strands to our music.
7. The album features a wide variety of different musical styles. Some of them you might not immediately associate with your more folk related songs…was that a deliberate attempt or just the way the music developed and interested you?
Not really, Marc and I are very close and we have been writing together for a long time now. We both have very different interests in music for listening to and approaches when writing, and I think the album reflects those differences well.
8. “Keep You Safe” is a very tightly arranged and produced album with a lot of different instruments and musicians on it that give real depth and layering to the music. How long did this project take to get from conception to CD?
The album took quite a while to put together and part of that was getting the free time in the schedules of other musicians on the album, but once we were in the studios everything was so well prepared that the recording time was fairly short.
9. As the new album allows you to explore different musical directions, have any of those songs brought you back to them to re-look at new projects that could evolve from them, as songs and words have a habit of taking on a life of their own?
Who knows, with music, you just never know what direction things will go in. I think the next album would maybe give both of us a more stripped back and live performance sound ...that would make an interesting contrast between the two of them.
10. Are there any plans to ever return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with your own music in a stand alone show? The “Story of” format from Night Owl Productions is a tried and tested one that does get audiences into the show for the featured artists’ music, but it can be incredibly difficult for any emerging artists to get heard amidst the many 1,000s of other shows on at the Fringe. Is it maybe better to build a reputation slowly through shows like The Joni Mitchell one?
A bit of both maybe. It’s very difficult for any new artist to succeed anywhere let alone with the competition at The Fringe, so maybe a return to this format with hopefully a few pre-Fringe shows of my own music somewhere if time allowed for it.
Interview by Tom King & Lisa Sibbald
You can also read our review of The Breretons "Keep You safe" album here