Charlotte Benjamin 2

Photo Credit: Jenna Bernstein

Soaring through the Skies on the Wings of Freedom

By Rianon Stormer

October 2015

Upon entering the room, the first thing you notice are her eyes. There’s a certain sparkle to them that not everyone possesses. Moderately tall, thin, and fresh-faced, this is a young girl full of promise who lights up the room in which she enters. She is wearing a pair of bright red rain boots on this rainy, blustery day which offsets her unassuming and oh-so casual outfit. At the age of 19, Charlotte Benjamin is headed on the path to stardom. Having spent the last year in New York City, where she attended college and toured the east coast with the band Fruit Flies, Charlotte has come home for a spell. But make no mistake, this soft spoken sparrow is ready to take her first big flight.

Charlotte, born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, whose favorite food is steak and mashed potatoes, puts “way too much sugar in her coffee,” loves red lipstick and wears the typical islander footwear (Frye’s, Blundstone’s and clogs) is currently hard at work on her first EP. “I knew I wanted to be a musician at the age of 12 or 13, when I started sitting in on gigs with my dad and performing for a real audience,” Charlotte shares. “I’m really trying to focus on finding more of my specific sound and what I want to do with it. I’m more inspired than I ever was before.”
Charlotte Benjamin

Photo Credit: Jeremy Driesen

At first glance, Charlotte seems shy and reserved but onstage is a different story. “I’ve always felt awkward and weird onstage; a lot of musicians are good at the witty ramble. But I’m hoping that I’m getting better at being more outgoing in my music [performances] as time goes on.” But one would never know it. Still, no one would ever guess Charlotte has any reservations about her musical craft and talent.

Everything about this young, humble musician is captivating: From the way she carries herself to her innocent look and casual style of dress to the manner in which she strums her ukulele while singing a tune. When Charlotte performs, you stop. You stop everything that you are doing and turn your focus on her. She sings with a hint of Billie Holiday, Diana Krall and Norah Jones all rolled into one. Yet this songbird has musical style all her own.

 Her new EP slated to be out by December, possibly January is all about “growing and learning.” The album will include seven or eight tracks. They tell the story of heartbreak from a previous relationship and experiences from touring with the Fruit Flies. All are flecked with NY imagery. “This is the first time I’ve really felt motivated to write. I came out of this year with a lot of experience and inspiration. I feel like before I didn’t have a lot of [writing] content.” When pressed to give more details about a song and its title, Charlotte says, “I think it will be called Lion’s Head, which to me represents a lot of pride, desperation, and also vulnerability, strength and a little bit of sarcasm.”
 As she describes her adventures and heartbreak through song, one can see that the endings of her relationships were like a weight that had been lifted off her shoulders. “Lately, I feel like I’ve always been the kind of girl that has always wanted a boyfriend. But, right now, I have so many other things like searching for new schools and recording songs for my EP that I am excited about. I feel like I need to focus and just enjoy being single. It’s good to enjoy being single, because you don’t have to make compromises. And now, I have the freedom [to do what I want to do.]
lions head A confessed night owl, Charlotte is a late riser. Daily routines consist of coffee, checking the computer and heading to the recording studio for a few hours. “My dad (well-known island musician and accomplished music producer Mike Benjamin) has been helping me out a lot with the background music.” The album will be comprised of some folk, the singer’s signature tone, but there will also be a few elemental surprises. “I am playing the electric guitar, so a little bit of rock will be incorporated. Philly D (singer, songwriter and music producer at TPS studios) is also helping me by adding an electronic spin to my songs as well.” She quickly follows up with, “There will still be some simple, sweet little songs with the ukulele but I want to expand with a slightly tougher, edgier sound.”
Life hasn’t slowed down for Charlotte. Between working, recording music and soon to be attending a new college, the will to succeed is apparent. It’s been said that once a baby bird has experienced its first flight, the second and third time is still a bit rocky. Charlotte, already past the rocky stage is now preparing to spread her wings for the long and fruitful journey ahead. A newfound freedom and curiosity is what drives this bright-eyed girl in hopes of finding her way through an exciting world full of music and endless possibilities.
Listen here: Lions Head