Words by Sean Gonzalez, Guest Contributor
“I feel really inspired in a creative space, I am back to writing songs and it feels really good”, comments Charlotte Eriksson, the mind and brainchild of Sweden’s The Glass Child. After a string of EPs and two full lengths, Eriksson approached her third LP a bit differently, creating a pledge music campaign in which fans helped fund (and by mass proportions) the record. This along with the talented singer relocating back to her home in Sweden has helped reshape her creative focus. “To realize that there are so many people willing to see a new album from me, so much that they help fund it gives me so much motivation. that’s the energy I am living on right now”, confesses Eriksson.
From that energy The Glass Child wrote the most personal record so far. Titling it Under Northern Skies in reference to the fabled hero’s journey — in which a hero embarks on a journey and return to understand the purpose of the journey. Eriksson in a way embodies that type of legend, having left her home at age 17 to make music her life. After multiple tours and countless offerings — whether musical or literary — the singer has returned to her original home in a peaceful state of mind where she feels comfortable writing the next batch of songs that would become Under Northern Skies. “I think I am one of these people that will ever find a town or city and think ‘this is my home’” states the singer, instead having found a way to make her home through her art. She continues, “if you can learn how to feel at home while doing something you love, like writing music, then that kind of takes away that feeling [homesickness]”. For Eriksson, this album is the closing chapter of her youth, coupled with the idea that she has found a way to be comfortable in her music there is nothing standing in her way.
Instead she has broken all the walls that were in front of her with her magnetic voice, full of passion and vigor across every song on Under Northern Skies. Eriksson is tender and vulnerable from the start of the record with ‘The Year I Disappeared’ and from then on there is no stopping her power from overtaking your soul as she coos through the songs. “When I wrote ‘The Year I Disappeared’ it was more the feeling that as a person there are so many different versions of yourself that you can be. There can be so many different Charlotte’s and in the end, that song is about trying out so many different versions that I lost the actual passion and heart in me”, regards the singer. A lot of the record deals with this identity crisis — especially in a creative way — that Eriksson has since conquered through the help of writing the songs. She reflects on when that song came to her, “I caught myself realizing that I was just this cold person, there was no heart in me, I didn’t feel any passion or excitement about what I did, not even for my music”.
Even though Under Northern Skies starts with such a bitter drought of life, Eriksson relocates her electric eagerness about writing as the album roams through its nine solemn tracks. The music sonically is very stripped down, blending different instruments together throughout specific parts to really hold weight and bring her collapse to an audible sensory overload. ‘…But Not One Cares At All’ finds Eriksson trembling her voice over a plucked acoustic guitar. She’s unwinding her inner conscience about where she belongs, “I will go until there’s no place to go”. Eriksson sheds so much of herself in these songs you can feel the very presence of her distinctiveness pour out of the songs. ‘Lonely In This Love’ is a bit louder of a track, focusing on clever syncopation techniques to make her hooks hit hard and the melodies infest in your brain. ‘Interlude: I Was Never Here’ is a bouncy swell of Eriksson utilizing a fantastic melody to ride as she comes to the central realization and back to the apex of her journey of finding herself. It’s the kind of song that begins playing as a character is wandering through the forest and finding evidence that the world is beautiful and they can find fulfillment.
Not only does Eriksson have a prolific and magnificent way of creating music, but she writes books as well. She is a full out artist and let’s multiple influences seep into her writing process. “I think books have influenced this album more than music”, admits Eriksson, continuing “I am constantly stumbling upon pieces of art, it can be photography or a movie but I am always thinking about what my kind of character is”. That character is now a pulsing and lively new record full of courageous downfalls and a triumphant path to finding how to truly find self-fulfillment.
It’s this personality that she takes a risk on unveiling that makes Under Northern Skies such a special release. It’s a cathartic embrace of a singer opening up to the very thing they are tormented by and sharing it for the rest of the world to see. One listen to ‘Dark Love’’s gripping synthetic pull with the touching piano and one can hear why The Glass Child will captivate more than just people with this new release, captivating their souls along with it.