Charlotte Gemmill isn’t a household name, but Eliott is about to be. If you don’t know her already, you’ve likely heard her new single ‘Shaking My Hips’ if you listen to Triple J on your commute.
She’s just kicked off her very first headlining tour and I was lucky enough to sit down with her in Brisbane to chat mental health, social media addiction and how to best support your favourite artists.
She was playing at tiny, Brissy bar Black Bear Lodge, which is a dark dive tucked away on Brunswick street that you’ll walk straight past if you’re not truly paying attention to the signs.
Dimly lit with candles flickering on each of the wooden tables, it’s the kind of place you could take a first date; intimate and warm - and a perfect co-star to the extraordinary maturity that comes through in this 23-year-old’s music.
Dressed casually in a white T-shirt tucked into her high-waisted jeans, Eliott was swaying around the stage with bare feet when I walked in part way through her sound check.
“Hey, John, can I get a little more on the keys?” she said into the mic before crossing the dance floor and introducing herself as Charlotte.
Scrolling for days
It’s not often you meet someone for the first time and feel like you kind of already know them - but through Eliott’s expressive lyrics, you get an insight into what feels like a small part of her soul.
One thing she touches on is her own addiction to social media.
“The internet is so good and so bad because you are always looking for things to post and a lot of my lyrics actually refer to scrolling,” she says.
“I’ve just written a song called ‘Energy’ with Angie McMahon and a friend, Dylan Nash, and the chorus is like ‘all I can do is compare me to everything on my social feed.’
“It just takes all your energy away cause I’m just looking at sh*t all day… It kinda brings you down sometimes because you feel like you should be at a certain point in your career that other people are at. You can’t think about it too much.”
To add to the normal everyday pressures of someone in their early 20s, Eliott’s upcoming tour is her first as a headliner, and it comes off the back of a whirlwind experience through Europe with Dean Lewis.
“I had never toured overseas before so it was a massive shock to me I guess because I think a lot of people from the outside [think] it looks very glamorous because you get to go overseas and travel but it’s very scheduled, you have shows every single day in different cities so it gets bloody tired and it can be a real strain on your mental health,” she says.
“I, fortunately, had my mum there with me so that was nice to have her there, but yeah it can be really hard and I think I just learnt that touring isn’t all fun and games, you gotta really look after yourself and your health as well.”
Mental health matters
She’s also no stranger to speaking up about mental health, having spoken quite candidly about her experience with anxiety and depression that coincided with her writing her latest single ‘Shaking My Hips.’
Talking about her own challenges helps her to see the other side of it, and she says, “I think, especially in the music industry, a lot of people don’t really get the pressures. Even financially it’s such a struggle just to get from A to B, like this tour, has been super hard.”
“But I think the moment you get on the stage and you're singing the songs and they are resonating with people and that’s when you can kind of find peace in it.”
She’s also aware that her self-care routine is as important to her music as talent, “I haven’t been but, when I’m running and exercising then that’s when I’m at my best.”
“But when I don’t then I’m sleeping in every day and it just kind of falls to sh*t really quickly. So, if I’m outdoors and in the sun then I’m usually a lot happier and I get motivated again.”
One thing that does help keep her in check is the inspiration and music she surrounds her life with, “I actually heard a song today and was like this is f*cking great and I added it straight to my mood playlist which I pretty much just listen to this every day it’s called ‘Like We Used To’ by Kevin Garrett.
“I listen to a lot of random shit I think. I listen to lots of pop, lots of folk lots of kind of everything and you can see that in my playlist,” she told me as she scrolled through an endless list of songs on Spotify.
“It changes a lot, I grew up listening to Missy Higgins, lots of singer-songwriters and now that kind of translates into Julia Jacklin’s music who I love, Stella Donnelly. There’s so many, just look at my playlist.”
I could have genuinely sat and listened to her speak for hours. She was confident in who she was as an artist and had a pretty good idea on who she wanted to be.
The industry has changed
With huge stars such as Taylor Swift blowing up the internet over ownership, not just in an artist’s work but their image in the industry, these conversations are important to Eliott, “I think along the way people will try and mould you into this thing that they think is successful and what makes money. But at the end of the day if you don’t like what you’re making there’s no point in it.”
“Even if you’re making nothing but you still love what you’re doing it’s better than turning yourself into some pop star that you hate.”
Music is more accessible than it’s ever been before and our constant consumption can see artists left behind, but according to Eliott, there is one way you can be a great fan to your favourite musos, “support and buy tickets to the shows and come out and support.”
“Not enough people get out and buy tickets to your shows, they’ll stream all your music and whatever but that’s where the artist actually benefits is when they come to your shows.
“Performance is my big thing so I want to be able to sing it to my fans and like have them relate to it.”
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