“I realised that in my music I’d always had this big personality… I saw a certain theatrical aspect there. With this record I challenged myself to strip that away. This is me as a producer and musician.”
Cornish-born, Suffolk-bred Charlie Winston started his solo writing path playing all over Europe on a shoestring: Germany, France, Italy, Spain – he was out performing anywhere that would take him, embodying the wandering troubadour style that would eventually
bring him to international attention. His appearance: the waistcoat, the trilby, the tie all fitted his then-persona of a musician as much a showman as pure artist and the distinctive style would bring him early on to the attention of fashion icons Jean-Paul Gaultier, Trussadi and Jean-Paul Goude – the latter using him in one of his adverts for Galleries Lafayette, the biggest fashion mall in France.
It was a combination of this relentless tour schedule and natural enigma that grabbed the legendary Peter Gabriel’s attention, inviting Charlie to tour with him around Europe and allowing him to use his own personal studio to record tracks on weekends. It would be a combination of these records and ones he recorded at London’s MI7 Studios that would become the basis for Charlie’s debut album ‘Hobo’. Striking a chord with disenchanted kids around Europe, the album went platinum in 2009. Blowing up initially in Paris, it went on to top the official charts in France, Germany and Canada
Stepping into a firestorm of national celebrity following his simultaneous No.1s, Charlie left Paris after two years touring the ‘Hobo’ album and although he stayed awhile in L.A. recording and working with producer Tony Berg (Beck, At The Drive-In) and star choreographer Ryan Heffington (Arcade Fire’s ‘We Exist’, Sia’s ‘Chandelier’) his second album, 2012’s ‘Running Still’ was recorded again largely as a nomad. Old habits die hard, it would seem. Tousled and unkempt, Charlie would go on to win GQ’s iconic ‘Best- Dressed Man Of The Year’ in France that same year.
In the two years since his sophomore album, Charlie has refined his sound. He has begun to strip it down, to beef up his production chops; a reaction to the music he’s hearing in 2014 – Alt-J, Lorde, Daft Punk, Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins. If ‘Hobo’ was a romanticised sepia image of the troubadour and ‘Running Still’ was a punk and hip-hop influenced work referencing The Beastie Boys and ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ then his new studio album ‘Curio City’ is framed by electronica and futurism. His Blade Runner, it’s a sprawling, multilayered landscape of electronic and acoustic. Producing and playing almost everything on the album, it’s the evolution of a musician that now has his own record label and publishing label, an artist that is
producing for other artists; a musician that is founding his own fashion label after being proclaimed a muse by some of the most influential designers in the world.
His new contracts with Sony, Atmospheriques and Universal are ones that lean heavily on his production ability and his talent to nurture and influence the sound of other artists. A modern day Renaissance man, Curio City is his ode to Ridley Scott, Kavinsky and Clint Mansell. It’s the sparseness and emotional spaces within the album blended with Charlie’s preternatural songwriting ability and talent as a producer that’s what is now so compelling. Reflecting back the matured, deeper parts of his experience, Charlie has created a new album that is as contemporary as it is undeniably his own.