SXSW Music Spotlight: Charlotte Cornfield
On Highs in the Minuses, the 33-year-old Toronto native taps into the intensity of youth
Charlotte Cornfield’s fourth LP plays perfectly within the amusing pun of its title, Highs in the Minuses. The familiar Canadian forecasting joke serves as framing for the 33-year-old’s album of deep introspection on growing up that charms and devastates in equal measure.
“All the songs were written in that early pandemic period, so there is just a lot of space in my life and I just had a lot of time to reflect,” she acknowledges. “And being at home in Toronto, I was reflecting on my childhood here and some of the formative experiences in my life, and tapping into my life at different points. That was a really special experience, and it kind of became this collage of different fragments and experiences in my life.
“Having some distance between when those things happened in my life and now, I think it was just about reflecting on them and validating them, recognizing that it was an intense thing or significant high or intense low,” she continues. “When you’re younger, experiences are just so much more intense because everything is so new, so I was totally tapping into that. And also, just in general with the title, it became this metaphor for finding these little moments and tapping into my creative process.”
Highs in the Minuses, her debut with Polyvinyl, plays in small scenes of outsized memory, vignettes of emotional weight. The album also surges with a heavier energy underneath its tenderness, with the live recording wrangling collaboration from Alexandra Levy (Ada Lea) and Liam O’Neill (Suuns).
“This record is kind of more rocking than previous ones, so I wanted to play with people that have a really big dynamic range,” she says. “We could get really quiet together or we could get kind of loud or crunchy. I wanted that sort of rawness and authenticity.”
Thursday, March 17, 11:20pm, Cheer Up Charlies