The new synth-pop delight Charlotte Adigéry (1990), causing a buzz with her numerous performances, was raised in Ghent to Caribbean parents. Here she reveals her Cinderalla story, and her rather unorthodox working process in music-making and performing. She’s currently busy working on new material for her various projects (including a rock steady band with her mother), and is preparing the upcoming release of her debut WWWater EP. And if for some reason you’re not able to catch her at one of her summer festival dates, she’ll be playing at Ghent’s Democrazy on October 24th.
In a way, my passion for music preceded even myself. My Martiniquaise mother Christiane Adigéry is a singer too, and though she sadly never pursued this path seriously, she was still heavily involved with numerous acts such as The Skyblasters and Buadee. Her bar Madinina – Ghent’s first ever cocktail bar – also put her in contact with local big names such as Dirk Brossé, the Peter Gabriel of Belgium. Music was always a given in our household, as singing is as natural to us as breathing– it’s our way of communicating. I still kept it a hobby as a youth though – sure, I was in a band as a teenager, but our aim was just to enjoy ourselves more than anything. It wasn’t until several attempts at trying my hand in journalism and teaching that I realised music is my true calling. So I enrolled in PXL’s degree in Pop and Rock Music – the Belgian equivalent to the prestigious BRIT in London – and since then, never looked back. Around the same time, Mirko Banovic – a teacher and bassist affiliated to Arsenal and Arno – proposed I audition for Arsenal’s backing vocalist position on tour, and fortunately I got the gig. I got to know the whole crew pretty well following a year of touring, including backliner and all-round tech whizz Frederic De Witte. He called me one day, and it was honestly such a strange and symbolic moment because I somehow knew even before picking up that this was somehow going to be big. And funnily enough, it turned out to be an invitation to provide some playback vocals for the Dewaele brothers’ soundtrack to Felix Van Groeningen’s film Belgica. Never in a million years would I have dreamt that I’d get the chance to work with Stephen and David in their infamous DEEWEE studio – but to then also create the collaborative track “The Best Thing” was simply surreal. Added to that is the humbling attention that being associated with the highly-respected act that is Soulwax brought and you could say that I still can’t quite grasp it. It truly is thanks to my collaboration with the brothers, and them providing me with a platform, that I am in the place I am today.
It’s all been a thrilling ride, for which I’m so thankful.
I continued making music under my name, but now with the input of the immensely talented Boris Zeebroek, who’s also part of Hong Kong Dong, Bolis Pupul and The Germans. It’s our playful take on organic, Afro-beats underpinned by plenty of synths. Creating new material is the goal for us now, as it would be great to release an album together. In the meantime, I also started WWWater, which is definitely aimed more at live performance. Whereas I’ve only performed two songs as Charlotte Adigéry for Soulwax’s warm-up set, I was playing shows as WWWater without ever having actually released any of the music. Sure, I’d written and recorded a bunch of songs at home on a 4-track cassette recorder, which I then used for my shows, but I’ve still not physically released anything. It was only later, with confidence in my step, that I sought out a producer to turn what I had already written into an EP. Granted, this might not be the most conventional move, but I’ve always felt like playing live for an audience is my purpose. I’m ready to put it out into the world now though, and have already started working on new material again. I have to say that none of this would have been possible without my manager Jarri Van der Haegen from Disco Naïveté. Kind of the new bad boy manager in the music scene, he’s got a completely different approach to the music industry, uses social media in such a clever way, and has a crazy amount of contacts around the world. He’s definitely the reason why I could get bookings without anything concrete to show. It’s all still hard to grasp sometimes – but my mother always tells me to be like Saint Thomas: to not expect too much and just let things come to me, to not overthink and just enjoy the ride. In my eyes, it’s all about making music live and connecting with people; about exteriorising my creativity and how I see the world – everything else is an added perk. It’s all been a thrilling ride, for which I’m so thankful, but I also keep my head to the ground and don’t take it for granted.