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Charlotte Day Wilson Is Here With Some of the Smoothest Slow Jams of the Summer

Charlotte Day Wilson Is Here With Some of the Smoothest Slow Jams of the Summer

Sound and Vision: Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson is featured in our 'Sound and Vision' series in the June/July issue, where we're showcasing 12 trailblazing queer musicians shaking up our summer. 

Photography by Daniel Seung Lee. Styling by Michael Cook. Hair: Andrita Renee. Makeup: Justine Sweetman. Jacket by Acne Studios. Shirt by A Peace Treaty. Sunglasses by Etnia.

The first time she read Leslie Feinberg's iconic queer novel Stone Butch Blues,Charlotte Day Wilson was in college studying music and women's studies. The text, part of a course on women in postmodern literature, took her by surprise. "There are a lot of very visual moments of violence," says the 26-year-old Toronto native. "I was supposed to do a presentation on it, but I couldn't read the whole thing because it was just so intense. Every time I read it, I'd cry." Sympathetic, Wilson's professor allowed her to perform with her guitar instead.

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Years later, as Wilson was conceptualizing her new EP, she kept returning to the qualifier stone. The record, a collection of mournful R&B ballads that trace the decline of a relationship, depicts a stoic woman whose guardedness prevents her from surrendering herself to love. When the name for it came to her -- Stone Woman -- she returned to Feinberg's book, but still couldn't finish it. Yet its title stuck. "I was identifying stone with having a cold exterior," Wilson says. "Especially growing up queer, [you have] to mask a lot of your emotions. You build up an armor."

As a teenager, Wilson used to play hockey, competing at the highest levels of the women's division in high school. Her parents also enrolled her in piano lessons, and she soon began writing her own songs. During her senior year, she quit hockey, discovered her queer identity, and started teaching herself to produce and engineer music, fashioning a style out of the influences she grew up with: Aretha Franklin, D'Angelo, and Erykah Badu. Her dulcet vocals have landed her guest spots on tracks by fellow Canadians like the jazz outfit BadBadNotGood and the soul singer Daniel Caesar, but it's her solo efforts -- Stone Woman and her first EP, 2016's CDW -- that have earned her the most acclaim and sold-out shows stateside.

While she's hoping to leverage the attention to secure some high-profile collaborators for her first full-length, she's surprised by the sudden fanfare. "To be honest, Stone Woman was not supposed to be the most accessible, enjoyable music," she says. "I just wanted to show people more of who I am." In shedding some of her own tough exterior, Wilson has crafted one of this year's most intoxicating releases. And she's just warming up.

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