[streaming] Corinne Sharlet – They Were Mine

Taken from “A Lovely Future”, out September 21st 2021.

Chiaroscuro is an Italian artistic term used to describe the dramatic interplay between light and dark. Most frequently used in the world of painting or film noir, chiaroscuro is also a fitting way to describe Corinne Sharlet’s debut album, A Lovely Future. Corinne’s songs vacillate between ethereal lightness and raw darkness; her hypnotizingly clear voice provides an inviting guide.

Corinne’s songs draw comparisons to Joni Mitchell, with their unusual melody lines and chord progressions. Her lyrics reflect on the complexity of being human with delicate poeticism. On “Deep Water”, a dreamy ode to vintage torch songs, she explores the mysterious boundary “where the darkness meets the light.” Corinne describes the first single and title track of the album, “A Lovely Future” as a doomsday hope song with its haunting lullaby-like sound capturing the paradoxical themes at interplay throughout the album. On “Pink Summer Moon,” the album’s second single, she creates an intergalactic escape with spacey electric guitar, pulsing hand-drum percussion and the lyrics, “set the night on fire / and call me by my name / am I the only one who knows you like this / do I burn a secret flame?” On “Sick Times” a sparse, bluesy track both laments about the suffocating pressure to be happy while also uncannily chronicling the Age of Covid (even though Corinne wrote the song in 2019, as were half of the songs, before life as we knew it came to a standstill).

When Covid hit, Corinne dove into finishing her album as a much needed creative escape from the long and disorienting alienation imposed on us all by the global pandemic. With the help of co-producer and recording engineer, Ryan Oxford of Y La Bamba, Corinne aimed to create an escape for listeners, transporting them to dream worlds all their own. To capture the rawness and energy of a live performance, the album was recorded directly to an analog tape machine at Portland’s Center for Sound Light and Color Therapy with Mike Gamble on Guitar, Andrew Jones on stand-up bass and Chris Jonedis on percussion. The experience of recording this album to tape, Corinne says, became an almost meditative practice of learning to let go of her own perfectionist inclinations, with most of the songs recorded in just one or two takes.

“I have the tendency of being a perfectionist in all areas of my life,” she says now. “All it has done is hold me back and provide excuses to not do things out of the fear that it won’t be perfect.”

Corinne’s songwriting is introspective and often delves into the depths of the human psyche. On her third single, “They Were Mine”, a Nancy Sinatra-esque desert noir ballad which Corinne wrote based on a nightmare where she came face to face with an inner shadowy presence. Based on her lyrical themes, it comes as no surprise that Corinne also works as a psychotherapist, trained in pioneering voice work called Voice Movement Therapy. Inspired by voice teacher, Alfred Wolfsohn’s discoveries about how to use singing to help people heal from PTSD after WWI, Voice Movement therapy teaches people how to explore the depths of their own voice to heal from trauma and other mental health struggles. A Lovely Future exemplifies the power of music and the human voice to express both the darkness and light that we each carry inside.

With the human struggle escalating now to encompass the possibility of our planet’s destruction, “I think we are all really craving art that feels more human than machine,” Corinne says. Her album embraces the imperfection at the core of human experience, showcasing the beauty of “more cracks in the voice, more wrong notes,” she says. “At least that’s what I want my music to be about.”



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