Charlotte Cornfield lets music speak for itself

She has been dubbed the “next it-girl of folk rock,” yet there is a unique pop sensibility lurking behind the scenes of much of Charlotte Cornfield’s material. With two EPs, a terrific new full length effort (Two Horses) and a heaping amount of critical praise to her credit, Cornfield’s star is on the rise in the Canadian music scene.

Cornfield will perform at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge on Thursday, Nov. 10. The show is slated to start at 9 p.m.

Cornfield was no stranger to music when she was growing up. Born in Toronto, Cornfield now calls Montreal home. The daughter of a CBC Radio producer, she says that her father helped expose her to classical and jazz music at a fairly early age. Cornfield says that it was her mother that in turn turned her onto the likes of Joni Mitchell while she got into rock n’ roll in her teens. Somehow, Cornfield brings these dynamic and distinct influences to each of her own songs.

A jazz drummer by trade, Cornfield was writing songs on guitar by the time that she was 13 years old. Cornfield says that she had started off playing drums in various rock bands, getting into jazz only after she enrolled in university. She credits her university education as opening her eyes to a number of different things.

“I had wanted to study drums in school and jazz drumming was the ticket into that,” Cornfield begins. “After I got into school, I got into jazz artists like Charles Mingus and that ultimately expanded my musical realm in ways that I could never have expected or anticipated. I really have to credit jazz for helping me develop into the musician that I am today.

“While in school though, I also learned how connected being a singer-songwriter and drumming are. In an academic environment, it is natural to want to separate these two things but at the end of the day, music is music and the approach to music is the same no matter what you’re doing. That ended up being a huge revelation for me.”

Cornfield considers the material contained on her new album Two Horses to be perhaps the most coherent blend of her musical upbringing yet.

“It seems as though I have always had two dueling musical forces, folk and rock music, in my life and to make them come together, I feel it best represents the essence of who I am,” she says. “It is easy to be pigeonholed in the rock scene or the folk scene and honestly, I don’t worry about that. I appreciate that people want to naturally categorize you as a musician but truthfully, I value versatility above all else. It is your ear that decides what sounds good and if that means blending my influences and pursuing different song structures, so be it. I want to let my songs speak for themselves.”

Article published in November 4, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript