Kelly: Charlotte Cardin continues to beat Canada with 2 Junos

Cardin is the most popular Quebec artist of the moment in all of Canada. And that’s great.

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Charlotte Cardin looked very pleased Sunday night at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax as she accepted the Juno Award for album of the year for her second set, 99 Nights. And of course she should be happy.

But at first she didn’t seem very excited.

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“Making this album with my friends was one of the great joys of my life,” Cardin said. “And we did it at a time when I desperately needed a creative outlet and a safe space to tell these stories and share them. That’s why I want to dedicate this to my friends, who made the album with me.”

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He then listed some of the people he had to thank, again standard stuff at awards shows. But right at the end, it was as if Cardin suddenly realized the importance of what had just happened and shouted, lifting the Juno hardware into the air with great energy: “Album of the year, baby!”

Yes baby! It would be a win for album of the year, one of the most prestigious awards of the night, along with another award for pop album of the year. This comes two years after she won four Junos for her full-length Phoenix, winning in 2022 artist of the year, single of the year (for Meaningless), pop album of the year and album of the year.

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It’s not bad in every way. In fact, it seems fair to say, after big wins at this weekend’s Junos, that Cardin, who now lives in Paris, is the most popular Quebec artist right now in all of Canada. And that’s great.

His career is also booming here. She headlined 13 sold-out concerts at the 2,000-capacity MTelus in 2022, then performed for some 35,000 fans over four nights at Place Bell in Laval in February this year. He also belted out the Canadian national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis last month, although he received some criticism for not including any French in his version of O Canada.

Cardin sings primarily in Eilish’s language, although his most recent release is a four-song mini album, Une semaine à Paris, and is primarily in Gainsbourg’s language, including a duet with French rapper Laylow and a frank version of his contagious success Confetti.

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But although he doesn’t sing much in French, there is something very French Montreal in his work. She channels Amy Winehouse, Adele and, yes, Billie Eilish, but there’s something different about the vibe and it’s no doubt due in part to her cool hometown.

The other thing that sets Cardin apart from today’s chart-toppers is his evocative, straight-from-the-heart lyrics. Confetti is the perfect example. It’s an ultra-catchy electronic pop song, but the chorus is: “I feel like a zombie, I’ll die at the party/Yes, you will find my body completely covered in confetti.”

EITHER Sad Girl, one of Phoenix’s singles: “I gotta tell you all my best songs/I wrote the week you were gone/I got an album out of this damn mess.” Then there is Passive-Aggressive. Let’s say the title sums it all up.

Yes, there’s some angst in Cardin’s songbook.

Cardin actually started her career as a teen model, but when we spoke in the spring of 2021, on the eve of the release of Phoenix, she told me that she never liked the modeling business.

“But I wanted to be a musician and I wanted to make music,” Cardin said. “I have a lot of respect for models because it is a really complicated industry. It is very difficult. “It really wasn’t for me.”

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Clearly Cardin is moving forward and I think the further he goes musically and lyrically, the better he will do. I saw the premiere of his series of shows on MTelus in 2022 and one of the most powerful moments for me was Faufile, one of his first songs, simply because it was so original.

On Cardin’s Instagram account, she recently posted a video of herself, Patrick Watson, and Devon Portielge from the super cool Montreal band Half Moon Run doing a gorgeous rendition of Watson’s beautiful song, Melody Noir, and it’s just perfect for her. .

The more Charlotte Cardin can be the real Charlotte Cardin, the bigger she will be. It seems this is just the beginning.

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