Six months after exploding onto the internet with her subway rendition of Lady Gaga‘s “Shallow,” London-based singer Charlotte Awbery has officially launched her solo career as an artist with new debut single.
The track, a minimalistic studio cover of “Shallow” that highlights Awbery‘s strong vocals, makes the most sense as a lead single. In February, 2019, the singer attracted global headlines for her cover of the track on a UK comedy segment called “Finish The Lyrics!” where a man approaches strangers in the subway who are asked to sing a song on the spot. After attracting considerable interest on the internet, the clip eventually made its way to Twitter where it accumulated over 26 MILLION views. To date, Awbery has garnered over 1 BILLION-plus view across all platforms according to her team.
This guy challenged strangers to ‘finish the lyrics’ and this woman passing by started belting out Shallow like she was performing at the Oscars, literally flawless 😭
📹: Kevin Freshwater pic.twitter.com/P8Vn5qj4Nn
— Anthony | Lady Gaga News (@antpats2) February 18, 2020
Awbery quickly became something of an internet sensation, especially on Stan Twitter. The mysterious singer drew the attention of millions for her diva-like vocals and throwback sensibility, while others questioned if the “candid” clip was actually a publicity stunt with some far-out theories. Regardless of the gossip, Awbery continued to gain fans among Little Monsters as she helped propel the original “Shallow” back up the iTunes charts. Six months later, Stan Twitter remembers the viral moment as a bright spot amid the unsettling COVID-19 media timeline.
remember when girlie took over twitter for a day pic.twitter.com/BOXeL5OA2c
— tom (@venicextom) August 19, 2020
Awbery‘s momentum continued as fans dug up old photos and clips from the singer’s Instagram, a treasure trove of music covers that ranges from Prince‘s “Purple Rain” to Celine Dion‘s “Love Is On The Way.” An appearance on ‘Ellen’ in February solidified her as a viral sensation, racking up 13 MILLION views and propelling her Instagram to over half a MILLION followers.
As Awbery talks about her upcoming single, she admits she wished it could’ve come much sooner. Following the tumultuous early months of the pandemic, Awbery reveals she was the target of a mass hack that affected her Instagram, Twitter, emails and more. “That wasn’t nice, really,” she tells Pop Crave
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Moving forward, the 31-year-old is ready to introduce herself as a solo act with a blend of “poppy” tracks and ballads. She tells Pop Crave she’s been flexing her creative muscles while in quarantine and listening to a lot of Dua Lipa, an interesting choice that could perhaps hint at her pop aesthetic down the road. Awbery‘s fashion has already been likened to Princess Diana and Olivia Newton-John, while her voice has been hailed as “better than Gaga” with a distinct 90’s pop diva sound.
Pop Crave caught up the rising singer for an exclusive interview to discuss her upcoming album, being hacked, fame whiplash and more below:
It’s been a while since people heard from you. Why did you want to release “Shallow” now?
If I’m honest, I wanted to release “Shallow” straightaway, but then COVID hit so everything was kind of put on hold, which was a shame really. But with the whole world, obviously, everything went into lockdown, so it put everything on hold.
I’ve been getting creative in lockdown, I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and just working on my own music which is very exciting. I’m looking forward to releasing it – that’s why now felt like a good time. I hope everyone likes my own stuff. I’ve been a bit quiet and focusing on that.
What kind of sound are you going for with new music?
With my own material it’s going to be a poppy vibe, feel good music. But at the same time I’m going to be releasing some ballads, because I’m quite a powerful singer, so I want music to feel good. At the same time, I want to tell my own story within my own songs, personal things that have happened to me. That’s going to come across in my own stuff.
Was your viral moment a big life transition?
It was a massive transition. If I’m being honest I’m still learning, it’s brand new to me in the way of interviews. It’s a completely different world to what I was doing. It’s exciting, but at the same time it’s scary.
It’s been up and down, massive rollercoaster. I got hacked as well, all my covers sort of been deleted. It cleared about three years worth of my stuff. That wasn’t nice, really. But on a more positive note I’m going to carry on my goal to release my music, upload more covers and go from there.
— Charlotte Awbery (@CharlotteAwbery) August 25, 2020
I’m so sorry about the hack. What did they target?
It was my Instagram, emails, it was all hacked. It wasn’t ideal, but there you go!
As you venture into more pop music, who are some artists you’ve been listening to?
I love Dua Lipa at the minute. I think she’s great. And obviously Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande‘s track, “Rain On Me.” But I would say, particularly, Dua Lipa. I love her, I think she’s great.
Charlotte Awbery tells Ellen that @ArianaGrande followed her on Instagram after the viral “Shallow” video:
“I followed her back!” pic.twitter.com/BcAmdACczu
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 26, 2020
Are you familiar with the Twitter account @antpats2 who posted your clip to Twitter?
No I’m not. I actually wasn’t on Twitter at the time. I was completely in the dark with all of this. I was on my out to New York for a girlie holiday, I’ve never been to New York. So I was on my way out there for five days with the girls, and I got a phone call from my mom saying, “it’s on Twitter.” I knew it was happening before I left for New York, because a few of my friends were ringing me, someone made a Twitter account up in my name which had to be taken down.
Pop Crave reached out to the Twitter account that posted Awbery’s viral clip for a comment. This is their response:
“As an independent and aspiring musician myself, it feels so incredible to have played a part in helping Charlotte showcase her incredible vocal abilities to the world. It was like witnessing a real life ‘A Star Is Born’ moment play out! It was only mere hours before people found her Instagram account and began sharing it in the replies of my tweet. Within a day she was gaining hundreds of thousands of followers online, I couldn’t believe it.If someday I ever got the chance to speak with her I’d just love to congratulate her on her success and send her love, she’s a really talented artist and I’m so excited to hear some original music from her!” – @antpats2 to Pop Crave
Twitter is a toxic space, and it’s not as accessible if you’re unfamiliar with how it works.
The thing is, this is all new to me. I’ve been sort of in the dark with social media. I’m good with Instagram, but with Twitter I didn’t have Twitter. That was all new to me. It all blew me away. I was almost in shock really. My life changed literally overnight, which is amazing, but at same time is scary. It’s a really hard thing to describe until you’re in that position. It’s been amazing, but with COVID hitting the whole world has just sort of changed.
I just can’t wait to get my own material out and go from there.
Listen to Charlotte Awbery’s debut solo single, “Shallow” on Spotify: