Interview: Charlotte OC Dives into Her Honest Outpouring “Better Off on My Own”

Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt
Breathtaking Brit Charlotte OC catches us up on life’s big changes, her stirring new song “Better Off on My Own,” emotional volatility, and finding strength in music.

Stop trying to have ownership over somebody…. You crave freedom, so take it!

There’s a special intimacy about Charlotte OC’s latest enchantmant that takes it beyond the standard break-up ballad: A pain that burns deeper than the heart’s everyday aches, coming straight from the shattered core of a weathered and broken-down soul. A bittersweet redemption dwelling in emotion’s stirring depths, Charlotte OC’s “Better Off on My Own” is the kind of arena-ready outpouring that will leave listeners breathless and thirsty for more.

Better Off on My Own - Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt

Better Off on My Own – Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt

Somebody told me I need freedom
My sister said “You love and leave ’em”
Can someone tell me, what’s the reason
I keep returning to this feeling?
Here you are in front of me,
with tears in your eyes

I can’t be who you wanna be
when you’re in my life

Released on May 24, 2019, “Better Off on My Own” is the fourth in a string of incredible recent song releases from British songstress Charlotte OC. Hailing from Blackburn, Lancashire, the artist born Charlotte O’Connor made waves with her Strange EP in 2014, and has continuously dazzled through impassioned vocal performances and heart-on-sleeve confessional lyrics. Our 2016 interview captured her magic thusly:

Northern England’s Charlotte OC is ready to bring the world to its knees. Her latest single, “Darkest Hour,” is an explosive anthem that finds the rising pop singer and songwriter at the crossroads of vulnerability and strength.

An indisputable highlight from her 2017 debut album Careless People, “Darkest Hour” continues to be one of O’Connor’s favorite songs — but it’s the music she’s writing right now that truly speaks to her. Following March 2019’s anthemic, romantically independent single “Boyfriend,” “Better Off on My Own” finds Charlotte OC bringing the house down with impassioned croons and cries for letting go and moving on. She needs to cut ties in order to be herself, as we hear her so emphatically declare in an emotional chorus:

Maybe it’s better, maybe I’m better off this way
With you, I’m heading,
heading for another mistake
I might be lonely
You might see my name light up your phone
But just ignore me
Babe, I’m better off on my own

That same romantic independence that made “Boyfriend” a fun, buoyant jam helps make “Better Off on My Own” a poignant, empowered tearjerker.

Charlotte OC

Charlotte OC

“It’s the most honest song I’ve done,” Charlotte OC tells Atwood Magazine. “I can hear myself even saying it when I’m singing it.”

Someday I see it’s for the best
‘Cause, babe, my heart just needs a rest
Can’t give you love, there’s nothing left
There’s nothing left

Charlotte OC continues to bring the world to its knees with her new music, connecting us to vulnerable cores with awe-inspiring intimacy and charisma. The head-turning artist-to-watch recently caught up with Atwood Magazine about her life’s big changes, her new songs, emotional volatility, and finding strength in music. Dive into Charlotte OC and “Better Off on My Own” in our interview below!

I’m a ballad girl, I think. I’m very emotional and love dwelling on pain and the best ballads are based on that.

Listen: “Better Off on My Own” – Charlotte OC

“BETTER OFF” WITH CHARLOTTE OC

Atwood Magazine: Charlotte, it's been a little over two years since the release of your debut album Careless People. How do you feel you've grown as an artist in that time?

Charlotte OC: I’m more confident, I think. I’m being me finally and allowing myself to enjoy it all, and not feeling weird about it. And I think that comes with age.

Looking back on your first record, what are you most proud of in that album, and in what it presented to the world?

Charlotte OC: That record holds some strange memories for me. I was so self-conscious, didn’t have the right team around me, and I was also super young. However, that being said I am very proud of “Darkest Hour.” I performed this on Late Night with Seth Meyers, which was a big thing for me.

Since 2017 you've been actively performing while steadily releasing a slew of songs. Has this been the continuing plan to get your art out to listeners on a faster basis?

Charlotte OC: I spent two years making a record and by the end of it I wasn’t quite sure I liked it, because I’d spent way too much time on it . I wanted to make a string of EPs so I could make it and move on.

What was 2018 for you? Similarly, what is 2019 shaping up to be in the story of your artistry?

Charlotte OC: 2018 was the year of change for me. Everything that I once had attached to my life was no longer there anymore, so needless to say it was a scary time. I went to LA on my own and stayed for five months to try and find out who I was. I met some beautiful people in 2018 who have now made 2019 the best year yet (so far) personally and musically.

I've really loved the chorus of “Boyfriend,” and its assertion of independence. Where did that inner strength come from?

Charlotte OC: From feeling super weak, I reached that ultimate low from needing support from another and it got to the point where I almost look down on myself in a state of embarrassment and frustration and thought, “What the hell are you actually doing. Charlotte?

‘Cause I don’t even want a boyfriend
So why the hell am I
still sitting here holding your hand?

I don’t even want a boyfriend
I think it’s best to sit you down
so you know where you stand

‘Cause I’ve been looking in all the wrong places
For something that I don’t even need
I don’t even want a boyfriend
Don’t ask to be my boyfriend

If “Boyfriend” is the anthem, then “Better Off on My Own” is the ballad. What inspired this song?

Charlotte OC: I was at this gig in London and was having a heart to heart with my friend in the toilet about my love life. As I’d finished the conversation a women came out the cubical and told me she’d overheard everything. She then asked my date of birth. After I told her she then told me, “Stop trying to have ownership over somebody…. You crave freedom, so take it!“ And she was right; I needed to be on my own.

“Better Off on My Own” is obviously a very poignant, solemn breakup-style release of a significant other. How did you get to the point in your writing, where this song could actually be written?

Charlotte OC: I just repeated everything I was feeling to Carys Selvey and Fred Abbott about the situation, and it was kind of already written. It’s the most honest song I’ve done and I can hear myself even saying it when I’m singing it, if that makes sense.

I’m hanging onto the words, “there’s nothing left.” That’s a particularly powerful line, I think - a means of grounding yourself inside this storm of emotion. What did it feel like, to pen those words?

Charlotte OC: It was almost me telling myself that, as well as the [other] person: Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t give anything because I’ve given so much and I’ve not even got anything left for myself.

Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt

Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt

“Better Off on My Own” concludes without complete resolve, which i absolutely applaud. Do you think this is because the song’s story and emotions don’t see resolve, either? That there is no cathartic ending; just a continuation of life, without?

Charlotte OC: Well yeah, it leaves it open. Almost like I don’t mean what I’m saying. But also, I did just like ending on that chord!

Do you think you’re more at home writing anthems or ballads?

Charlotte OC: I’m a ballad girl, I think. I’m very emotional and love dwelling on pain and the best ballads are based on that. Proper emo : )

Lastly, what’s on tap for Charlotte OC for the rest of this year?

Charlotte OC: Back in the studio and EP is out in September!

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Listen: “Better Off on My Own” – Charlotte OC

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Better Off on My Own - Charlotte OC © Sam Pyatt

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Love, Loss, and Hope in Her Darkest Hour with Charlotte OC

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com