At only 18, Charlotte Eriksson – also known as The Glass Child – left her home in Sweden and flew to London to live a life based on her own terms, waking up every morning happy to be breathing and excited to do the things that she loves most.
Charlotte spent a year on her own, with her words and music as her only company. She packed a bag and lived homeless on the road, determined to tell the world the stories withheld within her heart. “I went everywhere and nowhere. Spent nights on the concrete, had beautiful conversations with strangers and walked foreign streets every day. I learned how to build my home in my music and my art”, she writes in her manifesto.
Writer, poet, singer and song-writer, the young woman is now at the head of her own record label, Broken Glass Records. She’s the author of three critically acclaimed books, namely “Empty Roads and Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps” telling the story of her leaving, searching and going after her dream, “Another Vagabond Lost To Love” gathering essays and journals from her year in Berlin, and “You’re Doing Just Fine” which is a collection of poetry whose themes revolve around the feelings of hope and belonging.
Charlotte has also recently released her third full-length album, “Under Northern Skies“, following her first two ones, “I’d Like To Remain A Mystery” and “I Must Be Gone and Live, or Stay and Die“. After spending the last two years in Germany writing, singing, and making her art from her own hurting and loving, she’s back on the road, touring throughout Europe to promote her new album. “It’s bigger this time. I’m wiser this time. This is not about the final physical product, like a CD. This is about the impact those songs can have inside someone. My mission is to seek those who need to hear those words and melodies and stories, and if I can touch one soul out there and make them feel like they belong, then I will be happy.” Charlotte says.
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1) When, how and why did your life on the road begin?
I first moved to London when I was 18 years old. I wanted to build up my own life, create it with the intention to be able to wake up every morning and simply feel excited about my own journey. I spent a little more than a year there, learning about the music industry, thinking and evolving as an artist. After that I packed my life in a suitcase and spent a year on the road in England. I played music for anyone who was willing to listen and wrote and read every single day. I think those years were the years that defined me, and it’s just been building ever since.
2) How would you describe your life on the road? Is it really, as you wrote, about ‘building a life on your own terms’?
Definitely. I wouldn’t say I live on the road any more, and I don’t think life is supposed to be a one-word term year after year. I think life is about seasons. Like small islands you visit to collect experiences, lessons and moments. I spent some time on the road, until I moved into a little room in Bristol where I recorded and released my first full-length album. I went on to move to Germany where I spent some time in Berlin and then Hamburg. Now I’m currently back on the road in the UK. But even as I have somewhere to unpack my bags I see every phase as just that: a phase that goes together with the artistic project I’m working on.
I have a few core values that I base my life on. To live simply, to be able to fit all of my belongings in a suitcase, to not have any contracts or commitments that make me stick to a place. I need a lot of free space around me, both physically and mentally in order to feel light and not stuck.
3) What have been the repercussions of this lifestyle on your art?
Well, I kind of hit the road in order to be able to keep creating art in the first place. I could no longer afford a flat because I had no income and I refused to take a day job just to pay for a roof over my head. I wanted to spend every second on my art, to grow and create and evolve, and I believed in it so much. I gave up a steady home in order to be able to do this. So first of all, this lifestyle is what enabled my art.
Nowadays a simple life with just the necessary things to get by gives more place for my art. It’s like, when you strip away all the layers to the very bones of life, you find the real things that make you happy. My music, my books, a few friends and somewhere to rest my head on at night—that’s all I really need at the end of the day.
4) What did it teach you – about life, love, loss, among other things, and about the definition ‘home’ itself?
I’ve written three books about this very question and I still haven’t managed to cover it all. I mean, life is about learning all these things, and you should never stop learning. And I don’t think there’s one answer to love, or loss, or life. It’s just about embracing every experience that is thrown at you and try to live it to the fullest, both good and bad. That’s what makes a life. Experiences make a life.
5) What would you say a ‘home’ is today – from what life’s taught you?
Home is not a physical place, it’s a mindset. It’s a feeling. It’s a calmness, a peaceful mind, a still heart. Home is in the doing, it’s action. I learnt to build my home in the short moments of clarity while writing music, or losing myself in a book, or writing, or a stunning view, or sharing a coffee with someone beautiful that makes you feel just right for a little while. That’s home for me, small moments of belonging.
6) Do you think you’ve found yours?
I think you need to find your home over and over again. It will change with you, and you’re always changing. Or you should be at least. If you embrace every experience, every new day, every new lesson, you will go to bed a little changed every single night.
© Visuals by The Glass Child