Reminiscent of the dance music popular in the early ’90s to 2000’s, Princess Game is every bit nostalgic as it is fresh. LA-based singer/songwriter Charlotte Bash delivers a flawless vocal performance from beginning to end, pulling from her own life experiences to pen an album that’s catchy yet complex. Princess Game perfectly walks the fine line between fantasy and reality, combining synth pop sounds with powerhouse ballads. It’s the quintessential rebel yell and a feminine call to arms.
Currently wrapping up the Dreams Come True tour, Bash is living out her Disney princess dreams, covering some of the most memorable music from favorites like Mulan and Frozen. The tour was a six-concert event in Taiwan, backed with a full orchestra, bringing the magic that is Disney music to real life. And who better to belt out some of Disney’s most iconic hits than an indie pop artist with a background in musical theater? Before leaving for her tour, we were able to talk to Bash about the meaning behind Princess Game, why it’s OK to be a princess, and the special purpose that music serves in her life.
There’s one question I’ve been dying to ask you. What’s your favorite Disney movie?
Oh my gosh, that’s tough. The Little Mermaid I think was like the first movie I ever saw. That was very influential obviously. I really loved Cinderella as a kid and I still do. I just love so many. I mean as of right, I’m kind of obsessed with Frozen. I can’t lie. I jumped on the bandwagon of every 7 year old in America.
When I listened to Princess Game, and even some of your earlier work, I felt like your sound was so reminiscent of the powerhouse vocalists that came out in the ’90s and early 2000’s. Is there a particular decade you feel like you pull your inspiration from?
First of all, thank you! I don’t know if I’m influenced necessarily by a particular decade, because I just listen to so much music it’s kind of hard to pinpoint things. But specifically referencing the powerhouse vocalists of that time, I just think that there were so many amazing singers in the 90’s and the early 2000’s. I just listened to these people sing when I was a kid, and I was like, “This is how I want to be.” If I can’t try to at least sound this powerful and flawless, what’s the point?
And your voice is flawless. For anyone who isn’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
I would say that I like to experiment with organic and inorganic sounds to create that reality versus fantastical element in my music, and everything that’s orchestrated is trying to highlight something that’s emotion in the words that I’m saying. And I kind of borrowed that from theater.
I listened to Princess Game from beginning to end; it was nothing like what I expected, and I loved every second of it. I felt like each song touched on different emotions (in a very real way) that we’ve all felt at some point in our lives.
The album’s about so many different things. There was this kind of reality versus dream I was seeing a lot. Like when do you realize that your dreams are just dreams, or should we ever just go, “This is just a dream. I’m gonna give up on everything and just be an adult?” On that note, I don’t really know if we ever grow up or all of a sudden become a different person. I think we’re very similar to who we were when we were like ten years old but more evolved. I think it’s just really about finding a healthy balance between reality and fantasy. And there’s a lot of messages about female empowerment and how the word “princess” is kind of used negatively, which I don’t think is fair. Why can’t you be a princess? Why can’t you believe in yourself and live your life to its fullest, most glamorous, most beautiful extent without judgment? Why is that a bad thing?
“Back Again” has to be one of my favorite tracks off of the album. What inspired you to write that song?
That’s actually the oldest song on the album. “Back Again” was about having moved away from something and then coming back to it and realizing that even though you had kind of evolved and changed, the environment was still the same. But you still have kind of the same issues. I just feel like that’s a very raw song. It particularly pertains to after I graduated from college. I had to move home, and it was just like the weirdest feeling in the world. I felt like I was back in time.
Considering the fact that you wrote pretty much all of this album, what were some of the songs that had the most meaning to you?
I feel like “Labeled” was a really, really meaningful song for me. I feel like that’s my anthem from the album. “Impossible Dream” was really vulnerable and “Scars” was extremely vulnerable as well. I don’t know if you listened to my first EP. There’s a song called “Secrets”, and I felt like Scars was the continuation of Secrets. When I wrote those two I just pictured a woman that was like completely unhinged, like the woman in the attic in Jane Eyre. That’s like my crazy side coming out. All of these songs are really meaningful or else they wouldn’t have made it on the album.
What do you want people to take away from Princess Game?
I want them to take away that people are complicated. Women are complicated. What I think is really cool about the album is there are a lot of deep lyrics and hidden meanings and stories from my life that I hope are relatable to other people. I want people to know that you can have fun and also have deep thoughts at the same time. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Stop princess stereotyping, and [being a] princess should be a positive thing.
Music seems to be in the very fabric of your DNA. What does music mean to you?
I think music is a great way to communicate with people and express thoughts in a way that conversations can not. But also when I listen to music, when it’s really good music, I feel like certain unnecessary brain waves are shutting off and important ones are turning on that can only be accessed through really great music.