The Brazilian-Norwegian singer-composer wants to heal listeners with her playful jazz and samba-infused soul
“Healing, hypnotic” vibrations are exactly what we need right now and, handily, that’s how Charlotte Dos Santos’s pastoral neo-soul was recently described. Her songs are like chiffony fairytales: rippling Spanish guitar and playful orchestration that sounds like little else around.
Dos Santos, 30, attributes her love of flamenco, samba and bossa nova to her Norwegian mother and Brazilian father. She studied jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston, but a year out in Valencia, where she learned how to arrange Mediterranean music and studied Spanish medieval history and art, opened her up to new possibilities.
She “fell in love with the idea of a woman being in power, ruling these incredible castles”, she has said, resulting in her 2017 coming-of-age debut, Cleo, in which she imagined herself as a symbol of “femininity, strength, royalty, independence and courage”. Dos Santos especially wants to represent the “women of colour” back in her native Norway and be the role model she didn’t see growing up.
On her recent EP, Harvest Time, jazz, folk and Latin-American rhythms intertwine to shimmering effect. Helio is about self-sufficiency and “being the centre of your own universe”, Dos Santos has said, while the harp and Gregorian chanting of Padre suggest Joanna Newsom for the nu-jazz age or a loungey Little Dragon. If that doesn’t sound like a healing balm, what does?