“I feel like she has rejected the machine. She could have been consumed”

The Ramp;B upstart Charlotte Day Wilson is currently talking about template-setter, as a role model and Leslie Feist. “She has maintained control of every aspect of the career, for so long,” says Wilson, chatting lately on the patio of a Bloor West coffee shop. “That’s the objective. She is definitely a force, and her type of career arc is exactly what I want.”

Well, would not we. But, unlike the majority of us, Wilson, a singer with an fashion and a throat, has the pieces in place. Without a record label deal and with no break-out Mushaboom or 1234 hit quite yet, the Toronto-based artist is making steady, significant improvement. “Cause people come and go, but you ought to be aware of,” she sings on the sultry, gospel-washed single Work, from 2016. “That I, I, am taking it slow”

Work, put in an iPhone commercial and Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, is contained on Wilson’s debut EP CDW, only named to the lengthy list of nominated albums for this year’s Polaris Music Prize. A set of buzzed-about headlining gigs this spring in Toronto’s Mod Club under her belt, Wilson will look at a Canada Day concert in Nathan Phillips Square before heading to Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (June 28 to July 8).

Wilson’s story is a unique one in the music business. It occurred that the mailroom was the one in the office of Arts amp; the independent record label in the country, Crafts. There, while filling band product orders in the online shop of the label, she struck up a rapport with artist supervisor Aaron Miller. Wilson was caught by Miller in a showcase gig that was local and, struck by her rich lustre, offered to work with her.

If it sounds like the music-biz edition of An Officer and a Gentleman, with Miller as Richard Gere carrying Wilson as Debra Winger from the office, the fact is a bit less dramatic. “I wish to minimize any charge coming my way,” says Miller, who himself started at the label for a publicist. “No one found Charlotte. She was destined for good things. I was only part of the procedure.”

Miller’s connections have served her well, although Wilson is not signed to Arts amp; Crafts. He got her a place with her band in the Field Trip festival of the label. With the group she played with the festival again. On July 4, she will play with Montreal Jazz, opening for, you guessed it, Feist, a star with a relationship with Arts amp; Crafts.

Why is signed to this label herself? The easy answer is that she does not have to be. “We are looking around for a bargain, but if we do not find the ideal fit, the glass slipper, we could do it ourselves,” Miller says.

As a free agent, Wilson has a supervisor in Miller who has gathered a group of publicists, booking agents and others people for the Wilson project.

“The team is crucial, and it took me a while to understand that,” says Wilson, sipping a coffee and squinting her eyes in the sunlight. “I did not have it a couple of years back, and nothing is possible without it.”

We could include Alexander Sowinski on Wilson’s team. An familiarity with this singer, he is the drummer a group whose newest album contains a vocal appearance, for BadBadNotGood.

The collaboration with BadBadNotGood gave Wilson, whose ability was praised by the majority of the tastemakers exposure, including NPR, Pitchfork and Zane Lowe. Something unusual with Wilson’s rise — and not dissimilar to Feist’s ascent — is that the profile early on is as high overseas (especially in Britain) as it is in Canada.

In terms of the future, a songwriter and saxophone-playing multi-instrumentalist who hopes to create songs as well as writing them, Wilson, looks to branch out in style moving from her EP thick-grooved’s romantic and unhurried neo-soul. “I am not signed,” she says. “I’ve quite a great deal of freedom to take my time and consider what type of music I wish to record.”

No rush. “It’s gonna require a while,” Wilson croons languorously on Work, “but with you by my side I won’t let go, ’til I got what is mine.”

Charlotte Day Wilson plays Nathan Phillips Square, July 1; Hillside Festival, Guelph, Ont., July 15

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