Globally acclaimed Montreal artist Charlotte Cardin performs in Ottawa, breaks records

Marcela Gonzalez • Mar. 15, 2024

Charlotte Cardin’s album cover for 99 Nights.

When Montreal singer Charlotte Cardin came to Ottawa, she was welcomed with open arms. After the announcement of her tour in May of last year, Cardin has been travelling around North America and Europe, promoting her latest album 99 Nights.

Initially, 44 dates were posted for the extensive tour, but later on she added Ontario cities to the list. This addition included Ottawa and Toronto, but it seems like Ottawa was extra lucky.

Cardin performed in the capital at the beginning of February then decided on a second date on the 22nd. On that chilly night, her show was opened by New West, a Toronto-based band composed of songwriters and instrumentalists that have released tender songs like “Balenciaga” and “Those Eyes.”

They filled the audience with enthusiasm as Cardin stepped onto the stage. She opened the show with “Looping,” where she explores a mental state of obsession and confusion of someone who sees the world in black and white.

The singer’s popularity and success have come steady and naturally. She started her career as a model when she was 15, but she first showed musical talent in the singing competition La Voix. There, she placed as a top finalist.

That same year in 2013, she was featured in the album of Canadian singer and actor Garou. He also invited her to make an appearance on one of the sister shows of The Voice.

She went on to release her first EP in 2016, but it was Main Girl, her second one, that would get her her first Juno Awards nominations. These awards are presented by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to celebrate Canadian musical artists.

More than the prize awarding ceremony, the Juno Awards also feature concerts, comedy shows, and discussions with special guests.

After the release of Cardin’s first album Phoenix, she made history as the most nominated artist In 2022. Now, she’s doing it again in 2024.

Cardin has participated in major festivals like Lollapalooza and Osheaga. From the moment she was in front of us at the concert I instantly grasped why. Even if I wasn’t in one of those massive venues, I was still witnessing something incredible.

She performed songs from Pheonix and Main Girl. In that mix of her new and old songs you could tell her music and style had evolved. She moved across the stage with confidence, prompting us to sing along.

She danced when beats like “Dirty Dirty” came on. And with more whimsical songs like “Anyone Who Loves Me,” she had us moved to the core.

If there was one song that brought the arena together, however, it has to be “Confetti.” As the sultry pop beat started, so did the screams of excitement.

Suddenly, everyone was standing up, dropping winter coats and setting down their drinks. I found myself singing and dancing with the crowd, absorbing a contagious energy that made me think, ‘wow, this is what a concert is supposed to be like.’

“Confetti” was the first song Cardin had released as a single before 99 Nights came out, marking her return to the musical stage after nearly two years since the release of Phoenix. In this “ode to introverts” as she’s described it in a press release, she explores the feelings of inadequacy and the standoffishness she’s felt at every part she’s gone to.

Her lyrics express inner monologues and contradictions, an irrational fear of one’s death literally going unnoticed by confetti.

Although these feelings resonate with many people, it still remains a show of vulnerability from the artist, something I think is deeply characteristic of her music: transforming into art that which we have all experienced but dare not to say.

Through 12 songs, Cardin was able to expand her musical field without the pressure that comes with a musician’s first album.

99 Nights is the result of a close knit group of friends wanting to make good music and capture the moment. In a way, this concert felt like one continuous intimate conversation with her. Instead of filling the time with dialogue, she let the music speak for her.

After Confetti, the lights went out and everyone stayed rooted in place, hoping the concert wasn’t over yet. The crowd cheered for her to come back to the stage, and she did!

In those final three songs she brought out, she had the crowd’s emotions going haywire. One moment we were shouting “Feel Good” and “Main Girl,” and the next we’re moved by “Next to You.”

She played the piano, joined by a group of violinists. Together, they truly elevated the great finale. Honing the past hour and a half and highlighting the ballad’s message of sometimes letting things go.


Listen to this article as heard on CHUO’s weekly show The Mosaic: