Charlene Soraia’s upcoming third album, Where’s My Tribe, “was a complete accident” according to the British singer-songwriter.
Soraia recorded the 10 tracks — including “Temptation,” which is premiering exclusively below — as demos in her London flat, “with just one microphone and me playing guitar and singing at the same time, just really simple.” Her intent, of course, was to take them into a studio and produce them up, but her label boss, Pete Hutchison at Peacefrog Records, decided otherwise when she played the company her home recordings.
“He just loved the vibe of them, the sound,” Soraia recalls. “He was like, ‘This is it. This is painfully beautiful,’ and so we kept it as it was. We didn’t go re-record or anything because he like just how raw the actual sound was. That’s how the album came about.”
Soraia adds that she didn’t have any firm plans for the album before that. “I didn’t have any ideas about who I wanted to work with or anything I wanted to do,” she says. “I just wanted to show them the songs. I don’t consider myself a producer or anything; I just tried to make them sound the way that made my ears happy, really.” One of those songs, “The Journey,” is actually the first song Soraia ever recorded, when she was 17, and much of the album is drawn from a time she was feeling “extremely lonely and very raw” — a situation that’s changed since moving into an area of London where she’s “met some amazing people.”
“Temptation,” as the title indicates, was inspired by a challenging personal situation during that time. “That’s very much about being confused and trying to resist the urge of falling in love with someone that I really shouldn’t fancy or fall in love with — a married man with children,” Soraia says. “Nothing actually happened, and it was very sweet while it lasted. He was unobtainable, really. It was all in my head, just kind of a temptation I felt and trying to resist it.” Soraia’s previous single, “Now You Are With Her,” is “Temptation’s” companion track, about “this lovely person who went back to his normal life.”
Where’s My Tribe comes out Jan. 29, and Soraia is filming videos for each single, which will become part of a short film that will coincide with the album’s release and amplify on its theme. “It’s basically about a bunch of young people, teenagers, and they’re lives are enmeshed with each other but at the same time totally separate — which I think is something a lot of people are feeling now,” Soraia explains. “In this digital age it’s so easy to be in contact with people yet feel so separate to each other. No one feels we’re together almost. It’s a really strange feeling.
“When I wrote this album I was feeling extremely separate from the world, and I don’t think I’m alone.”