Album cover artwork for Charlie Collins with red vinyl record popping outThis month, Charlie Collins welcomes us into the pages of a startlingly sincere new chapter in her songwriting; we asked her about how it all spilled out and became her superb sophomore album, Undone.

Undone is such an apt title for this album because it has a bunch of nuances of meaning – it can mean emotional ruin, or some kind of incompletion, but it can also mean righting a wrong, or solving a knot. This music traverses all these ideas. At what point in the album’s journey did the word ‘undone’ hit you as an appropriate name for the whole record?

The title came to me after I did the album cover shoot. I had the idea of wanting to expose myself in a vulnerable, fragile way like I do my songs, so that’s when I decided to go topless! I’ve never done anything like that before and wanted to almost be out of my comfort zone. The title came after seeing these photos, as ‘Undone’ stood out a lot more as a title track in relation to the shoot, and also just rounded up everything I was trying to say on the record.

Notes on friendships are dotted around your pressers for this album: Jarryd James (who co-wrote Hit the Lights) has been a mate for 20 years, Joji Malani you’ve known for at least 10, and same for the members of Gang of Youths with whom you’re touring. What do you value about your friendships with other musicians aside from the practical working relationships that evolve?

Having friends intertwined into your life and knowing the insides-out of your core is something truly special. I value that connection and mutual trust. Also, another thing is sharing your stories and troubles, and relating to and helping each other; building each other up and listening when you’re down, as there are a lot of highs and lows in this industry and it can get lonely down there, you know? Having your friends pick you up because they have also been there before is something I’m forever grateful for, and couldn’t have gotten through this last year without all my friends. I feel so, so lucky!

For this album you both let go of the reins (by seeking co-writes) and grabbed them tighter (began self-production). Was it a fluid process that you allowed to wax and wane, or did you find it pulling you uncomfortably at times?

This record was the first time I’ve co-written with anyone and it was such a beautiful process to be honest. I feel lucky as mentioned above that I have some beautiful, dear friends in music and so to collaborate with them just felt right. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all! It was almost seamless, and again, I didn’t feel like I had to hold back purely because the connection was already established. So there was none of the “Oh sh-t, I hope they don’t think I’m batsh-t,” because they already know that.

The clip for F-ck It is so high energy and looks like it must have taken a lot out of you to create – whether the dress and cards and other items are truly yours or not. Was it as demanding as it looks, psychologically? (Especially when you factor in multiple takes and listening to this track and its message over and over?) Did you feel a release at its conclusion?

This clip was one of the most cathartic experiences, to be honest. It was the first time I’ve really written a song with anger behind it, so to smash a bunch of sh-t felt f-cking amazing! We actually could only do a lot of it in one take, so there was more the pressure of “I really hope I smash this mirror right,” and in fact I did! Haha. I remember that particular take when I hit the mirror with a golf club, and the glass literally flew everywhere, and I had to keep going with the take even though inside I was shaking because I had no idea if any of the glass cut me! Let’s just say: no one got hurt in the making of this clip (only the furniture).

Backseat Valentine contains the lyrics “You’ve got a way with me, you love my jealousy… I wanna waste your time”; it makes me think of how easy it is for toxicity and infatuation to intertwine. Is it something you have wrestled with over your romantic life, and/or something you’ve learned to combat in some way?

This song is almost a cheeky play on jealousy. Not saying it’s healthy, but when it was written it was more just about every single wild, crazy thought or action I’ve done. I think that’s why the line “you love my jealousy” came out. It’s like… ‘C’mon, you kinda like that I get jealous sometimes, because it makes you feel wanted.’ Wow, that sounds bad typing it out, but here we are.

Your Oz tour is nearly here! What are you looking forward to most about these shows – and is there a particular track from Undone you’re most pumped to play for us?

I’m so excited to play with a band! And also sharing this record with everyone in a live aspect. I think the song I’m excited to play the most is Backseat Valentine, purely because I’ve never really written or played a song like this. I can just imagine that with a band it’s gonna be super fun!

Undone by Charlie Collins is out April 29 via Island.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Charlie is touring this week! Get ticket details here, and see dates below.


Melbourne and Brisbane shows to be rescheduled.