Afreine recounts childhood traumas on debut single Clare St

Clare St is out now on regular streaming platforms.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 8:23 am
Updated Monday, 8th March 2021, 8:28 am
The single Clare St is out now.

Singer-songwriter Afreine has released her debut single Clare St, a track dedicated to fellow survivors of domestic abuse.

Dropping into Northampton’s music scene seemingly out of nowhere but showing promise and providing a breath of fresh air at open mics and local events, the musician is now looking to make a name for herself after a long-term gospel background.

The East London native moved to Northampton as a child to escape domestic violence and then into a religious organisation that took her youth and teenage years traveling the country and Europe working and performing gospel music.

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Talking about her debut single – which Afreine has dedicated to survivors of domestic abuse and violence – she said: “Clare St was birthed quite by accident.

“I was struggling to write anything and Jay (producer, Gingersnaps) just threw me in the booth and started playing the organ.

“It came very organically - the lyrics, and it was only when we listened back when we realised it touched on a sensitive topic of my childhood.

“We ran with that in regards to the sound and the lyrics. It was difficult to not 'over do it' with the sound, but we reached a sound that matched the feel as a whole.”

Clare St has already had a fantastic response, received airplay from BBC Introducing in Northampton and is a soul catching, honest debut, that draws on the more sensitive side of Afreine’s sound.

It was recorded at Northampton’s Big Noise Studios and produced and mixed by Gingersnaps.

The pair met while Afreine was doing backing vocals for Viddy – previously known as Jeana.

“There’s not many people with the humble talent he has,” she explains.

Afreine is the pseudonym of Celeste Charles, who moved to Northampton when she was four-years-old and studied drama at the University Of Northampton.

She became a mother at 20 and fought to prove many people wrong, dealing with post-natal depression while gaining her degree and writing endless songs in her tiny flat.

“As I reached my late teens I began writing as a form of therapy, to cope with different aspects of my life,” she explains.

“I still have audio clips of songs where you can hear my daughter babbling as a baby in the background and she’s seven now.”

Afreine explains that escaping domestic violence and then travelling across Europe performing gave her empathy and vulnerability.

“The religious organisation caused me a lot of anguish, but it led me to a place where I was naked emotionally with no defences, so by the time I left, I was open and vulnerable to feel quite harshly all the emotional baggage I had been harbouring from the domestic violence,” she explains.

Admitting both were hard learning processes, Afreine adds they were experiences which were written down in lyrics and developed into something which could ultimately be presented to others.

Afreine started performing at functions and at open mic nights but it was working with Gingersnaps that she says inspired and pushed her to releasing her own music.

“The lockdown brought a lot of clarity to me and it felt like the right time to invest energy into releasing music,” she adds.

While her background is in gospel, Afreine admits jumping between acts such as Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande to the likes of Kings of Leon and Paramore when listening to music.

However, she adds the likes of NAO, Etta James, Raleigh Ritchie and The Band Camino leave her wanting to write music.

She adds: “Artists who write songs that leave me wishing I’d written songs myself are always the ones that inspire me the most.”

Afreine recently joined indie rock trio on The NN Social’s live online gig from The Lab music venue.

She was joined by Mat Day, lead guitarist in Baby Lung.

Turning to the future, while Afreine has admitted “writing endless songs in her tiny flat,” she plans to be “really choosy” about what comes next.

Adding: “I am incredibly self-critical so it can be difficult sometimes but myself and Jay have something (with) quite a change of pace coming soon.”

Clare St is out now on regular streaming platforms.