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Charlotte Day Wilson and Luna Li Deliver Smooth Grooves On ALPHA Tour

An evening of progressive R&B from two of Canada's top-tier talents.

by Jordan Yeager

Photos by Darrole Palmer

June 9, 2022

Vancouver, BC

Commodore Ballroom

Charlotte Day Wilson began her set on the Vancouver stop of her ALPHA Tour unassumingly after the tone had been set by opener Luna Li, who, like CDW, is not only a singer-songwriter but also an incredibly skillful producer and multi-instrumentalist. 

Luna Li

Through muted orange lights softened by an ethereal fog, Wilson took the stage, seated at her keyboard in the centre of a near-empty stage. The minimal setup stood in direct contrast to the grandeur of her deep, soulful voice and introspective lyricism – cheers echoed across the Commodore Ballroom as soon as the opening words to “Stranger” left her lips, and they didn’t slow down for the duration of her hour-long set.

CDW is a rare talent; a musician in the truest sense of the word. Effortlessly blending R&B with soul, jazz, and electronic elements, she lets the music speak for itself.  Initially addressing the crowd with only a brief “What’s up, Vancouver?” she seemed to open up more as the night progressed. “I swore I wasn’t going to say this,” she confided. “I would never wear sunglasses on stage – the only reason I am now is that I have a stye. But don’t go looking for it.”

Moments of levity like these humanize Wilson, who bares her soul through deeply personal songwriting and instrumentation that is most often composed in the privacy of her own bedroom. Through ambitious tracks like “If I Could,” “Changes,” and “Mountains,” an air of vulnerability and humility underscored each beat.

Despite seamless transitions between the keyboard, saxophone, tambourine, and straight vocals, that same humble nature is what remained most apparent. After an impressive saxophone solo, Wilson welcomed Luna Li back to the stage to join her in performing “Take Care of You.” The two shared a palpable onstage chemistry as they harmonized and allowed each other to shine in their own right.

After thanking the audience for spending the evening with her, CDW returned for encore track “In Your Eyes,” which she co-wrote and features on with frequent collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD. Before returning to the stage, though, she made sure not to forget her sunglasses – “You guys almost saw my stye!”

READ: 11 Rising Artists Review Charlotte Day Wilson’s Long-Awaited Debut, ALPHA